Monday, 19 January 2015

‘Alas! How Chivalry Is Now Dead and Buried...' Henry the Young King Quotes

Today I would like to share with you a few Henry the Young King quotes which I find both interesting and telling. Some of them show Henry's proverbial generosity, his love for tournaments and care for his household knights, others his less praiseworthy traits. Over to you, twelfth- and thirteenth-century chroniclers :-)
"… In this man, God assembled every kind of goodness and virtue, and the gifts which fortune usually bestows on single individuals of special distinction, she exerted herself to give all together and in richer measure to this man, so as to make him worthy of all commendation..."

From Otia Imperialia by Gervase of Tilbury, Henry's former chaplain, written in the early 13th century for Henry's nephew, Otto of Brunswick, Holy Roman Emperor (p. 486-7 in The Instruction of a Prince)

                                                                 Bertran de Born (image: Wikipedia)

Gervase not only emphasizes Henry's generosity, but also praises his young lord’s good looks, describing him as “fair among the children of men… tall in stature and distinguished in appearance”, with face that “expressed merriment and mature judgment in due measure."

Gerald of Wales (c.1146-c.1223), Henry II’s protégé and court official, despite bearing grudge towards the father, about the son writes in the similar vein as Gervase of Tilbury: 

“ In peace and in private life, he was courteous, affable gentle, and amiable, kindly indulgent to those by whom he chanced to be injured, and far more disposed to forgive than to punish the offenders.”

His disposition was so good that he could never refuse to give anything that was fitting, thinking that no one ought to leave his presence sorrowful, or disappointed of his hopes”. 
Which Bertran de Born, lord of Autafort and famous bellicose troubadour, well acquainted with all three Angevin princes, Henry, Richard and Geoffrey, confirms in one of his sirventes:
"Noble hospitality and giving without fickle heart, and fair conversation and warm welcome, and a great court, well paid and well kept up, presents and gifts of arms and living without doing wrong, eating to the sound of viol and song, with many a companion bold and mighty among the best."(Mon chan fenis ab dol et ab maltraire)

“ ...wonderful as was his [Henry's] career, one thing appears almost miraculous, namely, that almost all the world attached themselves to a man who was totally without resources, either in money or territory”. 
Gerald of Wales again, who additionally gives us the opportunity to admire Henry's martial skills, comparing his young lord to the “thunderbolt winged by lightening” and giving a vivid description of Henry when in arms and war: “… no sooner was the helmet on his head than he assumed a lofty air, and became impetuous, bold and fiercer than any wild beast”, his “only desire, and the summit of his wishes” being the occasion to prove his valor and fully display his martial genius.
After this coronation and after this investiture you [Henry II] filched from your son something of his honor/ You took away from him his will, he could not get the mastery of it… A king of land without honor does not know well what to do: the young sovereign did not know it, the gentle and good”
From Chronicle of the War between the English and the Scots by Jordan Fantosme, the spiritual chancellor of the diocese of Winchester and eyewitness to the main events of the Great Revolt of 1173-74. The Chronicle was written without the benefit of hindsight of the Young King’s premature death, that is why the author does not condemn the Young Henry for his rebellion, only tries to understand his motives and explain them to the father and to Henry's contemporaries.

The next two come from The History of William Marshal. Upon William Marshal’s death, on 14 May 1219, his eldest son and namesake commissioned a poem on an epic scale to celebrate his late father’s life story. Written in Middle French and comprising 19,214 lines in rhyming couplets, the Histoire de Guillaume le Mareschal is the only surviving biography of a layman of that time, and it is a treasure chest full of information concerning not only William himself, but also his young lord, Henry
"Alas! How chivalry is now dead and buried, how generosity is cast aside! And that is only right, for the leading light which used to guide them on earth is extinguished. Now those who are poor young knights will have to go looking for their daily bread. There will be nobody again prepared to give them horses, arms, and money, as this man gladly gave them."
Thanks to The History of William Marshal we get the full scale of Henry's generosity. On the occassion of the great tournament held at Lagny-sur-Marne in November 1179 he had with him more than two hundred knights and "whoever was under his command, received twenty shilings a day for each man he had with him from the moment they left their own lands, whether they were on the move or in lodgings.” One can only marvel. According to the author of the History no later patron of the tournament was as generous as Henry.
"It is true that the Young King, in castle and in town, led such a lavish life that, when it came to the end of his stay, he had no idea how to take his leave. When it came to the last day, creditors would appear, men who had supplied him with horses, garments, a nd victuals. This man is owed three hundred pounds; this one a hundred and that one two hundred.”... "My lord has no cash with him, but you shall have it within a month”.

