Heritage > Rulers

Henry VI, 1422-1461, 1470-1471

Henry was born in 1421. He married Margaret of Anjou, and had one child, Edward.

When Henry was 10 months old he succeeded as the legal King of France and England. He was crowned at Westminster Abbey in 1429 and in Notre Dame in 1431. At the very same time The Dauphin (Henry's uncle) had been proclaimed the rightful king of France. Joan of Arc's efforts led to the recognition of The Dauphin and he claimed the title King Charles VII of France. Henry's defacto reign over France was ended and he concentrated the rest of his efforts on England.

Henry had to deal with terrible psychological domination by his immediate heirs and noblemen. This power struggle led to the War of the Roses, a ferocious battle of the Lancastrians against the Yorkists. He also had the strong mind of his wife, Margaret of Anjou, dictating to him.

Henry had married Margaret as a diplomatic deal and six years later when she was pregnant, with her first and only son, the King had a terrible paralysing stroke. He was mentally incapable for a time, but eventually recovered. When fighting at the First Battle of St. Albans, he was injured by an arrow shot into his neck and lapsed back into full senility again.

The Queen took over leadership of the King's men, and won three battles. However, Edward, Duke of York, who now was calling himself, King Edward IV, forced the Queen to retreat to Scotland, with King Henry and the Prince of Wales. In 1465 Edward captured the King and imprisoned him in the Tower of London for five years.

Warwick the Kingmaker, the Queen and King Louis XI of France conspired to release the King and restore him to the throne. This plan succeeded, but was met with an invasion of England by Edward IV. At the Battle of Barnet Edward killed Warwick and recaptured Henry. A month later Henry's son and heir was killed in battle at the age of 17 and within a month, Henry himself was murdered in the Tower of London.

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