Henry II (b. 1133) was one of the most powerful rulers in western Europe at the time and was married to Eleanor of Aquitaine. After King Stephen had recognised him as his heir, he eventually became king of England in 1154. He succeeded peacefully to the throne, where he quickly restored the powers of the monarchy and reclaimed royal rights as they had been before Stephen's reign. He is also famous for his friendship with Thomas Becket.
The marriage to Eleanor of Aquitaine, who had previously been married (and divorced) to Louis VII of France, brought him her rich duchy and he even extended his power to Wales, Scotland and Ireland. Henry and especially Eleanor had a great interest in literature and culture, and Eleanor even founded her own literary court where she surrounded herself with troubadours and artists.
Henry decided that his dominions should be partitioned among his three oldest sons, but when they noticed that Henry still retained all power to himself, his sons became rebellious. One of them, Richard, formed an alliance with the French King, which brought Henry to his knees and he died at Chinon.
|History, Middle English Period, Kings + Rulers|