From the above picture the young king emerges as a careless spendthrift and perennial debtor, but coming to his defence I need to point out that this particular trait of his character might have sprung from his own conviction that "he had lost a day when he had not secured the attachement of many by various acts of liberality, and bound them to him, body and soul, by multiplied favors conferred” (Gerald of Wales). The words which the author of The History of William Marshal confirms: "his [Henry's] heart was very much set on pleasing everybody, wise and foolish alike, for such was his wont that he was incapable of refusing anything to any man". He bestowed gifts and favours on his friends and household knights, which Bertarn de Born called "noble hospitality and giving without fickle heart” rather than profligacy. 


Gerald of Wales: On Henry II and his Sons, from the Topography of Ireland, chapters 49-50” from The Historical Works of Giraldus Cambrensis. Translated by Thomas Forester; revised by Thomas Wright. Etext file created for a class by Scott Mcletchie. Reproduced in Paul Hassal, ed. the Internet Medieval Source Book. Fordham University

Otia Imperialia by Gervase of Tilbury. Fragments in “On the Instruction of a Prince: the Upbringing of Henry, the Young King” by Matthew Strickland inHenry II: New Interpretations. Ed. Christopher Harper-Bill and Nicholas Vincent. Woodbridge: Boydell Press, 2007

The Poems of the Troubadour Bertran de Born Ed. by William D.Paden, Tilde Sankovitch and Patricia H. Stäblein. University of California Press, 1986.

Chronicle of the War Between the English and the Scots in 1173 and 1174 by Jordan Fantosme translated into English by Francisque Michel Internet Archive of American Libraries.

“William Marshal, Lancelot, and Arthur: Chivalry and Kingship” by Laura Ashe. In Anglo-Norman Studies XXX. Proceedings of the Battle Conference 2007 Ed. by C.P.Lewis

Wednesday, 7 January 2015

Happy New Year to Henry the Young King Readers

Happy New Year to all Henry the Young King readers and staunch supporters. May it be a good one, full of joy and blessings and... Henry the Young King :-)

Yesterday we celebrated Epiphany. In the medieval Europe the Shrine of the Three Kings in the Cologne Cathedral became a very popular pilgrim destination. The alleged earthly remains of the three magi had been transported from Milan to Cologne in 1164 on Frederick Barbarossa's ordersThe Rhineland was at the time a very important area for both English kings and traders, ties with Cologne itself being especially close. Although the Young King himself had never made his way to Germany, his best friend had. There was no other person in the Young King’s short life, who would have proved to be as faithful and steadfast as William Marshal. They were inseparable, with the exception of a short period between the end of 1182 and the beginning of 1183 when they became estranged for the reasons nowhere clearly stated and varying from William outshining his young lord and falling prey to his fellow household knights’ jealousy to William having a love affair with Young Henry’s Queen. If the latter was indeed true, William escaped serious consequences suspiciously easily. Anyway, when William Marshal left the Young King's court in disgrace in the opening days of January 1183, he travelled as far as Cologne, where he prayed at the shrine. And to good effect, for shortly afterwards he was recalled and reunited with his young lord.

