King Henry III Plantagenet of England
- Born: 1 Oct 1206, Winchester, Hampshire, England
- Marriage (1): Eleanore de Provence Bérenger on 14 Jan 1236 in Cathedral, Canterbury, Kent, England
- Marriage (2): Unknown
- Died: 16 Nov 1272, Westminster, London, Middlesex, England at age 66
- Buried: 20 Nov 1272, Westminster Abbey, Westminster, Middlesex, England
King of England from 1216 to 1272. In the 24 years(1234-58) during
which he had effective control of the government, he displayed such
indifference to tradition that the barons finally forced him to agree
to a series of major reforms, the Provisions of Oxford (1258).
The elder son and heir of King John (ruled 1199–1216), Henry was nine
years old when his father died. At that time London and much of
eastern England were in the hands of rebel barons led by Prince Louis
(later King Louis VIII of France), son of the French king Philip II
Augustus. A council of regency presided over by the venerable William
Marshal, 1st earl of Pembroke, was formed to rule for Henry; by 1217
the rebels had been defeated and Louis forced to withdraw from
England. After Pembroke's death in 1219 Hubert de Burgh ran the
government until he was dismissed by Henry in 1232. Two ambitious
Frenchmen, Peter des Roches and Peter des Rivaux, then dominated
Henry's regime until the barons brought about their expulsion in 1234.
That event marked the beginning of Henry's personal rule.
Although Henry was charitable and cultured, he lacked the ability to
rule effectively. In diplomatic and military affairs he proved to be
arrogant yet cowardly, ambitious yet impractical. The breach between
the King and his barons began as early as 1237, when the barons
expressed outrage at the influence exercised over the government by
Henry's Savoyard relatives. The marriage arranged (1238) by Henry
between his sister, Eleanor, and his brilliant young French favorite,
Simon de Montfort, earl of Leicester, increased foreign influence and
further aroused the nobility's hostility. In 1242 Henry's Lusignan
half brothers involved him in a costly and disastrous military venture
in France. The barons then began to demand a voice in selecting
Henry's counsellors, but the King repeatedly rejected their proposal.
Finally, in 1254 Henry made a serious blunder. He concluded an
agreement with Pope Innocent IV (pope 1243-54), offering to finance
papal wars in Sicily if the Pope would grant his infant son, Edmund,
the Sicilian crown. Four years later Pope Alexander IV (pope 1254-61)
threatened to excommunicate Henry for failing to meet this financial
obligation. Henry appealed to the barons for funds, but they agreed to
cooperate only if he would accept far-reaching reforms. These
measures, the Provisions of Oxford, provided for the creation of a
15-member privy council, selected (indirectly) by the barons, to
advise the King and oversee the entire administration. The barons,
however, soon quarrelled among themselves, and Henry seized the
opportunity to renounce the Provisions (1261). In April 1264 Montfort,
who had emerged as Henry's major baronial opponent, raised a
rebellion; the following month he defeated and captured the King and
his eldest son, Edward, at the Battle of Lewes (May 14, 1264), Sussex.
Montfort ruled England in Henry's name until he was defeated and
killed by Edward at the Battle of Evesham, Worcestershire, in August
1265. Henry, weak and senile, then allowed Edward to take charge of
the government. After the King's death, Edward ascended the throne as
King Edward I.
Henry married Eleanore de Provence Bérenger, daughter of Raymond V (IV) Bérenger Count Of Provence & Forcalquier and Beatrice de Savoie, on 14 Jan 1236 in Cathedral, Canterbury, Kent, England. (Eleanore de Provence Bérenger was born about 1217 in Aix-En-Provence, Bouches-Du-Rhone, France, died on 24 Jun 1291 in Amesbury, Wiltshire, England and was buried on 11 Sep 1291 in Amesbury, Wiltshire, England.)
Henry next married.