Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Henry VI

Born in 1421, Henry became the King of both England and France at the tender age of 9 months; for the first 15 years of his life a regent ruled in his stead.  When Henry came of age he demonstrated that despite his qualities as a man, he was a hopeless King. England was soon in debt because of the war in France, but Henry continued to spend large sums of money and grant the crown’s wealthy land to his favorites (who not unsurprising became very unpopular).
Henry was deeply pious and appeared more as a scholar than a King, founding universities and collecting books, as well as reading them. One of his great faults was his forgivingness towards his enemies, which ended in his downfall.
The King’ suffered severe mental breakdowns (something he had inherited from his mad French grandfather who believed himself to be made of glass) and regents were appointed by a council to rule in his place during these times. While he was sane his favorites Somerset and Buckingham ruled more or less behind the scenes (or at least so it seemed to many in England). 
Henry was defeated by the Yorkists at the battle of Towton in 1461 and captured four years later. After years spent in the Tower the ‘Kingmaker’ reinstated him in 1470. When in 1471 Edward IV invaded and returned to power, Henry was murdered, supposedly at the hands of Richard of Gloucester.
His only child Edward, died at the battle of Tewkesbury in 1471, while his wife Margaret of Anjou lived out the rest of her life in relative poverty with her family in France. 

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