Sanchia of Provence
Sanchia of Provence was the third daughter of Ramon Berenguer IV, Count of Provence and Beatrice of Savoy. Sanchia was described as of incomparable beauty, Sanchias sisters Margaret and Beatrice were the respective wives of Louis IX of France, Henry III of England and Charles I of Sicily. Sanchia was said to have a softer and more winsome type of good looks than either her older sisters and Eleanor. It was Eleanor of Provence who arranged a marriage between her sister Sanchia and her brother-in-law Richard, 1st Earl of Cornwall, whose first wife Isabel Marshal had died recently. At the time, Sanchia was engaged to Raymond VII of Toulouse and Sanchias uncle Peter was sent to negotiate the marriage contract in 1242. Another uncle, escorted Sanchia safely to the English court in Gascony, they joined Eleanor and Henry, and met their new daughter Beatrice. The wedding took place at Westminster on November 23, although the wealthiest man in the Kingdom of England and perhaps in Europe, was only a prince, not a sovereign.
The cost of the wedding was chiefly defrayed by a levy imposed on the Jews of the country and it was an arbitrary proceeding, each of them receiving notice of the size of the donation required. An idea of the extravagance of the festivities may be gleaned from the fact that thirty thousand dishes were prepared for the wedding dinner alone. The marriages of the brothers from France and England to the four sisters from Provence improved the relationship between the two countries, which led up to the Treaty of Paris. Sanchia was present, along with all her sisters and her mother. Richard was elected in 1256 as King of Germany by a majority of the seven princes, with the title of King of the Romans. In January 1257, the bringing the news of Richards election were received in a long hall where Richard and Sanchia were dining in considerable elegance. Richard rose to hear what the men from Bohemia had to say and he would accept the crown, he said, but it was not through greed or ambition. His sole object was to assist in restoring prosperity to the German states, his honest desire was to rule justly and well.
It was clear to the German delegation, and to the throng of adherents and servants who swarmed into the hall to listen and it must have been quite apparent that Sanchia was delighted beyond measure. Now she would be a queen as well as her two older and patronizing sisters, Sanchia was crowned Queen of the Romans with her husband on 27 May 1257 at Aachen Cathedral in Germany. She and her husband spent fifteen months traveling in the area near Mainz and they hurriedly traveled back to England when the political situation deteriorated there
Louis VIII of France
Louis VIII the Lion was King of France from 1223 to 1226. He claimed the title King of England from 1216 to 1217, Louis VIII was born in Paris, the son of King Philip II of France and Isabelle of Hainaut, from whom he inherited the County of Artois. While Louis VIII only briefly reigned as king of France, he was a leader in his years as crown prince. During the First Barons War of 1215-17 against King John of England, after his victory at the Battle of Roche-au-Moine in 1214, he invaded southern England and was proclaimed King of England by rebellious barons in London on the 2 June 1216. He was never crowned and renounced his claim after being excommunicated and repelled, in 1217, Louis started the conquest of Guyenne, leaving only a small region around Bordeaux to Henry III of England. Louiss short reign was marked by an intervention using royal forces into the Albigensian Crusade in southern France that decisively moved the conflict towards a conclusion and he died in 1226 and was succeeded by his son Louis IX.
In summer 1195, a marriage between Louis and Eleanor of Brittany, niece of Richard I of England, was suggested for an alliance between Philip II and Richard, but it failed and this led to a sudden deterioration in relations between Richard and Philip. On 23 May 1200, at the age of 12, Louis was married to Blanche of Castile, daughter of King Alfonso VIII of Castile and Eleanor of England, the marriage could only be concluded after prolonged negotiations between King Philip II of France and Blanches uncle John. In 1214, King John of England began his campaign to reclaim the Duchy of Normandy from Philip II. John was optimistic, as he had built up alliances with Holy Roman Emperor Otto IV, Count Renaud of Boulogne. Johns plan was to split Philips forces by pushing north-east from Poitou towards Paris, while Otto and Ferdinand, supported by the Earl of Salisbury, marched south-west from Flanders. Whereas Philip II took personal command of the front against the emperor and his allies. The first part of the campaign went well for the English, with John outmanoeuvring the forces under the command of Prince Louis, John besieged the castle of Roche-au-Moine, a key stronghold, forcing Louis to give battle against Johns larger army.
