Henry V of England

Henry V of England

Infobox British Royalty|majesty
name = Henry V
title = King of England, Prince Regent of France,
Lord of Ireland

reign = 21 March 1413 – 31 August 1422
coronation = 1413
predecessor = Henry IV
successor = Henry VI
spouse = Catherine of Valois
issue = Henry VI
titles = The King
The Prince of Wales
The Duke of Cornwall
The Duke of Lancaster
Regent of France
royal house = House of Lancaster
father = Henry IV
mother = Mary de Bohun
date of birth = birth date|1387|9|16|df=yes
place of birth = Monmouth, Wales
date of death = death date and age|1422|8|31|1387|9|16|df=yes
place of death = Bois de Vincennes, France
place of burial = Westminster Abbey, London

Henry V (16 September 1386 – 31 August 1422) was one of the most significant English warrior kings of the 15th century. He was born at Monmouth, Wales, in the tower above the gatehouse of Monmouth Castle, and reigned as King of England from 1413 to 1422.

Henry was the son of Henry of Bolingbroke, later Henry IV, and sixteen-year-old Mary de Bohun, who was to die in childbirth at 26, before Bolingbroke became king.

At the time of his birth during the reign of Richard II, Henry was fairly far removed from the throne, preceded by the king and another collateral line of heirs. The precise date and even year of his birth are therefore not definitely recorded; sources offer as the most likely either 9 August or 16 September, in 1386 or 1387. [cite book
last = Allmand
first = Christopher
authorlink =
coauthors =
title = Oxford Dictionary of National Biography: Henry V
publisher = Oxford University Press
date = 2004
location =
pages =
url =
doi =
id =
isbn =
] By the time Henry died, he had not only consolidated power as the King of England but had also effectively accomplished what generations of his ancestors had failed to achieve through decades of war: unification of the crowns of England and France in a single person. In 2002, he was ranked 72nd in the 100 Greatest Britons poll. He invented the passport as a means of helping his subjects prove who they were in foreign lands. [cite web |url=http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/7634744.stm |title=Analysis: The first ID cards |accessdate=2008-09-27 |work= |publisher=BBC |date= ]

Early accomplishments

Upon the exile of Henry's father in 1398, when Henry was twelve, Richard II took the boy into his own charge and treated him kindly. The young Henry accompanied King Richard to Ireland, and while in the royal service there he visited the castle at Trim in Meath, the ancient meeting place of the Irish Parliament. In 1399, the Lancastrian usurpation brought Henry's father to the throne and Henry was recalled from Ireland into prominence as heir to the kingdom of England. He was created Prince of Wales on the day of his father's coronation. He was created Duke of Lancaster on 10 November 1399, the third person to hold the title that year. His other titles were Duke of Cornwall, Earl of Chester, and Duke of Aquitaine. A contemporary record notes that during that year Henry spent time at Queen's College, Oxford, under the care of his uncle Henry Beaufort, the Chancellor of the university. [cite book|last=Salter |first=H. E. |coauthors=Lobe, Mary D.|title=A History of the County of Oxford|date=1954|series=Victoria County History|volume=three|pages=pp 132-143|chapter=The University of Oxford|url=http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=63877]

From October 1400, the administration was conducted in his name.Fact|date=December 2007 Less than three years later, Henry was in actual command of part of the English forces — he led his own army into Wales against Owain Glyndŵr and returned to join forces with his father to fight Harry Hotspur at Shrewsbury in 1403. [cite book
last =Harriss
first =Gerald
authorlink =Gerald Harriss
coauthors =
title =Shaping the Nation: England 1360-1461
publisher =Oxford University Press
date= 2005
location =Oxford, England
pages =p532
url =
doi =
id =
isbn =0198228163
] It was there that the sixteen-year-old prince was almost killed by an arrow which became lodged in his face. An ordinary soldier would have been left to die from such a wound, but Henry had the benefit of the best possible care, and, over a period of several days after the incident, the royal physician crafted a special tool to extract the tip of the arrow without doing further damage. The operation was successful, though it left the prince with permanent scars which would serve as a testimony to his experience in battle. ["John Bradmore and His Book Philomena", "Social History of Medicine" 1992; 5: 121-130 ]

Energetic and dynamic, Henry is perhaps best remembered for his victory at Agincourt, a chapter in his life immortalised in Shakespeare's play. His marriage to Catherine of Valois, daughter of the King of France, was designed to bring peace to two nations that had been at war for more than 80 years; the couple's firstborn son was named as heir to the throne of France. However, Henry V died while his son, Henry VI, was an infant, and the power struggle over control of the French throne led to renewed hostilities in the Hundred Years' War.