                                                         Image: Wikipedia

How did the original shrine or reliquary look like, we will never know, I am afraid. We can be certain though that William couldn't have seen the shrine that we can admire today - when he travelled to Cologne the work was in progress, begun in 1181. Some time in 1199, Henry the Young King's nephew, King Otto IV (1175-1218), bestowed three golden crowns made for the three wise men upon the church of Cologne. Today's coat of arms of Cologne still shows these three crowns, because of the importance of the shrine and the cathedral for the development of the city.

                                                   Image: Wikipedia

And we have just reached 66,660 views. Hooray!!!

Tuesday, 16 December 2014

Merry Christmas To All Henry the Young King Readers!

To all Henry the Young King's readers. Greeting! Our blog is taking a break until 6 January, so let me wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year (hopefully full of Henry the Young King)! Here you can find my text about where and how Christmas was celebrated at the courts of Henry and his family, and here the one about Henry the Young King December anniversaries over the years. I would like to recommend a brilliant post about how Christmas was celebrated in medieval England by Professor Sarah Peverly here.

Stay warm and safe. Hopefully we won't have to suffer what Henry and his consort, Marguerite were through on the Christmas night of 1172, when "a thunder was heard in Ireland and England and in all of France generally, Sudden and dire, portending something great, new and unusual." It must have been heard by both Henry and Marguerite, who held their Christmas court in Normandy, and by Henry's parents, Henry II and Eleanor of Aquitaine at Chinon.

Wednesday, 10 December 2014

Henry the Young King Recommendations

Dear Henry the Young King Readers, His Majesty's loyal servant and scribe has slipped on the icy pavement and had her hands badly bruised, hence the minor delays in writing and posting. Don't worry - she keeps the new posts coming even if only in her head :-). Now she has a request to make: there are a few of her Henry the Young King posts to be read or re-read. Firstly, Charming, Vain, Idle Spendthrift in which she made a heroic try to take a closer look at Henry's character; secondly, as the 7 and 8 December marked the anniversary of Henry's parents' crossing to England to be crowned king and queen on 19 December 1154, her last year's post about the ceremony here and the opening chapter of Ms Elizabeth Chadwick's novel, The Winter Crown, in which Henry the Young King plays a very important role here :-); thirdly, to learn what Henry's contemporaries thought about their young lord, here's her post entitled A Lovely Place of Sin.

Ms. Marsha Lambert is Henry's guardian angel, but also a writer and reviewer. Here's her brilliant post about the authors of historical fiction we all admire and love, Ms Elizabeth Chadwick and Ms Sharon Kay Penman. Our friend and fellow blogger Ms Anerje has written a few fascinating posts about her beloved Piers Gaveston herehere and here - highly recommendable. I would also like to share with you Ms Kathryn Warner's latest post here and Ms Gabriele Campbell's text here. Henry the Young King Blog celebrated its second bloggiversary by hosting our dear friend and gifted writer Ms Joan Battistuzzi. Read a fascinating account of her September trip to England here.

And don't forget about my new blog devoted entirely to Henrys - you can find some interesting stuff here. The emperors, kings, princes, dukes and counts sharing this very special name would be grateful for your kind support :-)

                                               Henri I of France and Anne of Kiev (image: Wikipedia)

