Henry V

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Henry V,

1413-1422

Born:

August 16 or September 16, 1387, son of Henry Bolingbroke (later Henry IV) and Mary de Bohun, at Monmouth Castle, Monmouthshire, south east Wales

Crowned:

9 April 1413, at Westminster Abbey, London

Died:

31 August 1422 at Vincennes Castle, France

Buried:

Westminster Abbey

Married:

2 June 1420, Catherine of Valois, at Troyes, France

Succeeded by:

Henry VI (son)

enry was thrust into the position of Prince of Wales when his father took the throne from Richard II in 1399. He gained experience in combat while in his teens, fighting in positions of increasing responsibility against Owen Glendower, the leader of Wales’s unsuccessful bid for independence. Henry gained experience in government in his early twenties, serving on his father’s council during the last years of his reign.

Crowned at 25, Henry V was the second king of the noble house of Lancaster. From a raucous young man, Henry matured (seemingly overnight) into a serious and responsible monarch.

Within months of his coronation, he renewed the Hundred Years War. The revival of the English claim to the French throne, and the prospect of glorious battle, united the nobility and strengthened the crown’s power and influence in a way that Henry IV had been unable to achieve.

Henry was a great warrior and charismatic leader. In 1415, leading some 6000 men, Henry defeated a French force three times that size at Agincourt. In his next campaign, Henry conquered Normandy and marched to the outskirts of Paris. The French, under their deranged king Charles VI, sued for peace. By the Treaty of Troyes, Charles VI agreed to name Henry as his heir, thereby disinheriting his own son the dauphin Charles. The agreement was sealed by the marriage of Henry and Charles’ youngest daughter Catherine of Valois.

Henry and Catherine returned to England for her coronation. She remained in England for the birth of their son. Henry returned to France, where opposition by French forces loyal to the disinherited dauphin was growing. Catherine joined him there but was not with him when he died, on campaign, of dysentery. Henry had never seen his son who, as an 9-month-old infant, was now king of England.

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