Henry II, King of England

Henry II, King of England

Male 1133 - 1189  (56 years)

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  • Name Henry II  
    Suffix King of England 
    Nickname Curtmantle 
    Born 5 Mar 1133  Le Mans, France Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Gender Male 
    Died 6 Jul 1189  Chinon Castle, Anjou, France Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Person ID I4365  avefamily
    Last Modified 27 Nov 2018 

    Father Geoffrey of Anjou 
    Mother Matilda De Anjou, Of England 
    Family ID F1337  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

    Family Eleanor of Aquitaine,   b. Abt 1122, Aquitaine, France Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 31 Mar 1204, Mirabell Castle, Tarn-et-Garonne, Midi-Pyrenees, France Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age ~ 82 years) 
     1. Richard I Plantagenet, The Lionheart,   b. 1157,   d. 1199  (Age 42 years)
    +2. John Plantagenet, King of England,   b. 24 Dec 1166, Beaumont Palace, Oxford, England Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 19 Oct 1216, Newark, Nottinghamshire, England Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 49 years)
    Last Modified 26 Dec 2018 
    Family ID F1336  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

  • Photos

  • Notes 
    • Henry II established the House of Plantagenet. Born to Matilda during a turbulent period, his mother was swept aside while Stephen seized the throne. It was only after he married the most powerful woman in Europe, Eleanor -- Duchess of Aquitaine and ex-consort of Louis XII -- that he was able to take the crown.
      A man of war, he spent his life on campaigns and stayed on the move. At first, Eleanour shared in the monarch's administrative power and often acted as regent. But with Thomas Becket's rise to power, she was over-shadowed. Becket was not a religious man. Neither was he of noble blood. But with the king's favor, he was able to spend lavishly. Then... in a disastrous political move, Henry forced Becket into the clergy. Suddenly... Beckett became pious, and blew Henry's plan. Once the king realized that he could not control the man he made, he threw a fit the world never forgot. A few of his knights were in ear-shot. Took the king's temper tantrum at face value... and murdered Beckett in his own church.
      Europe went into an uproar. Henry got bad press. And voila -- the man of the cloth, who once stunned the French with gaudy displays of wealth... became canonized. They say that Beckett's memory haunted Henry for the rest of his life, but it never stopped him from enjoying power. Although he showered titles on his sons, and even named some of them King ... he refused to let them rule. This led to a series of mutinies within his own family, and he even incarcerated the Queen for years on end. But Eleanor outlived him, and even helped her youngest son John, to ascend the throne.[1][2]

      Name: King Henry II
      Born: March 5, 1133 at Le Mans, France
      Parents: Geoffrey, Count of Anjou, and Empress Matilda
      Relation to Elizabeth II: 22nd great-grandfather
      House of: Angevin
      Ascended to the throne: October 25, 1154 aged 21 years
      Crowned: December 19, 1154 at Westminster Abbey
      Married: Eleanor of Aquitaine, Daughter of William X, Duke of Aquitaine
      Children: Five sons including Richard I and John, three daughters and several illegitimate children
      Died: July 6, 1189 at Chinon Castle, Anjou, aged 56 years, 4 months, and 1 day
      Buried at: Fontevraud, France
      Reigned for: 34 years, 8 months, and 11 days
      Succeeded by: his son Richard
      King of England 1154–89. The son of Matilda and Geoffrey V, Count of Anjou, he succeeded King Stephen (c. 1097–1154). He curbed the power of the barons, but his attempt to bring the church courts under control was abandoned after the murder of Thomas à Becket, Archbishop of Canterbury, in 1170. The English conquest of Ireland began during Henry's reign. On several occasions his sons rebelled, notably 1173–74. Henry was succeeded by his son Richard (I) the Lionheart.

      Henry was lord of Scotland, Ireland, and Wales, and Count of Anjou, Brittany, Poitou, Normandy, Maine, and Gascony. He claimed Aquitaine through marriage to the heiress Eleanor in 1152. Henry's many French possessions caused him to live for more than half his reign outside England. This made it essential for him to establish a judicial and administrative system which would work during his absence. His chancellor and friend, Becket, was persuaded to become archbishop of Canterbury in 1162 in the hope that he would help the king curb the power of the ecclesiastical courts. However, once consecrated, Becket felt bound to defend church privileges, and he was murdered in Canterbury Cathedral 1170 by four knights of the king's household.

      In 1171 Henry invaded Ireland and received homage from the King of Leinster. In 1174 his three sons Henry, Richard and Geoffrey led an unsuccessful rebellion against their father.


      Here I am, not a traitor of the king, but a priest of God. Why do you want me?' - Thomas à Becket addressing his murderers, 29 December 1170

      Timeline for King Henry II

      Year Event
      1154 Henry II accedes to the throne at the age of 21 upon the death of his second cousin, Stephen.
      1154 Pope Adrian IV (born Nicholas Breakspear) becomes the first English Pope 1154-1159.
      1155 Henry appoints Thomas a Becket as Chancellor of England, a post that he holds for seven years.
      1155 Pope Adrian IV issues the papal bull Laudabiliter, which gives Henry dispensation to invade Ireland and bring the Irish Church under the control of the Church of Rome.
      1162 On the death of Archbishop Theobald, Henry appoints Thomas a Becket as Archbishop of Canterbury in the hope that he will help introduce Church reforms.
      1164 Henry introduces the Constitutions of Clarendon, which place limitations on the Church’s jurisdiction over crimes committed by the clergy. The Pope refuses to approve the Constitutions, so Thomas a Becket refuses to sign them.
      1166 The Assize of Clarendon establishes trial by jury for the first time.
      1166 Dermot McMurrough, King of Leinster in Ireland, appeals to Henry to help him oppose a confederation of other Irish kings. In response to the appeal, Henry sends a force led by Richard de Clare, Earl of Pembroke, thereby beginning the English settlement of Ireland.
      1168 English scholars expelled from Paris settle in Oxford, where they found a university.
      1170 Pope Alexander III threatens England with an interdict and forces Henry to a formal reconciliation with Becket. However, the two of them quarrel again when Becket publishes papal letters voiding Henry’s Constitutions of Clarendon.
      1170 Becket is killed in Canterbury Cathedral on 29 December by four of Henry’s knights.
      1171 Henry invades Ireland and receives homage from the King of Leinster and the other kings. Henry is accepted as Lord of Ireland.
      1171 At Cashel Henry makes Irish clergy submit to the authority of Rome
      1173 Canonization of Thomas a Becket.
      1173 Eleanor of Aquitaine and her sons revolt unsuccessfully against her husband Henry II.
      1174 Henry’s sons Henry, Richard, and Geoffrey lead an unsuccessful rebellion against their father
      1176 Henry creates a framework of justice creating judges and dividing England into six counties
      1185 Lincoln cathedral is destroyed by an earthquake.
      1189 Henry dies at Chinon castle, Anjou, France