Monday, 1 December 2014

November 1181: Three Sons Bearing Witness to the Fruitfulness of Their Mother

On 1 December 1135, Henry the Young King's great-grandfather King Henry I died. You can read about his death here, in one of my previous posts. Now let me share with you a special snippet of Ralph of Diceto's Images of History. Why do I find it so very special, you may wonder. There are a few things that have caught my attention and are well worth discussing here. Over to Ralph...
Philip count of Flanders, when he heard how Philip king of France and Henry king of England were so closely associated, raised up as many of the Flemings as he could to fight against his liege lord... having no regard for the tender age of his lord the king and quite unmindful of the assurances he had given to King Louis that he would watch over, protect and guide his son according to what is right, attacked Noyon aith as large force as he could muster. They devastated the area around Senlis, demolishing houses and uprooting vineyards. 
Young King Henry, son of the elder king, Richard duke of Aquitaine and Geoffrey duke of Brittany- three sons bearing witness to the fruitfulness of their mother- were eager to make up for the absence of the king their father by giving proof of their own valour. Planning to oppose with all their might the designs of those wicked men who desired to oppress the innocent young king of France, they gathered a great force from all the land nad came as a united band to his aid.
Firstly and most importantly, the text has a symbolic meaning to bear: it shows that when the need arose the three eldest sons of Eleanor of Aquitaine and Henry II, contrarily to what had been said about them, could be united in supporting a common cause and be formidably efficient in doing so. Such a need arose in 1181 when the young and vulnerable Capetian king, Philippe, was facing a threat imposed on him by his one time mentor, Philip of Alsace, the count of Flanders. Again, as it often happens, when discussing the Angevin-French-Flemish relations, all was a family matter. From Henry the Young King's perspective, in 1181 he was supporting his brother-in-law while opposing his cousin. Philippe was a younger half-brother of Henry the Young King's queen, Marguerite, whereas Philip of Alsace was a son of Sybilla of Anjou, the aunt of Henry II. To make things even more complicated, Marie, the countess of Champagne and sister to both kings, young Henry and Philippe, allied herself with the count of Flanders against her young half-brother.

                                                  Count Philip of Flanders at the siege of Gezer (1177)

When Henry II was sending his three sons to represent him at young Philippe's coronation in 1179, he couln't have forseen that two years later he would be sending them to fight a war for his young French overlord. In 1179, during the coronation ceremony, Henry the Young King carried Philippe’s crown in the procession and supported his head during the coronation. In his Images of History Ralph of Diceto told the story of how the Young Henry, standing close behind his brother-in-law, had bent forward to hold the crown upon the boy’s head, and thus relieved him of its weight. ‘This implied’, Diceto observed, ‘that if ever the French needed help they could safely ask for it from one who had helped at their king’s coronation’. Kate Norgate interpreted this act of kindness as the symbol and harbinger of the later political attitude of Henry’s father towards the boy-king of France - and indeed at the outset Henry II was the chief protector of the young Capetian king, which, considering all his past conflicts with Philippe's father, king Louis VII, I find highly ironic. On the occassion of the coronation, Count Philip of Flanders "claimed the right of bearing the royal sword" in the opening procession as Gilbert of Mons, the chancellor of Baldwin V of Hainaut, observed. Gilbert was well informed because his lord was also present at St Denis on All Saints' Day 1179. Later, at the banquet that followed, Philip of Flanders fulfilled the honoured duties of steward. The role he played during the coronation itself and afterwards harbingered his later highly influencial position at Philippe's court. Let's face it - in the opening phase of the latter's reign, the count of Flanders was the real power behind the French throne. Genrally he was one of the most powerful man in France, his county being, next to Normandy, the kingdom's richest and best-governed principality. The count himself exercised political authority unusual for his day. He could boast, for instance, the earliest chancery among the lay princes of the then France. What's more, in 1164, thanks to the marriage with Henry the Young King's first cousin Elisabeth, he was able, in the name of his wife, to take possession of her county Vermandois with its dependencies, Amiens and Valois, thus advancing dangerously close to Paris and posing a potential threat to its security. Shrewd and often ruthless politician, he easily entangled the young and inexperienced Capetian king in the web of his own intrigues and ambitious schemes, achiving his most striking success in the spring of 1180, when he arranged a marriage between Philippe and his niece, Isabelle of Hainaut. She was the daughter of Philip's sister Marguerite and the afore-mentioned Baldwin of Hainaut. Needless to say, the match provided the count with an influential relative at the French court. The young Capet's close ties with the Flemish faction naturally alienated his mother's family, the house of Champagne and Blois. The situation became so serious that Henry II had to intervene on the Queen Mother's behalf. Foiled by Henry II from manipulating Philippe, the count of Flanders turned to open defiance. As we already know, in the military conflict that ensued in the closing days of November 1181 Philippe was supported by the three eldest sons of Henry II. 

