m. 17 Jun 1128
m. 18 May 1152
m. BET 1166 AND 1176
Facts and Events
He was born Henri of Anjou, and was known as Henry Curtmantle (Henri Courtmanteau) or Henry FitzEmpress. Plantagenêt was not used as the family name until the fifteenth century.
Henry II (5 March 1133 – 6 July 1189), also known as Henry Curtmantle, 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 and Matilda, who was the daughter of King Henry I and took the title of Empress from her first marriage. He became actively involved by the age of 14 in his mother's efforts to claim the throne of England, and was made the Duke of Normandy at 17. He inherited Anjou in 1151 and shortly afterwards married Eleanor of Aquitaine, whose marriage to the French king Louis VII had recently been annulled. King Stephen agreed to a peace treaty after Henry's military expedition to England in 1153, and Henry inherited the kingdom on Stephen's death a year later. Still quite young, he now controlled what would later be called the Angevin Empire, stretching across much of western Europe.
Henry was an energetic and sometimes ruthless ruler, driven by a desire to restore the lands and privileges of his royal grandfather, Henry I. During the early years of the younger Henry's reign he restored the royal administration in England, re-established hegemony over Wales and gained full control over his lands in Anjou, Maine and Touraine. Henry soon came into conflict with Louis VII and the two rulers fought what has been termed a "cold war" over several decades. Henry expanded his empire, often at Louis's expense, taking Brittany and pushing east into central France and south into Toulouse; despite numerous peace conferences and treaties no lasting agreement was reached. Although Henry usually worked well with the local hierarchies of the Church, his desire to reform England's relationship with the Church led to conflict with his former friend Thomas Becket, the Archbishop of Canterbury. This controversy lasted for much of the 1160s and resulted in Becket's death in 1170.
As Henry's reign progressed he had many children with Eleanor, and tensions over the future inheritance of the empire began to emerge, encouraged first by Louis VII and then Louis's son and successor Philip Augustus. In 1173 Henry's heir apparent, "Young Henry", rebelled in protest against his father; he was joined by his brothers Richard and Geoffrey and by their mother, Eleanor. France, Scotland, Flanders and Boulogne allied with the rebels against Henry. The Great Revolt spread across Henry's lands and was only defeated by his vigorous military action and talented local commanders, many of them "new men" appointed for their loyalty and administrative skills. Henry was mostly generous in victory and appeared for the moment to be at the height of his powers, but Young Henry and Geoffrey revolted again in 1183, resulting in Young Henry's death. Despite invading Ireland to provide lands for his youngest son John, Henry struggled to find ways to satisfy all his sons' desires for land and immediate power. Philip successfully played on Richard's fears that Henry would make John king, and a final rebellion broke out in 1189. Decisively defeated by Philip and Richard and suffering from a bleeding ulcer, Henry retreated to Chinon in Anjou, where he died.
Henry's empire quickly collapsed during the reign of his youngest son John. Many of the changes Henry introduced during his long rule, however, had long-term consequences. Henry's legal changes are generally considered to have laid the basis for the English Common Law, while his intervention in Brittany, Wales and Scotland shaped the development of their societies and governmental systems. Historical interpretations of Henry's reign have changed considerably over time. In the 18th century, scholars argued that Henry was a driving force in the creation of a genuinely English monarchy and, ultimately, a unified Britain. During the Victorian expansion of the British Empire, historians were keenly interested in the formation of Henry's own empire, but they also expressed concern over his private life and treatment of Becket. Late-20th-century historians have combined British and French historical accounts of Henry, challenging earlier Anglocentric interpretations of his reign.
Henry was made duke of Normandy, and upon his father's death in 1151 he inherited the Angevin territories. His early attempts to reclaim the British throne, which he claimed through his mother, were unsuccessful. His marriage to Eleanor brought him vast territories in France. He invaded England in 1152-3, forcing King Stephen to acknowledge him as heir to the throne, which he ascended in 1154, thus controlling much of France and all of England. His sons and wife joined with Philip of France to defeat Henry in 1189, the year in which he died. He was succeeded by his son Richard. His son John later became king also.
Henry became Duke of Normandy when his father abdicated in his favor in 1150, and inherited the titles of Count of Anjou, Maine and Mortaine upon his father's death in 1151. After his marriage in 1152 he became Duke of Aquitaine and Count of Poitiers, by right of his wife. When King Stephen of England died in 1154, he inherited his mother's claim and became King of England. Finally, he created the title of Lord of Ireland with its partial conquest in 1171. He gave Mortain to King Stephen's son, William of Blois, in 1153. From 1170-1183 he shared his original patrimony of Normandy, Anjou, Maine and Mortaine with his son, Henry, the Young King. In 1172 he gave his wife's inheritance of Aquitaine and Poitiers to their son, Richard, and in 1185 he gave the Lordship of Ireland to their son, John.