The local Angevin nobles refused to advance with the king, left at something of a disadvantage, shortly afterwards, Philip won the hard-fought Battle of Bouvines in the north against Otto and Johns other allies, bringing an end to Johns hopes of retaking Normandy. In 1215, the English barons rebelled against the unpopular King John in the First Barons War, the barons offered the throne to Prince Louis, who landed unopposed on the Isle of Thanet in eastern Kent, England, at the head of an army on 21 May 1216. There was little resistance when the prince entered London, and Louis was proclaimed king at Old St Pauls Cathedral with great pomp and celebration in the presence of all of London. Even though he was not crowned, many nobles, as well as King Alexander II of Scotland on behalf of his English possessions, on 14 June 1216, Louis captured Winchester and soon controlled over half of the English kingdom. But just when it seemed that England was his, King Johns death in October 1216 caused many of the barons to desert Louis in favour of Johns nine-year-old son
Beatrice of Provence
Beatrice of Provence, was Countess of Provence and Forcalquier since 1245, Countess consort of Anjou and Maine since 1247, and Queen consort of Sicily and Naples since 1266 until her death. She was the fourth and youngest daughter of Ramon Berenguer IV, Count of Provence and Forcalquier by his wife Beatrice, in turn daughter of Count Thomas I of Savoy, like her sisters and grandmother was known for her beauty. A description of Beatrice said she set mens hearts thumping and the fingers of troubadours to fevered twanging of lyres. King Louis IXs marriage to Margaret had been arranged by his mother, Blanche of Castile, with the hopes that he would inherit Provence and Forcalquier when her father died. However, in his will signed on 20 June 1238 at Sisteron, Ramon Berenguer IV unexpectedly left the Counties of Provence and Forcalquier to his youngest and still unmarried daughter, Beatrice. Now, Beatrice became one of the most attractive heiresses in medieval Europe, in addition, Frederick II, Holy Roman Emperor, dispatched the imperial navy to Provence to ensure Beatrice could marry one of his sons.
In Cluny during December 1245, a meeting between Pope Innocent IV, Louis IX of France, his mother Blanche of Castile. It was decided that in return for Louis IX supporting the Pope militarily against Frederick II, mother and daughter were satisfied with this selection, but under the terms of the treaty, Provence was to never go to France outright through Charles. Henry III of England protested these terms, arguing that he had not yet received the dowry for his wife Eleanor nor his brother for Sanchia. He still had the castles in Provence against the loan he had made to the late Count, along with Philip of Savoy and five hundred knights, rode from Lyon to Provence. On their way, they ran into Raymond VII of Toulouse, Raymond VII had been deceived by knights in favour of Charles and for that reason he had brought fewer men, and Charles and his army were quicker. There was a struggle, but the King of Aragon retreated with dignity. To the young Beatrice, Charles was a resolution to her problems.
Their marriage took place on 31 January 1246 at Aix-en-Provence and they had soldiers on guard and the bride was escorted down the aisle by her uncle, Count of Flanders. In consequence, the relationship of Charles and Beatrice with the three sisters, who felt cheated by their fathers will, remained always tense, as soon as Charles became Count of Provence, he brought in his own team of French lawyers and accountants. The Dowager Countess moved herself to Forcalquier in protest, and in Marseille, in the family conflict Beatrice sided with her husband. In May 1247, Charles and Beatrice were recorded as being in Melun, Beatrice accompanied Charles on the seventh crusade in 1248. Led by Louis IX, the made a extended procession through France
Alfonso Jordan was the Count of Tripoli, Count of Rouergue and Count of Toulouse, Margrave of Provence and Duke of Narbonne. He was the son of Raymond IV of Toulouse by his third wife and he was born in the castle of Mont Pèlerin in Tripoli while his father was on the First Crusade. He was given the name Jourdain after being baptised in the Jordan River, alfonsos father died when he was two years old and he remained under the guardianship of his cousin, William Jordan, Count of Cerdagne, until he was five. He was taken to Europe, where his half-brother Bertrand had given him the county of Rouergue, upon Bertrands death in 1112, Alfonso succeeded to the county of Toulouse and marquisate of Provence. In 1114, Duke William IX of Aquitaine, who claimed Toulouse by right of his wife Philippa, daughter of Count William IV, invaded the county, Alfonso recovered a part in 1119, but he was not in full control until 1123. When at last successful, he was excommunicated by Pope Callixtus II for having expelled the monks of Saint-Gilles, Alfonso next had to fight for his rights in Provence against Count Raymond Berengar III of Barcelona.