As the events in the narrative show, quite cotradictorily to what mainstream historians say about the Young King, he turned out to be a good military commander. If we are to believe the chronicler's words, he and the young Philippe leading the joint forces "inflicted severe losses on the Duke of Burgundy, the countess of Champagne, sister to both kings, and their accomplices, whose forces they again outnumbered". They forced the count to retreat. At this point we get a precious little nugget of information from the author: "The count feared to meet King Henry, son of the king of England, face to face and shut himself up in the castle of Crepy". What's so special about this one, you may ask. On the outside, nothing. Philip just feared his opponent because the latter outnumbered him, isn't it clear? It was not exactly so: the count feared to meet the young king not only because they were kin, but also because they were close friends and companions on the tournament circuits. I would even risk a statement that there were no other two men in their world, who would understand each other better. They shared passion for tournaments and were both avid patrons and participants, after all. From Philip's perspective it must have been extremely difficult to meet his young relative and friend face to face. Perhaps due to Henry's personal charm and charisma, more formidable weapon than military skills and political acumen sometimes. In my view, it was probably the first time that the old fox came close to blushing.

Lastly, I would like to direct your attention to the title of this post, being a quote from Diceto. I hope - although it was rather not possible- that Queen Eleanor read the words and that they filled her heart with pride. "Three Sons Bearing Witness to the Fruitfulness of Their Mother" - would have meant a lot to her even if Ralph of Diceto had a habit of using similar rather conventional phrase to describe other contemporary queens, who were lucky enough to provide their kingdoms with male heirs. Why would the words mean a lot to her? The answer is simple: when she was the queen of France and wife to Louis VII she was said to be unable to produce a son. During fifteen years of their marriage she gave Louis only two daughters. Giving birth to five sons by her second husband Henry must have been a special triumph of her own. I wonder whether she knew of their joint 1181 campaign - perhaps she received the news later. Let's not forget that at the time she was still her husband's prisoner.

Monday, 24 November 2014

Henry the Young King's N&N: Nephews and Namesakes

On 16 November 1272, after a long and eventful, albeit not very successful reign, Henry the Young King's nephew and namesake, Henry III, the king of England, died aged 65. Just a reminder here: it is Henry the Young King, who should be counted as Henry III. His contemporaries, mainly chroniclers, when writing about him actually used this numeric name. This however did not last. Was it Henry's somehow anomalous position as a co-ruler, who, despite having been crowned twice had no opportunity to rule independently and what's worse, predeceased his father, or just lack of basic mathematical skills shown by later historians? I am afraid we will never know. Anyway, it was Henry's nephew, who was to go down in history as Henry III and the anniversary of his death pushed me into writing this somehow belated post :-)

                     A 13th-century depiction of Henry III's coronation (source: Wikipedia)

All together Henry the Young King had four nephews named "Henry". Each of them, quite obviously, used a different variation of the name dependable on the country he came from*. Henry the Young King met only the first two of his nephews: Henri II, Count of Champagne and Heinrich, Count-Palatine of the Rhine.

