Person:Henry VI of England (1)

King Henry VI of England
Facts and Events
Name King Henry VI of England
Gender Male
Birth? 6 Dec 1421 Windsor Castle, Windsor, Berkshire, EnglandHouse of Lancaster
Marriage 22 Apr 1445 Titchfield, Hampshire, EnglandTitchfield Abbey
to Margaret of Anjou
Will[3] 12 Mar 1447
Reference Number? Q160337?
Death? 21 May 1471 Tower of London, Middlesex, England
Burial[5] St. George's Chapel, Windsor, Berkshire, England


the text in this section is copied from an article in Wikipedia

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 inherited the long-running Hundred Years' War (1337–1453), in which his uncle Charles VII contested his claim to the French throne. He is the only English monarch to also have been crowned King of France (as Henry II), in 1431. His early reign, when several people were ruling for him, saw the pinnacle of English power in France, but subsequent military, diplomatic, and economic problems had seriously endangered the English cause by the time Henry was declared fit to rule in 1437. He found his realm in a difficult position, faced with setbacks in France and divisions among the nobility at home. Unlike his father, Henry is described as timid, shy, passive, well-intentioned, and averse to warfare and violence; he was also at times mentally unstable. His ineffective reign saw the gradual loss of the English lands in France. Partially in the hope of achieving peace, in 1445 Henry married Charles VII's niece, the ambitious and strong-willed Margaret of Anjou. The peace policy failed, leading to the murder of one of Henry's key advisers, and the war recommenced, with France taking the upper hand; by 1453, Calais was Henry's only remaining territory on the continent.

As the situation in France worsened, there was a related increase in political instability in England. With Henry effectively unfit to rule, power was exercised by quarrelsome nobles, while factions and favourites encouraged the rise of disorder in the country. Regional magnates and soldiers returning from France formed and maintained increasing numbers of private armed retainers, with which they fought one another, terrorised their neighbors, paralysed the courts, and dominated the government. Queen Margaret did not remain unpartisan, and took advantage of the situation to make herself an effective power behind the throne.

Amidst military disasters in France and a collapse of law and order in England, the queen and her clique came under criticism, coming especially from Henry VI's increasingly popular cousin Richard of the House of York, of misconduct of the war in France and misrule of the country. Starting in 1453, Henry began suffering a series of mental breakdowns, and tensions mounted between Margaret and Richard of York over control of the incapacitated king's government, and over the question of succession to the throne. Civil war broke out in 1455, leading to a long period of dynastic conflict known as the Wars of the Roses. Henry was deposed on 29 March 1461 after a crushing defeat at the Battle of Towton by Richard's son, who took the throne as Edward IV. Despite Margaret continuing to lead a resistance to Edward, he was captured by Edward's forces in 1465 and imprisoned in the Tower of London. Henry was restored to the throne in 1470, but Edward retook power in 1471, killing Henry's only son and heir in battle and imprisoning Henry once again.

Having "lost his wits, his two kingdoms, and his only son", Henry died in the Tower during the night of 21 May, possibly killed on the orders of Edward. Miracles were attributed to Henry after his death, and he was informally regarded as a saint and martyr until the 16th century. He left a legacy of educational institutions, having founded Eton College, King's College, Cambridge, and All Souls College, Oxford. Shakespeare wrote a trilogy of plays about his life, depicting him as weak-willed and easily influenced by his wife, Margaret.

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References
  1.   Henry VI of England, in Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia.
  2.   Cokayne, George Edward, and Vicary Gibbs; et al. The complete peerage of England, Scotland, Ireland, Great Britain and the United Kingdom, extant, extinct, or dormant [2nd ed.]. (London: St. Catherine Press, 1910-59), Volume 3 pages 438 and 439.
  3. Nichols, John. A collection of all the wills, now known to be extant, of the kings and queens of England, princes and princessess of Wales, and every branch of the blood royal: from the reign of William the Conqueror to that of Henry the Seventh, exclusive, with explanatory notes and a glossary. (London: J. Nichols, 1780), pages 291 to 320.

    The will may be read here.

  4.   Henry VI Plantagenet, King of England, in Lundy, Darryl. The Peerage: A genealogical survey of the peerage of Britain as well as the royal families of Europe.
  5. Henry VI, in Find A Grave.