Not until September 1125 did their war end in peace and concord, at this stage, Alfonso was master of the regions lying between the Pyrenees and the Alps, the Auvergne and the sea. His ascendancy was, according to one commentator, a good to the country, for during a period of fourteen years art. In March 1126, Alfonso was at the court of Alfonso VII of León when he acceded to the throne, according to the Chronica Adefonsi imperatoris and Suero Vermúdez took the city of León from opposition magnates and handed it over to Alfonso VII. Among those who may have accompanied Alfonso on one of his extended stays in Spain was the troubadour Marcabru. About 1134 Alfonso seized the viscounty of Narbonne and ruled it during the minority of the Viscountess Ermengarde, in 1141 King Louis VII pressed the claim of Philippa on behalf of his wife, Eleanor of Aquitaine, even besieging Toulouse, but without result. In 1144, Alfonso again incurred the displeasure of the church by siding with the citizens of Montpellier against their lord, in 1145, Bernard of Clairvaux addressed a letter to him full of concern about a heretic named Henry in the diocese of Toulouse.
Bernard even went there to preach against the heresy, an expression of Catharism. A second time he was excommunicated, but in 1146 he took the cross at a meeting in Vézelay called by Louis VII, in August 1147, he embarked for the near east on the Second Crusade. He lingered on the way in Italy and probably in Constantinople, Alfonso finally arrived at Acre in 1148. Among his companions he had enemies and he was destined to take no share in the crusade he had joined. He died at Caesarea, and there were accusations of poisoning, usually levelled against either by Eleanor of Aquitaine, the wife of Louis, or Melisende, the mother of King Baldwin III of Jerusalem. By his wife since 1125, Faydiva dUzès, he left two sons, who succeeded him, and Alfonso
Joan, Countess of Toulouse
Joan, was Countess of Toulouse from 1249 until her death. She was the child of Raymond VII, Count of Toulouse by his first wife Sancha. In 1225, aged five, Joan was betrothed to Hugh, eldest son and heir of Hugh X of Lusignan and Isabella, Countess of Angoulême, the engagement was soon broken. After the confirmation of his betrothal, Joan was thereafter brought up at the French royal court and she was thereby not a part of the Occitanian culture, felt no sympathy for the Albigensians and did nothing to prevent the hunt of them issued by the Inquisition. The date of the marriage is not confirmed, both 1234 and 1241 have been suggested, but the former are considered more likely. Joan accompanied her spouse on both the seventh crusade in 1249 and the crusade in 1270. In 1249, her father died, and she succeeded him as ruler of Toulouse with her spouse as co-ruler and her mother-in-law installed a governor for them until their return to France. The couple took control over their lands in October 1250, and made their entrance as Countess.
After this, they confirmed the governor in his authority and left again, Joan had attempted to dispose of some of her inherited lands in her will. In her will dated 23 June 1270, Joan declared Philippa as her universal heiress, her will was invalidated by the Parlement in 1274. One specific bequest in Alphonses will, giving his wifes lands in the Comtat Venaissin to the Holy See, was allowed, and it became a Papal territory, a status that it retained until 1791
A dynasty is a sequence of rulers from the same family, usually in the context of a feudal or monarchical system but sometimes appearing in elective republics. The dynastic family or lineage may be known as a house, historians periodize the histories of many sovereign states, such as Ancient Egypt, the Carolingian Empire and Imperial China, using a framework of successive dynasties. As such, the dynasty may be used to delimit the era during which the family reigned and to describe events, trends. The word dynasty itself is often dropped from such adjectival references, until the 19th century, it was taken for granted that a legitimate function of a monarch was to aggrandize his dynasty, that is, to increase the territory and power of his family members. The longest-surviving dynasty in the world is the Imperial House of Japan, dynasties throughout the world have traditionally been reckoned patrilineally, such as under the Frankish Salic law. Succession through a daughter when permitted was considered to establish a new dynasty in her husbands ruling house, some states in Africa, determined descent matrilineally, while rulers have at other times adopted the name of their mothers dynasty when coming into her inheritance.