The oldest "Henry" was Henri II, Count of Champagne, King of Jerusalem, born in 1166, as the eldest son of Henry's half-sister Marie and her husband Henri I 'the Liberal' Count of Champagne. His father died in 1181 when Henri was fifteen, leaving Henri's mother to excercise the comital office as regent for their son for six years (1181-1187). Henri was bethrothed to Isabelle of Hainaut in 1171, but her father did not keep the word and married her off to Philippe II of France in 1180, which resulted in the family tensions-- Philippe's mother, Adele, was Marie's sister-in-law and opposed the Hainaut marriage. Marie supported her in-laws against the young Philippe, who was under the influence of Philip of Flanders at the time. Henri must have met his uncle, Henry the Young King on various social occasions, such as tournaments or banquets. When he reached maturity and assumed the countship in 1187, his mother decided to retire to Fontaines-les-Nannes, a Fontevrist priory near Meaux, taking with her her second son, eight-year-old Thibaut. The fall of the Holy City, however, made Henri, as many young men at the time, take “the Jerusalem road”. In 1190, before he set off at the head of a large contignent of barons and knights on the Third Crusade, he summoned his barons and knights to Sezanne to swear oaths of fidelity to his twelve-year-old brother Thibaut in the event that he himself did not return from the Holy Land. Upon his departure Marie resumed the office of a regent. She could not have known she would never see her son again, for “... although all the kings and princes returned from there to their own lands, he remained there as if alone, and received through a certain marriage the kingdom of that land, the wealth of which seemed greater than his own regions’(Chronicle of Hainaut, pp.139-40). ‘A certain marriage’ meant Henry’s marriage to Isabella, daughter of King Amaury I of Jerusalem and widow of Conrad of Montferat, whom Henry took as his wife on 5 May 1192, eight days after Conrad's murder. Henry refused the title of king, styling himself ‘lord of the kingdom of Jerusalem’ and to the very end ‘count of Champagne'. He died tragically on 10 September 1197 in a bizarre accident, falling from a window of his palace at Acre. Was it a window or balcony railing that gave way under his weight? The accounts differ when it comes to details. One thing is certain, though: at the time of his death Henry was thirty-one, too young and promising man to die. From his marriage to Isabella he had three daughters: Marguerite, Alice and Philippa. After his death his mother Marie continued as regent for his younger brother Thibaut until she died in March 1198.

Heinrich (1173-1227), Count-palatine of the Rhine, was the eldest son of Henry the Young King's sister Matilda and her husband Heinrich der Lőwe of the Welf dynasty, duke of Saxony and Bavaria. In 1182, a year after his father lost his imperial fiefs as a result of his clash with Emperor Frederick I Barbarossa, a nine-year-old Heinrich, together with his elder sister Richenza/Matilda and younger brother Otto [later Otto IV Holy Roman Emperor] accompanied his parents when they went into exile into the lands of Matilda's father, King Henry II of England. Heinrich must have been an eyewitness to the fierce family quarrel that ensued during the Chrismas court of 1182 at Caen and the clash of wills between his uncles, Henry the Young King and Richard, Duke of Aquitaine [later Richard I the Lionheart], the events that led to the war of 1183 and to the Young King's death. Heinrich and his family spent three years in his granfather's domains. In 1185 he was the only child of the ducal couple to return to Saxony with his father - Matilda, Otto and little William (b. in Winchester, England, in 1184) remained behind at the Angevin court. Little wonder that 1190 saw him the key figure alongside his father in Saxony. In February he was sent as his father's representative to his uncle Richard I at La Reole (Gascony) to discuss the Saxon affairs and to ask for the latter's assistance. Similarly when elder Heinrich negotiated agreement with Barbarossa's son and successor Emperor Heinrich VI, he offered his son Heinrich (alongside with his other son Lothar) as hostage.  In 1194 Heinrich married Agnes, the daughter and heiress of the Staufen count-palatine Conrad of the Rhine. A year later both his father and his father-in-law died and Heinrich inherited not only the most important rights and properties in Saxony, including the principal residence of Brunswick, but also became count-palatine of the Rhine. During the subsequent years, however, he focused mainly on securing his Saxon inheritance. In 1198 he might have been elected king and emperor instead of his younger brother Otto, the only emperor of the Welfen dynasty, if he had not been crusading in the Holy Land at the time- he left early in 1197 only to return in the autumn of 1198. After his return he found himself entangled in the civil war that yet again engulfed the German kingdom. Initially he supported his brother Otto and was "always in all matters the better part of the king's council", as was reported in a letter to Pope Innocent III in 1201. In 1202 he agreed to create a lordship for Otto out of his Saxon lands, even acknowledging his younger brother's control over the Welf's chief town of Brunswick (the so-callled Contract of Paderborn). Otto spent most of his youth in the Angevin domains inheriting a small portion of his patrimony, that is why he badly needed the stable territorial foundation for his kingship. Heinrich was ready to provide him with it. 1204, however, saw him switching sides and pledging loyalty to his brother's opponent, the Staufen king, Philip of Swabia, the youngest son of Frederick Barbarossa. As the author of Chronica regia Colonienisis relates, "the unfaithful count-palatine, who was at his brother's side, abandoned him and went over to Philip, corrupted by his money and the promise of the duchy of Saxony". The reason for this defection must have been Heinrich's weakened position in Saxony after the afore-mentioned partition. Arnold of Lübeck, however, gives a little bit different account of what happened. According to him Heinrich was warned by Philip of Swabia that he was to loose the title of the palatine of the Rhine unless he joined the Staufen camp. Heinrich sought compensation if that were to happen and asked Otto to give him back the castles of Brunswick and Lichtenberg. Otto was to refuse flatly, thus pushing the elder brother into defection. Although Heinrich never actively plotted against Otto, he did something shocking by the standards of the day, for few noblemen of the Staufen period sided with another lord against his own brother. Pope Innocent III, at the time Otto's active supporter, wrote to Heinrich, hinting that the latter was even risking excommunication, but Heinrich - as it seemed - did not care. The brothers were reconciled in 1208, after Philip of Swabia's assassination. They were to maintain close ties with one another until Otto's death in 1218. Heinrich died nine years later, having set up his nephew Otto "the Child", the son of his brother William of Winchester, as heir of the entire Welfen domains.

