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Henry II of England
also called Henry Curtmantle or FitzEmpress (reigned 1154-1189)
  • King Henry II -  Nash Ford PublishingHenry was the eldest son of the Empress Matilda and her second husband, Geoffrey of Anjou.
  • As a young man, he helped his mother in the war against her cousin, Stephen. She thought she should be ruling England instead of him.
  • Later, Henry fought Stephen on his own and eventually Stephen agreed to leave him the Throne when he died. 
  • Henry became one of the greatest Kings of England. He married the richest woman in Europe. Her name was Eleanor of Aquitaine (in France). Together they ruled a vast Empire stretching from the Scottish Border to the Spanish border. He even had a foothold in Ireland.
  • Henry improved the way his Royal servants ran the country and collected taxes. He also made sure his Barons didn't become too powerful and that the law courts were powerful instead.
  • He was also worried about the power of the Church. This led to arguments with his old friend, Thomas Becket, the Archbishop of Canterbury. Henry's followers thought he wanted the Archbishop dead and so they murdered him in his cathedral..
  • By the time he died, Henry faced several rebellions (wars against the proper king) from his own sons.
  • The next king was his eldest son, Richard the Lionheart.


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