It is extended to unrelated people such as poets of the same school or various rosters of a single sports team. The word dynasty derives via Latin dynastia from Greek dynastéia, where it referred to power, dominion and it was the abstract noun of dynástēs, the agent noun of dynamis, power or ability, from dýnamai, to be able. A ruler in a dynasty is referred to as a dynast. For example, following his abdication, Edward VIII of the United Kingdom ceased to be a member of the House of Windsor. A dynastic marriage is one that complies with monarchical house law restrictions, the marriage of Willem-Alexander, Prince of Orange, to Máxima Zorreguieta in 2002 was dynastic, for example, and their eldest child is expected to inherit the Dutch crown eventually. But the marriage of his younger brother Prince Friso to Mabel Wisse Smit in 2003 lacked government support, thus Friso forfeited his place in the order of succession, lost his title as a Prince of the Netherlands, and left his children without dynastic rights.
In historical and monarchist references to formerly reigning families, a dynast is a member who would have had succession rights, were the monarchys rules still in force. Even since abolition of the Austrian monarchy and his descendants have not been considered the rightful pretenders by Austrian monarchists, nor have they claimed that position. The term dynast is sometimes used only to refer to descendants of a realms monarchs. The term can therefore describe overlapping but distinct sets of people, yet he is not a male-line member of the royal family, and is therefore not a dynast of the House of Windsor. Thus, in 1999 he requested and obtained permission from Elizabeth II to marry the Roman Catholic Princess Caroline of Monaco. Yet a clause of the English Act of Settlement 1701 remained in effect at that time and that exclusion, ceased to apply on 26 March 2015, with retroactive effect for those who had been dynasts prior to triggering it by marriage to a Catholic
Louis VI of France
Louis VI, called the Fat, was King of the Franks from 1108 until his death. Chronicles called him roi de Saint-Denis, Louis VI managed to reinforce his power considerably and became one of the first strong kings of France since the division of the Carolingian Empire in 843. Louis was a king but by his forties his weight had become so great that it was increasingly difficult for him to lead in the field. Louis was born on 1 December 1081 in Paris, the son of Philip I and his first wife, and. How valiant he was in youth, and with what energy he repelled the king of the English, William Rufus, when he attacked Louis inherited kingdom. Louis married Lucienne de Rochefort, a French crown princess, in 1104, on 3 August 1115 Louis married Adelaide of Maurienne, daughter of Humbert II of Savoy and Gisela of Burgundy, and niece of Pope Callixtus II. Adelaide was one of the most politically active of all Frances medieval queens and her name appears on 45 royal charters from the reign of Louis VI. During her tenure as queen, royal charters were dated with both her regnal year and that of the king, suger became Louiss adviser before he became king and he succeeded his father at the age of 26 on 29 July 1108.
Louiss half-brother prevented him from reaching Rheims, and so Daimbert, Archbishop of Sens, ralph the Green, Archbishop of Rheims, sent envoys to challenge the validity of the coronation and anointing, but to no avail. When Louis ascended the throne the Kingdom of France was a collection of feudal principalities, beyond the Isle de France the French Kings had little authority over the great Dukes and Counts of the realm but slowly Louis began to change this and assert Capetian rights. This process would take two centuries to complete but began in the reign of Louis VI, the second great challenge facing Louis was to counter the rising power of the Anglo-Normans under their capable new King, Henry I of England. From early in his reign Louis faced the problem of the barons who resisted the Kings authority and engaged in brigandry. In 1108, soon after he ascended the throne, Louis engaged in war with Hugh of Crecy, who was plaguing the countryside and had captured Eudes, Count of Corbeil, Louis besieged that fortress to free Eudes.
