Louis VIII of France

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Louis VIII the Lion (5 September 1187 – 8 November 1226) reigned as King of France from 1223 to 1226. He was a member of the House of Capet. Louis VIII was born in Paris, France, the son of Philip II Augustus and Isabelle of Hainaut. He was also Count of Artois, inheriting the county from his mother, from 1190–1237, when he gave the title as an appanage to his young son, Robert.

Contents

Prince Louis

Marriage

On 23 May 1200, at the age of 12, Louis was married to Blanche of Castile, following prolonged negotiations between Philip Augustus and Blanche's uncle John of England (as represented in William Shakespeare's historical play King John).

Pretender to the English Throne

In 1216, the English barons rebelled in the First Barons' War against the unpopular King John of England (1199–1216). The barons offered the throne to Prince Louis, who landed unopposed on the Isle of Thanet in England at the head of an army on 21 May 1216. There was little resistance when the prince entered London and at St Paul's Cathedral, Louis was proclaimed King with great pomp and celebration in the presence of all of London. Even though he was not crowned, many nobles, as well as King Alexander II of Scotland (1214–49), gathered to give homage.

On 14 June 1216, Louis captured Winchester and soon controlled over half of the English kingdom.[1] But just when it seemed that England was his, King John's death in October 1216 caused many of the rebellious barons to desert Louis in favour of John's nine-year-old son, Henry III.

With William Marshall acting as regent, a call for the English "to defend our land" against the French led to a reversal of fortunes on the battlefield. After his army was beaten at Lincoln on 20 May 1217, and his naval forces (led by Eustace the Monk) were defeated off the coast of Sandwich on 24 August 1217, he was forced to make peace on English terms.

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