Heritage > Rulers

Henry III

Henry was born in 1207, and married Eleanor of Provence in 1236, who was one of four sisters all to become queens of England, France, Rome and Sicily.

Henry had four children who survived him: Edward, Margaret, Beatrice and Edmund, and another five who all died young.

Henry was not really made for the role of a monarch, and would have excelled at the role of a country squire, passionately interested in his estate. His role of King began at such an early age, that it is not surprising he was not a great success.

He had a great love of the arts, and it was, only in this area that he benefitted England. He had huge debts, but gave England a wealth of artists and craftsmen, whom he made very fashionable.

He handed over much of the Angevin Empire to the French, which reduced the rule of the King, but helped to create England, the country. At the time the English were obviously not interested in this fact, and spent a great deal of time trying to gain an Imperial Empire, and a Franco-British Empire. If this had succeeded, then many of the horrendous and life wasting battles over the next centuries may never have occurred.

Henry could not accept that the empire was finished and spent many years trying to regain its previous glory. He called for heavy taxes at home, where for the majority of the time, he was an absent king. He did nothing at all for his waning popularity, by getting these horrendous taxes administrated by Italians from Rome and by Provencals from his wife's family.

This led the English nobility to revolt, although this was ironically led by a foriegner, Simon de Montfort, Earl of Leicester, who was married to the King's sister. It was Simon who masterminded 'The Mad Parliament', where armed nobility made the king govern a representative Council of State, balancing the royal needs and the national interests.

Henry called the knights of the shire to Windsor, and thus ensued two years of civil war, where Montfort eventually captured Henry and his heir, Edward. Montfort call the first ever type of Parliament in 1265, where all nobility and people of prominence met.

Edward escaped from prison and fought and killed Simon de Montfort at the Battle of Evesham.

Henry became a rather different King after the Civil War, and even saw the end of his reign in unaccustomed stability.

He died of natural causes in 1272, aged 65 years, having reigned for 57 years.

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