Moonday’s Heroic Hunk in History: King Henry III

Young Henry


This week’s Heroic Hunk, like his father King John was not so heroic, but completes the line and introduces our upcoming hunks who were true heroes of their times. When Henry III was crowned at Westminster in 1209 at the age of nine, London and much of the coastal areas lay in French hands. King Louis of France, who had been invited to take the English crown from the evil King John, was sent packing by the English nobles who had decided a young English king with English advisors was better than a Frenchman. 

Illuminated Manuscript


Henry inherited a kingdom that had been damaged by his father’s cruel and lack-luster rule. The nobles demanded adherence to the Magna Carta, the Church clamored for its own power and almost all of the Angevin French possessions had been lost. Fortunately, the elderly William Marshall, the most revered knight of his time, was appointed Regent and ruled wisely in Henry’s stead until his death in 1219. 

In 1227 Henry assumed power and repudiated and imprisoned Hubert de Burgh, Marshall’s successor as Regent. De Burgh was found innocent of Henry’s accusations and released. When Henry came into power, his mother (the Isabel from last week who found her happily ever after with her first fiancé after John’s death) sent her second brood of children to England where they found his favor with titles and honors. After Henry married Eleanor of Provence, her Savoy relatives flocked to the English court and received the same preferential treatment. Needless to say, the English nobles were pissed. 

Failed Expedition to Aquitaine


Which brings us to Simon de Montfort. De Montfort was a Frenchman whose family possessed lands in England. He became Henry’s favorite but eventually fell out with Henry-but not before marrying his sister. In 1258 after Henry was headed down the Angevin path of wasting English resources on maintaining French possessions, De Montfort was chosen by a concerned group of nobles to oversee the rule of Britain. Henry and Prince Edward eventually rebelled and armed conflicts resulted in both being captured and imprisoned. In 1264, Montfort forced Henry, under the Provisions of Oxford, to establish and call the first Parliament which met in Westminster and became the beginning of the House of Commons. Prince Edward, however, escaped prison, gathered an army and defeated de Montfort’s forces. Edward returned his father to the throne but ruled in his stead until his father’s death in 1272. 

Henry, a stocky man prone to fat, was deemed weak by his contemporaries. He was heavily influenced by the Church and was especially dedicated to King Edward the Confessor. He forced the Jews who had supported the Angevins to wear the double tablet symbol. To the good, Henry was considered the greatest patron of medieval architecture. He rebuilt Westminster Abbey in the Gothic style and built York Castle among others. His greatest contribution to history was probably his son (Edward I) who was a past Heroic Hunk. Next week, the first of two heroic hunks who were honorable enemies. RitaVF

3 Responses

  1. I know children matured earlier out of necessity (mortality rate in that time), but I can’t help but wonder about Henry III ‘s lost childhood.

    Most of the monarchy was raised in such an insulated, isolated environment (probably because everyone who wanted to be someone would try to “off” you), it’s a wonder any of them ever got in touch with reality. (Might explain why so many campaigned; they were trying to escape what waited in the castle!)

    As usual this is a great post, Rita.

  2. Such intrigue- fascinating.

  3. I love Mondays…great reading.

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