Role in government and conflict with Henry IV

The Welsh revolt of Owain Glyndŵr absorbed Henry's energies until 1408. Then, as a result of the king's ill-health, Henry began to take a wider share in politics. From January 1410, helped by his uncles Henry and Thomas Beaufort — legitimated sons of John of Gaunt — he had practical control of the government.

Both in foreign and domestic policy he differed from the king, who in November 1411 discharged the prince from the council. The quarrel of father and son was political only, though it is probable that the Beauforts had discussed the abdication of Henry IV, and their opponents certainly endeavoured to defame the prince. It may be to that political enmity that the tradition of Henry's riotous youth, immortalised by Shakespeare, is partly due. Henry's record of involvement in war and politics, even in his youth, disproves this tradition. The most famous incident, his quarrel with the chief justice, has no contemporary authority and was first related by Sir Thomas Elyot in 1531.

The story of Falstaff originated partly in Henry's early friendship with Sir John Oldcastle. That friendship, and the prince's political opposition to Thomas Arundel, Archbishop of Canterbury, perhaps encouraged Lollard hopes. If so, their disappointment may account for the statements of ecclesiastical writers, like Thomas Walsingham, that Henry on becoming king was changed suddenly into a new man.

Accession to the throne

After Henry IV died on 20 March 1413, Henry V succeeded him the next day and was crowned on 9 April 1413.

Domestic policy

Henry tackled all of the domestic policies together, and gradually built on them a wider policy. From the first, he made it clear that he would rule England as the head of a united nation, and that past differences were to be forgotten. The late King Richard II of England was honourably reinterred; the young Mortimer was taken into favour; the heirs of those who had suffered in the last reign were restored gradually to their titles and estates. Henry used his personal influence in vain, and the gravest domestic danger was Lollard discontent. But the king's firmness nipped the movement in the bud (January 1414), and made his own position as ruler secure.

With the exception of the Southampton Plot in favour of Mortimer, involving Henry Scrope, 3rd Baron Scrope of Masham and Richard, Earl of Cambridge (grandfather of the future King Edward IV of England) in July 1415, the rest of his reign was free from serious trouble at home. Henry V promoted the use of the English language in government, and his reign marks the appearance of Chancery Standard English as well as the adoption of English as the language of record within Government. He was the first king to use English in his personal correspondence since the Norman conquest 350 years before. [Harriss, 46] [Mugglestone, Lydia. "The Oxford History of English", Oxford University Press, 2006, ISBN 0199249318, page 101]

Foreign affairs

Henry could now turn his attention to foreign affairs. A writer of the next generation was the first to allege that Henry was encouraged by ecclesiastical statesmen to enter into the French war as a means of diverting attention from home troubles. This story seems to have no foundation. Old commercial disputes and the support which the French had lent to Owain Glyndŵr were used as an excuse for war, whilst the disordered state of France afforded no security for peace. The French king, Charles VI, was prone to mental illness, and his eldest son was an unpromising prospect.

Following Agincourt, Holy Roman Emperor Sigismund made a visit to Henry in hopes of making peace between England and France. His goal was to persuade Henry to modify his demands against the French. Henry lavishly entertained the emperor and even had him enrolled in the Order of the Garter. Sigismund in turn inducted Henry into the Order of the Dragon. [cite journal
last = Rezachevici
first = Constantin
authorlink =
coauthors = Miller, Elizabeth (ed.)
title = From the Order of the Dragon to Dracula
journal = Journal of Dracula Studies
volume = 1
issue =
pages =
publisher =
location = Memorial University of Newfoundland, St John's, NL, Canada
date = 1999
url = http://www.blooferland.com/drc/index.php?title=Journal_of_Dracula_Studies
doi =
id =
accessdate =2008-04-18
] Henry had intended to crusade for the order after uniting the English and French thrones, but he died before fulfilling his plans. [cite book
last = Mowat
first = Robert Balmain
authorlink =
coauthors =
title = Henry V
publisher =John Constable
date = 1919
location =London
pages = p176
url =
doi =
id =
isbn =1406767131
] [cite book
last = Harvey
first = John Hooper
authorlink =
coauthors =
title = The Plantagents
publisher = Collins
date = 1967
location = London
pages =
url =
doi =
id =
isbn =
] [cite book
last = Seward
first = Desmond
authorlink =
coauthors =
title = The hundred years war: The English in France 1337-1453
publisher = Penguin Books
date = 1999
location = Harmondsworth, England
pages =
url =
doi =
id =
isbn =0140283617
] Sigismund left England several months later, having signed the Treaty of Canterbury, acknowledging English claims to France.

