|Henry II ~ my favourite Plantagenet|
Henry I was the grandson of William The Conqueror, though at the time he was just called Henry, not Henry I, because no one knew there would be seven more.
Henry's only surviving child was his daughter, Matilda, who he made his heir. Henry made her marry Geoffrey of Anjou, in France. Geoff was a stylish chap who wore a little yellow flower in his hat, the Latin name of which was planta genista, hence the name Plantagenet. Cool, right?!
|Geoff, of yellow flower in hat fame|
Later on Henry II zipped back over to England and made friends with Stephen, who agreed Henry could be king after him. Stephen was pretty old by then.
|King Stephen ~ an intelligent man with a dark side.|
Once Henry was king he married Eleanor of Aquitaine, a feisty wench previously married to Louis VII of France - he'd turned out to be a bit of a drip. This was a good move by Henry because it guaranteed him control over loads of bits of France.
|Feisty wench Eleanor of Aquitaine, who would ride about the country disguised as a chap|
King Henry II was big buddies with Thomas Beckett who he made Archbishop of Canterbury, but it was one of those toxic friendships. Thomas had lots of issues, including some way tedious self-esteem problems, so he made a lot of trouble for King Henry.
One night at court, Henry was ranting about his high-maintenance chum, and a few of his soldiers mistakenly thought he meant them to kill him. He didn't, but they did anyway. Then everyone thought King Henry had ordered it, so a lot of people were angry because having the Archbishop of Canterbury murdered was a bit off.
|Thomas Beckett: a psychotherapist's dream client|
|....and here he is being murdered. You'd have thought he'd hear three of them that close behind him.|
King Henry and Eleanor had four sons:
- Henry The Young King (henceforth to be known as Henry TYK)
- Richard (soon to be The Lionheart)
- Geoffrey (a two-faced snake)
- John (later of Magna Carta fame).
|Henry The Young King|
~ the face that inspired a thousand doubts
Henry TYK was posturing and vain, and considered by most to be whiny and childishly impulsive. Kind of the Prince Harry of his day. At this time there were lots of arguments about bits of land in England and France and who owned what territory. Then King Henry started giving bits of France to his daughters for dowrys, and Henry TYK, Richard and Geoffrey got pissed off about it - and so did their mother Eleanor. She was possessive about Aquitaine, probably because it was part of her name.
Eleanor and the three boys teamed up with Eleanor's ex, Louis VII (who had never forgiven Henry for copping off with Eleanor), and started having battles against King Henry. Peace was restored but King Henry put Eleanor under palace arrest for the rest of her days. This is like being under house arrest but much better because you get servants.
|Richard The Lionheart |
~ much sexier than Henry The Young King, as you can see.
King Henry tried to make Richard and Geoffrey kneel to Henry TYK as his heir, but Richard wouldn't because he was an awesome soldier (if a tad obsessed with a guy called Saladin) and Henry TYK was of use to neither man nor beast. Then Henry TYK chucked all his toys out of his pram and tried to rebel, but got dysentery and died, and everyone secretly said, "thank Christ for that".
Next: Richard is made King but plunders England's wealth on his quest for personal glory en Crusade. I feel really sorry for Henry II. That such a sound chap got such a rubbish family is most tragic.
And that's as far as I've got.