|Henry II ~ wise and kingly|
Henry I was the grandson of William The Conqueror, though of course 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; he also 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. This marriage reinforced England's control over France, although Matilda wasn't too keen because she was twenty-nine and Geoff was only fifteen.
|Geoff, of yellow flower in hat fame|
Henry II zipped back over to England and made friends with Stephen, who agreed Henry could be king. Partly because Stephen was pretty old by then.
|King Stephen ~ an intelligent man with a dark side.|
King Henry II married Eleanor of Aquitaine, a feisty wench previously married to Louis VII of France, who'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. He carried on being a top bloke, and pulled lots of clever and diplomatic moves all over England and France, with lords and nobles and castles and laws, etc.
|Feisty wench Eleanor of Aquitaine, who would ride about the country disguised as a chap|
King Henry 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 Henry was ranting about his high-maintenance chum, and a few soldiers mistakenly thought he meant them to kill him. He didn't, but they did. Then everyone thought King Henry had ordered it, so a lot of people were pretty pissed off with him because having the Archbishop of Canterbury murdered was not cricket.
|Thomas Beckett: a psychotherapist's dream client|
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 a bit of a tit. 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 dead 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 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 no use to 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 H2. That such a sound chap got such a rubbish family is most tragic.
And that's as far as I've got.