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  1. Henry II (5 March 1133 – 6 July 1189), also known as Henry Curtmantle ( French: Court-manteau ), Henry FitzEmpress or Henry Plantagenet, was King of England from 1154 until his death in 1189. He was the first king of the House of Plantagenet. King Louis VII of France made him Duke of Normandy in 1150.

    • Early Life - The Plantagenets
    • King Stephen, Empress Matilda & Succession
    • Consolidating Royal Power
    • Thomas Becket
    • Rebellion
    • Death & Successor

    Henry of Anjou was born on 5 March 1133 CE at Le Mans, France, the son of Geoffrey, Count of Anjou (l. 1113-1151 CE). Henry's mother was Empress Matilda, the daughter of Henry I of England (r. 1100-1135 CE), who had gained her title when marrying her first husband Holy Roman Emperor Henry V (r. 1111-1125 CE) in 1114 CE. After Henry V's death, Matilda married again, this time to Geoffrey in 1128 CE. The count became known by the nickname 'Plantagenet' because his family coat of arms included the broom plant (planta genista). Alternative theories for the origin of the name are that Count Geoffrey wore sprigs of the plant in his hat or his lands were planted with it to provide good cover while hunting. The Plantagenets (1154-1399 CE) did not, of course, call themselves that name, the monarchs carried no surname. The first three kings of the line - Henry II, Richard I, and King John- are sometimes referred to as the Angevins after their ancestral lands in Anjou in north-west France. Hen...

    Returning back to 1135 CE, King Henry I of England had left no legitimate male heir and so his nominated successor was his daughter Matilda whom the king had made his barons swear loyalty to. When it came to the actual coronation, though, many barons wanted neither a woman or an Anjou count anywhere near the throne and so supported instead the dead king's nephew and richest man in England, Stephen of Blois. Consequently, with some sharp manoeuvring, Stephen was crowned king in December 1135 CE. Empress Matilda was undeterred and a civil war broke out between barons who supported Stephen and those who favoured Matilda and her chief ally Robert Fitzroy, Earl of Gloucester, an illegitimate son of Henry I. The war proved long and damaging, and neither side managed to gain the upper-hand, even if Matilda briefly became queen in 1141 CE while Stephen was imprisoned at Bristol. Matilda's cause was gravely weakened following the death of Robert Fitzroy in 1147 CE and she now focused her att...

    Henry's first important task was to bring the Anglo-Norman barons back into line after the period of civil war in England (1135-1153 CE) had enabled them to largely ignore royal authority and build castles, mint their own coinage, and generally deal with the peasantry how they wished without regard to the law. Many castles built in that period were of a temporary nature and not large stone edifices, but Henry was so determined to destroy them he gained the nickname the 'castle-breaker.' Some of the stronger and older castles he kept for himself such as Scarborough Castle, Nottingham Castle, Norwich Castle, and Castle Acre. To better ensure the law was equally applied everywhere in the country - a process begun by Henry I - the Assizes of Clarendon established in 1166 CE principles of Common Law, crown courts were set up, and trial by a jury of 12 men was established to punish those who broke it. A second area where royal power had been eroded was the borders of England. Both Scottis...

    A third area where Henry sought to reaffirm the power of the monarchy was its relationship with the medieval Church. The Archbishop of Canterbury, Thomas Becket (in office 1162-1170 CE), who had also been the chancellor (from 1155 CE) and a great friend of the king, proved troublesome, and his murder in 1170 CE would overshadow Henry's reign both at the time and ever since. Thomas had tried to defend the Church's independence and block the Crown's attempts to extract taxes from its lands and interfere in appointments. Neither side would budge and, in 1164 CE, Thomas was obliged to flee to a Cistercian monastery in France. Six years later, Thomas returned to England in early December 1170 CE to recrown Henry the Young King after the Pope had decided the original coronation, in which the Archbishop of York had performed the ceremony, was void. On his return to England Thomas immediately began to suspend or excommunicate those bishops who had not supported him against the king. When He...

    1173 CE proved to be quite a bad year for the king as his sons and wife rebelled against his rule from this point onwards. Eleanor of Aquitaine had become increasingly exasperated by her husband's unwillingness to delegate any real power to her and his infidelity, especially his public relationship with the noblewoman Rosamund Clifford (d. 1176 CE), famed for her beauty. Around 1170 CE Eleanor effectively separated from her husband and set up her own court in Poitiers. Her favourite son Richard went with her. Meanwhile, Henry, well aware of the succession problems that had bedevilled his Norman predecessors, tried to cover himself as best he could by not only nominating his eldest son Henry as his successor but even having him crowned king-designate in 1170 CE, as we have seen (and again in 1173 CE to be absolutely sure). This was a common enough policy amongst French sovereigns and is why the heir is often referred to as Henry the Young King. Besides becoming king of England, the y...

    Henry died of natural causes on 6 July 1189 CE at Chinon Castle, Anjou. Betrayed by his own nearest and dearest, legend has it the king's dying words were 'Shame, shame on a vanquished king'. The dead monarch was buried at Fontevrault Abbey in France. Henry, as agreed, was succeeded by his son Richard who was crowned on 2 September 1189 CE at Westminster Abbey. The kingdom still faced a serious threat from the scheming Philip II who was ambitious to expand his own territory. Philip conspired with John to make him king instead of Richard while the latter was away on the Third Crusade (1189-1192 CE) and then held in captivity by Henry VI, Holy RomanEmperor (r. 1191-1197 CE). Richard was freed two years later thanks to the payment of a ransom organised by his mother but when he died in battle in 1199 CE, John did at last become king, reigning until 1216 CE. In all, and albeit under different house names after 1399 CE, the Plantagenets would see 14 kings rule England for 331 years, maki...

    • Mark Cartwright
  2. Henry died of disease on 6th July 1189, deserted by his remaining sons who continued to war against him. Although not a glorious end to his reign, it is Henry II’s legacy that remains proud. His empire building laid the foundation for England and later, Britain’s ability to become a global power.

  3. Sep 28, 2021 · Henry II was born in Le Mans, France, on 5 March 1133, the first day of the traditional year. [1] His father, Geoffrey V of Anjou (Geoffrey Plantagenet), was Count of Anjou and Count of Maine. His mother, Empress Matilda, was a claimant to the English throne as the daughter of Henry I (1100–1135).

    • Empress Matilda, Geoffrey Plantagenet, Count of Anjou
    • Le Mans, Sarthe, Pays de la Loire, France
    • March 05, 1133
  4. Henry of Anjou (future Henry II of England) attacks the north of England with the assistance of David I of Scotland but is defeated by King Stephen of England . 1151. Henry of Anjou (future Henry II of England) inherits his father’s lands in Normandy, Anjou, Touraine and Maine. 1152. Eleanor of Aquitaine's marriage to Louis VII of France ...

  5. Henry II (5 March 1133 – 6 July 1189), also known as Henry Curtmantle (French language: Court-manteau), Henry FitzEmpress or Henry Plantagenet, ruled as Count of Anjou, Count of Maine, Duke of Normandy, Duke of Aquitaine, Count of Nantes, King of England (1154–89) and Lord of Ireland; at various times, he also controlled Wales, Scotland and Brittany. Henry was the son of Geoffrey of Anjou ...

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