Henry VI (6 December 1421 – 21 May 1471) was King of England from 1422 to 1461 and again from 1470 to 1471, and disputed King of France from 1422 to 1453. The only child of Henry V, he succeeded to the English throne at the age of nine months upon his father's death, and succeeded to the French throne on the death of his maternal grandfather, Charles VI, shortly afterwards.
Henry VI, (born December 6, 1421, Windsor, Berkshire, England—died May 21/22, 1471, London), king of England from 1422 to 1461 and from 1470 to 1471, a pious and studious recluse whose incapacity for government was one of the causes of the Wars of the Roses. Read More on This Topic United Kingdom: Henry VI (1422–61 and 1470–71)
- A French Revival
- Consequences of Defeat
- Wars of The Roses
- Richard, Duke of York
- Henry Deposed
- Reinstated - The ‘Readeption’
- Death & Successors
Henry was born on 6 December 1421 CE in Windsor Castle, the son of Henry V of England and Catherine of Valois (l. 1401 - c. 1437 CE), the daughter of Charles VI of France. The reign of Henry’s father was short but brilliant. Pressing his claim to the French throne, which had started with Edward III of England (r. 1327-1377 CE), Henry V had won a famous victory against a French army at the Battle of Agincourt in October 1415 CE and then conquered Normandy between 1417 and 1419 CE. This was to be the peak of English fortunes during the on-off conflict between the two countries known to history as the Hundred Years’ War. The victories allowed Henry V to sign the 1420 CE treaty of Troyes with Charles VI of France (r. 1380-1422 CE) which made Henry the French king’s heir while the blood heir, the Dauphin Charles, was disinherited. All this happened while France was split between two rival factions: the Burgundians and the Armagnacs. Henry V died, probably of dysentery on 31 August 1422 C...
All the big battles of the Hundred Years’ War had been won by the English but taking and then controlling French territory was another matter. To keep large armies in the field was hugely expensive and beyond the means of the English treasury to maintain. Neither was Charles, the Dauphin, prepared to sit idly and watch his inheritance be handed over to the English. Thirdly, the very character of England’s king was, as he reached maturity, about to become a serious disadvantage. The young Henry was tall, well-educated, fluent in English and French, and he liked hunting, but there were serious flaws in his character. Here, the historian N. Saul summarises the common view of Henry VI by historians past and present: Henry and his ruling council had continued to press his family’s claim for the French throne but the French fightback began in 1429 CE when an army led by Joan of Arc in 1429 CE relieved the siege of Orleans. This permitted the Dauphin to be crowned Charles VII of France in...
Meanwhile, the English Parliament and nobles were concerned at the huge cost of the war and the distinct lack of territorial gains. Henry VI was now ruling alone without his regents, but his aversion to warfareproved unpopular and his choice of associates even more so, especially William de la Pole, the Earl of Suffolk. The earl did, however, negotiate a five-year truce with France from 1444 CE. The price to pay for peace was the loss of Maine and, on 22 April 1445 CE, the marriage of Henry to Margaret of Anjou (d. 1482 CE), niece of Charles VII. As both actions failed to end the war, Henry’s popularity sank even lower as pro-war nobles resented his capitulation and anti-war nobles lamented the continuance of a seemingly never-ending and costly war. The obvious influence of the queen on her weak-willed husband was yet another bone of contention amongst the court officials. There was even a rebellion by commoners and local dignitaries led by the former soldier Jack Cade in 1450 CE wh...
In 1453 CE, on top of the defeats in France, or perhaps because of them, Henry suffered his first bout of insanity. The episode lasted 17 months during which the king understood nothing of what was said to him or even recognised anybody. The condition may have been inherited from his maternal grandfather Charles VI of France. As a result of the king’s incapacity, his poor record in the war with France, and the corruption in the royal court, Richard, the Duke of York (1411-1460 CE) was made the Protector of the Realm in March 1454 CE. The Duke and the Earl of Somerset were soon at odds as each tried to get themselves nominated as Henry’s heir, and this was the start of what became known as the Wars of the Roses (1455-1487 CE). The Duke of York was the great-grandson of Edward III and the nephew of the Earl of March who himself had claimed he was the legitimate heir to Richard II of England (r. 1377-1399 CE). The Earl of Somerset was also a descendant of Edward III but through that ki...
In 1455 CE the Duke of York imprisoned the Earl of Somerset in the Tower of London but he was later released by a somewhat-recovered king Henry. Somerset was then killed at the Battle of St. Albans on 22 May 1455 CE by an army led by an outraged Duke Richard. Even the king was struck by an arrow in the neck during the battle and only just fled the scene. It was a mere skirmish but it was the first battle of the Wars of the Roses. Richard, realising the king could easily be manipulated, then swore loyalty to Henry who managed, on 25 March 1458 CE (‘Loveday’) to reconcile the Yorkists and Lancastrians and even oblige them to walk hand-in-hand in a procession in London. However, the peace did not last long and Richard still faced a formidable obstacle to his ambitions in the form of the queen. Queen Margaret hated Richard so intensely she even led an army against the duke, defeating him at his headquarters in Ludlow at the Battle of Ludford Bridge on 12 October 1459 CE. The Duke of Yor...