In early 1109, Louis besieged his half-brother, the son of Bertrade de Montfort, philips plots included the lords of Montfort-lAmaury. Amaury III of Montfort held many castles which, when linked together, in 1108-1109 a seigneur named Aymon Vaire-Vache seized the lordship of Bourbon from his nephew, Archambaud, a minor. Louis demanded the boy be restored to his rights but Aymon refused the summons, Louis raised his army and besieged Aymon at his castle at Germigny-sur-lAubois, forcing its surrender and enforcing the rights of Archambaud. In 1122, Bishop of Clermont, appealed to Louis after William VI, Count of Auvergne, had driven him from his episcopal town. When William refused Louis summons, Louis raised an army at Bourges, and marched into Auvergne, supported by some of his vassals, such as the Counts of Anjou, Brittany. Louis seized the fortress of Pont-du-Chateau on the Allier, attacked Clermont, four years William rebelled again and Louis, though his increasing weight made campaigning difficult, marched again
Louis IX of France
Louis IX, commonly known as Saint Louis, was King of France from 1226 until his death. Louis was crowned in Reims at the age of 12, following the death of his father Louis VIII the Lion, although his mother, Blanche of Castile, ruled the kingdom until he reached maturity. During Louiss childhood, Blanche dealt with the opposition of rebellious vassals, as an adult, Louis IX faced recurring conflicts with some of the most powerful nobles, such as Hugh X of Lusignan and Peter of Dreux. Simultaneously, Henry III of England tried to restore his continental possessions and his reign saw the annexation of several provinces, notably Normandy and Provence. Louis IX was a reformer and developed French royal justice, in which the king is the judge to whom anyone is able to appeal to seek the amendment of a judgment. He banned trials by ordeal, tried to prevent the private wars that were plaguing the country, to enforce the correct application of this new legal system, Louis IX created provosts and bailiffs.
According to his vow made after an illness, and confirmed after a miraculous cure. He was succeeded by his son Philip III, Louiss actions were inspired by Christian values and Catholic devotion. He decided to punish blasphemy, interest-bearing loans and prostitution and he expanded the scope of the Inquisition and ordered the burning of Talmuds. He is the only canonized king of France, and there are many places named after him. Much of what is known of Louiss life comes from Jean de Joinvilles famous Life of Saint Louis, two other important biographies were written by the kings confessor, Geoffrey of Beaulieu, and his chaplain, William of Chartres. The fourth important source of information is William of Saint-Parthus biography, while several individuals wrote biographies in the decades following the kings death, only Jean of Joinville, Geoffrey of Beaulieu, and William of Chartres wrote from personal knowledge of the king. Louis was born on 25 April 1214 at Poissy, near Paris, the son of Prince Louis the Lion and Princess Blanche, and baptised in La Collégiale Notre-Dame church.
His grandfather on his fathers side was Philip II, king of France, while his grandfather on his mothers side was Alfonso VIII, tutors of Blanches choosing taught him most of what a king must know—Latin, public speaking, military arts, and government. He was 9 years old when his grandfather Philip II died, a member of the House of Capet, Louis was twelve years old when his father died on 8 November 1226. He was crowned king within the month at Reims cathedral, because of Louiss youth, his mother ruled France as regent during his minority. Louis mother trained him to be a leader and a good Christian. She used to say, I love you, my son, as much as a mother can love her child
Geoffrey Plantagenet, Count of Anjou
Geoffrey V — called the Handsome or the Fair and Plantagenet — was the Count of Anjou and Maine by inheritance from 1129 and Duke of Normandy by conquest from 1144. His ancestral domain of Anjou gave rise to the name Angevin, Geoffrey was the elder son of Foulques V dAnjou and Eremburga de La Flèche, daughter of Elias I of Maine. He was named after his great-grandfather Geoffrey II, Count of Gâtinais, Geoffrey received his nickname from the yellow sprig of broom blossom he wore in his hat. King Henry I of England, having heard good reports on Geoffreys talents and prowess, consent was obtained from both parties, and on 10 June 1128 the fifteen-year-old Geoffrey was knighted in Rouen by King Henry in preparation for the wedding. Geoffrey and Matildas marriage took place in 1128, the marriage was meant to seal a peace between England/Normandy and Anjou. She was eleven years older than Geoffrey, and very proud of her status as empress dowager and their marriage was a stormy one with frequent long separations, but she bore him three sons and survived him.
