Henry the Young King

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Henry, known as the Young King (28 February 1155 – 11 June 1183) was the second of five sons of King Henry II of England and Eleanor of Aquitaine but the first to survive infancy. He was officially King of England; Duke of Normandy[1], Count of Anjou and Maine.


Early life

Little is known of the young prince Henry before the events associated with his marriage and coronation. His mother's children by her first marriage to Louis VII of France were Marie of France, Countess of Champagne and Alix of France, Countess Blois. He had one older brother, William IX, Count of Poitiers (d. 1156), and his younger siblings included Matilda, Duchess of Saxony; Richard I of England; Geoffrey II, Duke of Brittany; Eleanor, Queen of Castile; Joan, Queen of Sicily; and John of England.

In June 1170, the fifteen-year-old Henry was crowned king during his father's lifetime, a practice originally practised by the French Capetian dynasty and adopted by the English kings Stephen and Henry II. A Latin poem by a court official written to commemorate the coronation hints at the charisma of this young prince. There he is described as a charming youth of striking beauty, tall but well proportioned, broad-shouldered with a long and elegant neck, pale and freckled skin, bright and wide blue eyes, with a thick mop of the reddish-gold hair characteristic of his dynasty.[citation needed]

He was known in his own lifetime as "Henry the Young King" to distinguish him from his father. Because he predeceased his father, he is not counted in the numerical succession of kings of England. Nonetheless, he was an anointed king and his royal status was not disputed.[citation needed]. There is a question about his knighting. According to one of Becket's correspondents, Henry was knighted by his father before the coronation, but the biographer of William Marshal asserts that the king was knighted by William in the course of the rebellion of 1173.[citation needed]

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