Sunday, 8 January 2017

English King, Henry V

Henry V (9 August 1386 – 31 August 1422) was King of England from 1413 until his death at the age of 36 in 1422.
Late 15th century depiction of Henry's marriage to Catherine of Valois
 He was the second English monarch who came from the House of Lancaster.

After military experience fighting the Welsh during the revolt of Owain Glyndŵr, and against the powerful aristocratic Percys of Northumberland at the Battle of Shrewsbury, Henry came into political conflict with his father, whose health was increasingly precarious from 1405 onward.

After his father's death in 1413, Henry assumed control of the country and embarked on war with France in the ongoing Hundred Years' War (1337–1453) between the two nations.

His military successes culminated in his famous victory at the Battle of Agincourt (1415) and saw him come close to conquering France. After months of negotiation with Charles VI of France, the Treaty of Troyes (1420) recognised Henry V as regent and heir apparent to the French throne, and he was subsequently married to Charles's daughter, Catherine of Valois (1401–37). Following Henry V's sudden and unexpected death in France two years later, he was succeeded by his infant son, who reigned as Henry VI (1422–61, 1470–71).
A gold noble coin of Henry V
The Welsh revolt of Owain Glyndŵr absorbed Henry's energies until 1408. Then, as a result of the king's ill health, Henry began to take a wider share in politics. From January 1410, helped by his uncles Henry Beaufort and Thomas Beaufort – legitimised sons of John of Gaunt – he had practical control of the government. Both in foreign and domestic policy he differed from the king, who in November 1411 discharged the prince from the council. The quarrel of father and son was political only, though it is probable that the Beauforts had discussed the abdication of Henry IV, and their opponents certainly endeavoured to defame the prince.
Henry, while Prince of Wales, presenting Thomas Hoccleve's, Regement of Princes to the Duke of Norfolk, British Library, 1411–13
After Henry IV died on 20 March 1413, Henry V succeeded him and was crowned on 9 April 1413 at Westminster Abbey, London, Kingdom of England. The ceremony was marked by a terrible snowstorm, but the common people were undecided as to whether it was a good or bad omen. Henry was described as having been "very tall (6ft 3 in), slim, with dark hair cropped in a ring above the ears, and clean-shaven". His complexion was ruddy, the face lean with a prominent and pointed nose. Depending on his mood, his eyes "flashed from the mildness of a dove's to the brilliance of a lion's".

Starting in August 1417, Henry V promoted the use of the English language in government,  and his reign marks the appearance of Chancery Standard English as well as the adoption of English as the language of record within Government. He was the first king to use English in his personal correspondence since the Norman conquest, which had occurred 350 years earlier. While he was in England, Henry's brother Thomas of Lancaster, 1st Duke of Clarence, led the English forces in France.
Silver groat of Henry V, York Museums Trust
In March 1421, Thomas led the English to a disastrous defeat at the Battle of Baugé against a Franco-Scottish army. The Duke himself was killed in the battle. On 10 June 1421, Henry sailed back to France to retrieve the situation. It would be his last military campaign. From July to August, Henry's forces besieged and captured Dreux, thus relieving allied forces at Chartres. That October, his forces lay siege to Meaux, capturing it on 2 May 1422. Henry V died suddenly on 31 August 1422 at the Château de Vincennes, apparently from dysentery, which he had contracted during the siege of Meaux. He was 36 years old and had reigned for nine years.

Shortly before his death, Henry V named his brother John of Lancaster, 1st Duke of Bedford, regent of France in the name of his son Henry VI of England, then only a few months old. Henry V did not live to be crowned King of France himself, as he might confidently have expected after the Treaty of Troyes, because the sickly Charles VI, to whom he had been named heir, survived him by two months. Henry's comrade-in-arms and Lord Steward John Sutton, 1st Baron Dudley, brought his body back to England and bore the royal standard at his funeral. Henry V was buried in Westminster Abbey on 7 November 1422.

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