The Brunswick Lion (c. 1166), symbol of the Welf family, the oldest, preserved large sculpture from the Middle Ages north of the Alps and the first large hollow casting of a figure since antiquity. Courtesy of Ms Gabriele Campbell.

Enrique I (1204-1217) the son of Henry the Young King's sister Eleanor/Leonor by her husband Alfonso VIII of Castile, born on 14 April 1204, exactly thirteen days after his maternal grandmother Eleanor of Aquitaine's death. Enrique's parents both died in 1214 when he was eleven yars old, thus still a minor. Leonor outlived her husband by only a few weeks. Before she died she "had comitted both the kingdom and her son and all the legal rights to the kingdom, just as the lord king of blessed memory had comitted them to the same Queen Leonor", to her eldest daughter Berenguela (1180-1246), the former queen of León. Following the Castilian custom Berenguela, herself her father's heiress-presumptive, became Enrique's regent. She held the custody, the 'tutela', of her brother with Archbishop  of Toledo, Rodrigo Jimenez de Rada and Tello, bishop of Palencia, sharing with them the reigns of governement. Immediately upon his accession young Enrique received the homage of the nobles of the realm. Unfortunately, Berenguela's tutelage and regency did not last long. Already in 1215 she was forced to turn the regency of both Enrique and the kingdom to Count Álvaro Núnez de Lara and thus lost all influence at her young brother's court. The loss of power was accompanied by a civil war. As events unfolded, Enrique, a true puppet, was to remain in Count Alvaro's hands until his tragic death. Before it happened, his sister made unsuccessful efforts to inflirtate his court. The count tried to exercise even more control over the boy by arranging his marriage to Portuguese princess Mafalda. The marriage, however, never consummated was soon dissolved by Pope Innocent III on grounds of the couple's consanguinity. Young Enrique died in the late May 1217 in the city of Palencia from a wound to the head. He was fourteen. According to the sources, he and other young boys from his household were playing unsupervised on the roof, when someone threw (or kicked) a loose roof tile and accidentally wounded the king that way. The efforts to keep the boy alive by trepanning proved unsuccessful. He died a few days later. Count Alvaro unsuccessfully tried to supress the word of his death by hiding the body in the tower of Tariego, near Burgos. Berenguela, however, quickly received the news and managed to retrieve the body, which she later took to Las Huelgas to bury it near their parents at the abbey that their father Alfonso founded at the behest of their mother. "She caused to be out there a very nobly adorned coffin, and she buried him there, near her brother Infante Fernando, performing the offices of the holy church thoroughly and very honorably in his burial, with great lament and sorrow and many offerings, all royally and acomplshed with much nobility" (from Primera crónica general). Upon Enrique's death Berenguela's son Fernando (1199-1252) was recognized as king.