In 1460 CE the fortunes were reversed, and a Yorkist army led by Richard Neville, the Earl of Warwick (1428-71 CE) and Richard’s son Edward, Earl of March, defeated Queen Margaret’s army at Northampton on 10 July and then captured King Henry. Richard, the Duke of York returned from Ireland and persuaded Henry, who was now in the Tower of London, to name him as the official heir to the throne, a decision ratified by the Act of Accord of 24 October. However, at the Battle of Wakefield on 30 December 1460 CE the Duke of York was killed and his army defeated by Henry VI loyalists led, once again, by the queen. Margaret ensured that Richard’s head was displayed on a pike at Micklegate in York, adding a paper crown to remind everyone he had been a mere usurper. On 17 February 1461 CE another Yorkist army, led by the Earl of Warwick, was defeated at St. Albans, and Henry was rescued from his captivity. The Wars of the Roses were not over yet, though. Edward, the Duke of York’s son, backed...
While Queen Margaret and Prince Edward made it from Scotland to the greater safety of France, Henry VI was captured in Lancashire in July 1465 CE and imprisoned in the Tower of London again, where he was at least allowed to keep his pet dog and sparrow. There was to be another twist in the Roses War yet. When the Earl of Warwick and King Edward quarrelled over the latter’s marriage to Elizabeth Woodville, Warwick joined forces with Queen Margaret and defeated King Edward’s army at Northampton in the Battle of Edgecote Moor (26 July 1469 CE). Warwick imprisoned Edward IV in his castle at Middleham, but Edward managed to escape to Burgundy. Meanwhile, Henry VI was briefly reinstated as king on 11 April 1470 CE (the ‘Readeption’) and he had his second English coronation, and third overall, in October of that year, this time in Saint Paul’s Cathedral. Edward IV was not to be deprived, though, and, backed by an Anglo-Dutch army, he won the Battle of Barnet on 14 April 1471 CE against his...
Henry, deposed for a second time, also found himself a prisoner yet again. A few weeks later, on 21 May 1471 CE, the ex-king, now aged 49, was stabbed to death in the Tower of London according to traditional accounts, dead from ‘displeasure and melancholy’ according to King Edward’s official announcement, and from a bashed skull according to a 1910 CE forensic examination. The dead king’s body was put on display for any doubters to see and then buried at Chertsey Abbey and later moved to Windsor Castle. Queen Margaret was imprisoned but was eventually released on payment of a ransom by her father the King of Sicily, and she lived the rest of her days in her native France. Edward IV would reign until his death in 1483 CE, after which his son Edward V of England briefly became king from April to June of that year. Edward V was killed even before he had a chance to be crowned, most likely by his uncle Richard, the Duke of Gloucester in the Tower of London along with his younger brother...
- Mark Cartwright
Henry VI, (born autumn 1165, Nijmegen, Neth.—died Sept. 28, 1197, Messina, Sicily), German king and Holy Roman emperor of the Hohenstaufen dynasty who increased his power and that of his dynasty by his acquisition of the kingdom of Sicily through his marriage to Constance I, posthumous daughter of the Sicilian king Roger II.
Henry VI ©King from 1422 to 1461 and from 1470 to 1471 and the last Lancastrian ruler of England, Henry's reign was dominated by the Wars of the Roses. Henry was born on 6 December 1421 at Windsor...
- Rachel Dinning
- When Henry’s wife, Margaret of Anjou, visited the king’s bedroom, they were sometimes joined by “trusted attendants” Pious, simple and puritan. This is how Henry VI is often described by historians and scholars.
- He was more popular after he died than when he was alive. Henry VI was not a vengeful king – if anything, he was quite the opposite. He once ordered a deceased traitor’s impaled ‘quarter’ to be taken down, commenting: “I will not have any Christian man so cruelly handled for my sake.”
- He experienced a mysterious illness that lasted 18 months. In August 1453, Henry VI fell into an inertia that lasted 18 months. Some historians believe he was suffering from catatonic schizophrenia, a condition characterised by symptoms including stupor, catalepsy (loss of consciousness) and mutism.
- He was the youngest person to become king of England – and the first (and only) English monarch to be crowned king of France. Henry became king of England on 1 September 1422, at nine months of age, following the death of his father, Henry V. A regency council governed the country until 1437, when Henry was considered old enough to rule.
- Tristan Hughes
- He was the only son of Henry V. Following his heroic victory at Agincourt on 25 October 1415 King Henry V subsequently married Catherine of Valois, daughter of the French king Charles VI, in 1420.
- He was only nine months old when his father died. Henry V died on 31 August 1422, making his infant son the youngest person to ever succeed to the English throne.
- During the early years of the regency, English power in France reached its zenith. Bedford’s victory at Verneuil on 14 August 1424 marked the high-tide of English power in France – described by English contemporaries as a second Agincourt.
- He was the only English king to be also crowned King of France. It occurred because of the Treaty of Troyes, agreed between Henry V and Charles VI in 1420: Henry would marry Charles’ daughter Catherine and both he and his sons would inherit the French throne following Charles’ death.
Apr 25, 2014 · His father, Henry V, had conquered north-western France, marrying the daughter of the French king Charles VI, who recognised him as his heir. When both the English and French monarchs died in 1422, Henry became king of England and France as Henry VI. He wasn’t even a year old.
Henry VI, Part 1, often referred to as 1 Henry VI, is a history play by William Shakespeare — in collaboration with Christopher Marlowe and possible Thomas Nashe —believed to have been written in 1591. It is set during the lifetime of King Henry VI of England.
Mar 03, 2019 · In the summer of 1453 the 31-year-old king of England, Henry VI, bade farewell to his pregnant wife Margaret of Anjou and set out on a judicial tour of the West Country. Pausing at Clarendon hunting lodge in Wiltshire, the king ‘suddenly was taken and smitten with a frenzy and his wit and reason withdrawn’.
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