Henry VI of England

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Henry VI (6 December 1421 – 21 May 1471) was King of England from 1422 to 1461 and again from 1470 to 1471, and disputed King of France from 1422 to 1453. Until 1437, his realm was governed by regents. Contemporaneous accounts described him as peaceful and pious, not suited for the harsh struggles to come. His periods of insanity and his inherent benevolence eventually required his quarrelsome Queen consort, Margaret of Anjou to assume control of his kingdom, which contributed to his own downfall, the collapse of the House of Lancaster, and the rise of the House of York.[1]

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Child King

Henry was the only child and heir of King Henry V of England. He was born on 6 December 1421 at Windsor, and succeeded to the throne at the age of nine months as King of England on 31 August 1422, when his father died, and King of France on 21 October 1422 upon his grandfather Charles VI's death in agreement with the Treaty of Troyes in 1420. His mother, Catherine of Valois, was then 20 years old and, as Charles VI's daughter, was viewed with considerable suspicion by English nobles and prevented from having a full role in her son's upbringing.

On 28 September 1423, the nobles swore loyalty to Henry VI. They summoned Parliament in the King's name and established a regency council until the King should come of age. One of Henry V's surviving brothers, John of Lancaster/Plantagenet, Duke of Bedford, was appointed senior regent of the realm and was in charge of the ongoing war in France, where the Battle of Cravant had recently occurred in the current phase of the Hundred Years War. During Bedford's absence, the government of England was headed by Henry V's other surviving brother, Humphrey, Duke of Gloucester, who was appointed Protector and Defender of the Realm. His duties were limited to keeping the peace and summoning Parliament. Bishop Henry Beaufort (Cardinal after 1426), Henry V's half-uncle, had an important place on the Council. After the Duke of Bedford died in 1435, the Duke of Gloucester claimed the Regency himself, but was contested in this by the other members of the council.

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