The year after the marriage Geoffreys father left for Jerusalem, leaving Geoffrey behind as count of Anjou, John of Marmoutier describes Geoffrey as handsome, red-headed, and a great warrior, Ralph of Diceto alleges that his charm camouflaged a cold and selfish character. When King Henry I died in 1135, Matilda at once entered Normandy to claim her inheritance, the border districts submitted to her, but England chose her cousin Stephen of Blois for its king, and Normandy soon followed suit. The following year, Geoffrey gave Ambrieres and Chatilon-sur-Colmont to Juhel de Mayenne, in 1139 Matilda landed in England with 140 knights, where she was besieged at Arundel Castle by King Stephen. In the Anarchy which ensued, Stephen was captured at Lincoln in February 1141, a legatine council of the English church held at Winchester in April 1141 declared Stephen deposed and proclaimed Matilda Lady of the English. Stephen was subsequently released from prison and had himself recrowned on the anniversary of his first coronation, during 1142 and 1143, Geoffrey secured all of Normandy west and south of the Seine, and, on 14 January 1144, he crossed the Seine and entered Rouen.
He assumed the title of Duke of Normandy in the summer of 1144, in 1144, he founded an Augustine priory at Château-lHermitage in Anjou. Geoffrey held the duchy until 1149, when he and Matilda conjointly ceded it to their son, Geoffrey put down three baronial rebellions in Anjou, in 1129,1135, and 1145–1151. He was often at odds with his brother, Elias. The threat of rebellion slowed his progress in Normandy, and is one reason he could not intervene in England, in 1153, the Treaty of Wallingford stipulated that Stephen should remain King of England for life and that Henry, the son of Geoffrey and Matilda should succeed him. Geoffrey died suddenly on 7 September 1151, according to John of Marmoutier, Geoffrey was returning from a royal council when he was stricken with fever. He arrived at Château-du-Loir, collapsed on a couch, made bequests of gifts and charities and he was buried at St. Juliens Cathedral in Le Mans France. Adelaide of Angers is sometimes sourced as being the mother of Hamelin, a gold lion may already have been Henrys own badge, and different lion motifs would be used by many of his descendants
Toulouse is the capital city of the southwestern French department of Haute-Garonne, as well as of the Occitanie region. The city lies on the banks of the River Garonne,150 kilometres from the Mediterranean Sea,230 km from the Atlantic Ocean and it is the fourth-largest city in France with 466,297 inhabitants in January 2014. The Toulouse Metro area is, with 1312304 inhabitants as of 2014, Frances 4th metropolitan area after Paris and Marseille and ahead of Lille and Bordeaux. Toulouse is the centre of the European aerospace industry, with the headquarters of Airbus, the Galileo positioning system, the SPOT satellite system, the Airbus Group, ATR and the Aerospace Valley. The city hosts the European headquarters of Intel and CNESs Toulouse Space Centre, thales Alenia Space, and Astrium Satellites, Airbus Groups satellite system subsidiary, have a significant presence in Toulouse. The University of Toulouse is one of the oldest in Europe and, with more than 103,000 students, is the fourth-largest university campus in France, after the Universities of Paris and Lille.