The afore-mentioned Henry III (1207-1272), king of England, was the youngest of Henry the Young King's nephews and namesakes. The son of Henry the Young King's brother John (b. 1166) by his second wife Isabelle d'Angoulême, he inherited the throne as a nine-year-old upon his father's death in 1216. England was in a state of civil war at the time. Council of regents was appointed, headed by William Marshal to rule in the name of the child king. In 1216 time seemed to come full circle: it was William Marshal after all who took care of the Young Henry when he became king in 1170, guiding him into manhood. In 1216 he was taking care of his former lord's young nephew, who needed care and guidance as badly as his uncle forty-six years before him. Henry III began to rule in his own right in 1234 and as we all know his reign turned out to be a period of weak government and rebellion. Little wonder, his autocratic apporach, favouring his Provencal wife's relatives over native barons and lack of political and military skill led to the inevitable crisis, and the bloody clash between Henry and his brother-in-law Simon de Montfort. On the other hand Henry was a sensitive and cultured man who left a splendid legacy- Westminster Abbey in the shape we can admire it today.

* I wonder what form of his name Henry the Young King himself used in his lifetime. He was Anglo-Norman-Angevin, after all.


Chronicle of Hainaut by Gilbert of Mons. Translated into English by Laura Napran. The Boydell Press, Woodbridge, 2005

Historical Dictionary of the British Monarchy by Kenneth J. Panton, Google Books

Berenguela of Castile (1180-1246) and the Political Women in the High Middle Ages by Miriam Shadis, Google Books

The Aristocracy in the County of Champagne 1100-1300 by Theodore Evergates, Google Books

Princely Brothers and Sisters: the Sibling Bond in German Politics 1100-1250  by Jonathan R. Lyon

The Social Politics of Medieval Diplomacy: Anglo-German Relations 1066-1307 by Jospeh Patrick Huffman, Google Books

The Lost Fort Blog (Ms Gabriele Campbell)

Wednesday, 12 November 2014

Henry the Young King Says Thank You!

7 November marked the second anniversary of our blog. We have survived in the blogosphere. Hooray! Of course this would not be possible without all the wonderful people we have met. I would like to thank my dear husband Piotrek for his love and and unwavering support; Ms Marsha Lambert for being our Guardian Angel; Ms Anerje, Ms Joan BattistuzziMs Gabriele C. and Ms Donna Schleifer for their lovely and thought-provoking comments; Ms Kathryn Warner for her encouragement, kind support and fresh approach to writing about history; Ms Sharon Kay Penman and Ms Elizabeth Chadwick for my renewed interest in Henry and his tempestuous family; Mr Richard Willis for inviting me and Henry to his blog (and my first offiicial post on Henry), his friendly words of advice and our chats about the Angevins; Ms Emilie Laforge, who has become Henry's godmother; Ms Stephanie Ling and Mr Ken John for all the links and recommendations; also Mr David Parr, Ms Maria Grace, Mr David PillingMr Darren Baker, Ms Sonja Koch (our Dear Kleine Dame aus Berlin), Ms Elisabeth Millard, Ms Paula Lofting, Ms Gocho from Strategie Portal, Mr Koby Itzhak, Ms Sarah Butterfield, Ms Teka Lynn, Mr Valentino KrizanićMs Cristina Beans Picón, Ms Kasia II, the champion of Henryk IV Probus and Louis IX of France, Mr Clever Boy and Ms Ellen of Historical RagbagMr Malcolm Craig for being My Friend in the Twelfth-Century History. I hope I have mentioned all the lovely people who have supported us in our efforts to bring the Young King to life. Thank you!

PS Our Liege would be grateful if you could read this article once again plus Ms Sharon Kay Penman's Devil's Brood. Happy reading :-)