The air route between Toulouse Blagnac and Paris Orly is the busiest in Europe, transporting 2.4 million passengers in 2014, according to the rankings of LExpress and Challenges, Toulouse is the most dynamic French city. It is now the capital of the Occitanie region, the largest region in metropolitan France, the largest remaining Romanesque building in Europe, designated in 1998 because of its significance to the Santiago de Compostela pilgrimage route. Toulouse is in the south of France, north of the department of Haute-Garonne, the city is traversed by the Canal de Brienne, the Canal du Midi and the rivers Garonne and Hers-Mort. Toulouse has a subtropical climate which can be qualified as submediterranean due to its proximity to the Mediterranean climate zone. The Garonne Valley was a point for trade between the Pyrenees, the Mediterranean and the Atlantic since at least the Iron Age. The historical name of the city, Tolosa, it is of unknown meaning or origin, possibly from Aquitanian, or from Iberian, Tolosa enters the historical period in the 2nd century BC, when it became a Roman military outpost.
After the conquest of Gaul, it was developed as a Roman city of Gallia Narbonensis. In the 5th century, Tolosa fell to the Visigothic kingdom and became one of its cities, in the early 6th century even serving as its capital. From this time, Toulouse was the capital of Aquitaine within the Frankish realm, in 721, Duke Odo of Aquitaine defeated an invading Umayyad Muslim army at the Battle of Toulouse. Odos victory was an obstacle to Muslim expansion into Christian Europe. Charles Martel, a later, won the Battle of Tours. The Frankish conquest of Septimania followed in the 750s, and a quasi-independent County of Toulouse emerged within the Carolingian sub-kingdom of Aquitaine by the late 8th century
Henry II of England
Henry was the son of Geoffrey of Anjou and Matilda, daughter of Henry I of England. He became actively involved by the age of 14 in his mothers efforts to claim the throne of England, occupied by Stephen of Blois and he inherited Anjou in 1151 and shortly afterwards married Eleanor of Aquitaine, whose marriage to Louis VII of France had recently been annulled. Stephen agreed to a treaty after Henrys military expedition to England in 1153. Henry was an energetic and sometimes ruthless ruler, driven by a desire to restore the lands and privileges of his royal grandfather, Henrys desire to reform the relationship with the Church led to conflict with his former friend Thomas Becket, the Archbishop of Canterbury. This controversy lasted for much of the 1160s and resulted in Beckets murder in 1170, Henry soon came into conflict with Louis VII and the two rulers fought what has been termed a cold war over several decades. By 1172, he controlled England, large parts of Wales, the half of Ireland and the western half of France.
Henry and Eleanor had eight children, as they grew up, tensions over the future inheritance of the empire began to emerge, encouraged by Louis and his son King Philip II. In 1173 Henrys heir apparent, Young Henry, rebelled in protest, he was joined by his brothers Richard and Geoffrey and by their mother, Scotland and Boulogne allied themselves with the rebels. The Great Revolt was only defeated by Henrys vigorous military action and talented local commanders, many of them new men appointed for their loyalty, Young Henry and Geoffrey revolted again in 1183, resulting in Young Henrys death. The Norman invasion of Ireland provided lands for his youngest son John, Philip successfully played on Richards fears that Henry would make John king, and a final rebellion broke out in 1189. Decisively defeated by Philip and Richard and suffering from an ulcer, Henry retreated to Chinon in Anjou. Henrys empire quickly collapsed during the reign of his youngest son John, many of the changes Henry introduced during his long rule, had long-term consequences.
Historical interpretations of Henrys reign have changed considerably over time, in the 18th century, scholars argued that Henry was a driving force in the creation of a genuinely English monarchy and, ultimately, a unified Britain. Late-20th-century historians have combined British and French historical accounts of Henry, Henry was born in France at Le Mans on 5 March 1133 as the eldest child of the Empress Matilda and her second husband, Geoffrey the Fair, Count of Anjou. In theory, the county answered to the French king, but royal power over Anjou weakened during the 11th century, Henrys mother, firstly married to the Holy Roman Emperor Henry V, was the eldest daughter of Henry I, King of England and Duke of Normandy. She was born into a ruling class of Normans, who traditionally owned extensive estates in both England and Normandy. Geoffrey took advantage of the confusion to attack the Duchy of Normandy but played no role in the English conflict, leaving this to Matilda and her half-brother.
The war, termed the Anarchy by Victorian historians, dragged on, Henry probably spent some of his earliest years in his mothers household, and accompanied Matilda to Normandy in the late 1130s