Campaigns in France

Henry may have regarded the assertion of his own claims as part of his royal duty, but in any case, a permanent settlement of the national debate was essential to the success of his world policy.

1415 campaign

On 11 August 1415 Henry sailed for France, where his forces besieged the fortress at Harfleur, capturing it on 22 September. Afterwards, Henry was obliged to march with his army across the French countryside towards Calais. On the 25 October 1415, on the plains near the village of Agincourt, he turned to give battle to a pursuing French army. Despite his men-at-arms being exhausted and outnumbered, Henry led his men into battle, decisively defeating the French. However this brilliant conclusion was only the first step in the campaign.

Diplomacy and command of the sea

Command of the sea was secured by driving the Genoese allies of the French out of the English Channel. While Henry was occupied with peace negotiations in 1416, a French and Genoese fleet surrounded the harbour at the English-garrisoned Harfleur. A French land force also besieged the town. To relieve Harfleur, Henry sent his brother, the Duke of Bedford, who raised a fleet and set sail from Beachy Head on 14 August. The Franco-Genoese fleet was defeated the following day after a gruelling seven hour battle, and Harfleur was relieved. Diplomacy successfully detached Emperor Sigismund from France, and the Treaty of Canterbury (1416) paved the way to end the schism in the Church.

1417 campaign

So, with those two potential enemies gone, and after two years of patient preparation following Agincourt, in 1417, Henry renewed the war on a larger scale in 1417. Lower Normandy was quickly conquered, and Rouen cut off from Paris and besieged. The French were paralysed by the disputes between Burgundians and Armagnacs. Henry skilfully played them off one against the other, without relaxing his warlike approach. In January 1419, Rouen fell. Those Norman French who had resisted were severely punished: Alan Blanchard, who had hung English prisoners from the walls, was summarily executed; Robert de Livet, Canon of Rouen, who had excommunicated the English king, was packed off to England and imprisoned for five years. [ [http://books.google.com/books?id=d2UNAAAAIAAJ&pg=RA1-PA256&lpg=RA1-PA256&dq=%22de+livet%22+king&source=web&ots=6oTuHSy6Yg&sig=MDFlASjwuEQVpd7SnYDPxZj-Xjw&hl=en Henry V, the Typical Medieval Hero, Charles Lethbridge Kingsford, C.P. Putnam's Sons, London, New York, 1901] ]

By August, the English were outside the walls of Paris. The intrigues of the French parties culminated in the assassination of John the Fearless by the Dauphin's partisans at Montereau (10 September 1419). Philip the Good, the new duke, and the French court threw themselves into Henry's arms. After six months of negotiation, the Treaty of Troyes recognised Henry as the heir and regent of France (see English Kings of France), and on 2 June 1420, he married Catherine of Valois, the French king's daughter. From June to July, Henry's army besieged and took the castle at Montereau. He besieged and captured Melun in November, returning to England shortly thereafter.

1421 campaign

On 10 June 1421, Henry sailed back to France for what would be his last military campaign. From July to August, Henry's forces besieged and captured Dreux, thus relieving allied forces at Chartres. That October, his forces lay siege to Meaux, capturing it on 2 May 1422. Henry V died suddenly on 31 August 1422 at Bois de Vincennes near Paris, apparently from dysentery which he had contracted during the siege of Meaux. He was 34 years old. Before his death, Henry V named his brother John of Lancaster, 1st Duke of Bedford regent of France in the name of his son Henry VI, then only a few months old. Henry V did not live to be crowned King of France himself, as he might confidently have expected after the Treaty of Troyes, as ironically the sickly Charles VI, to whom he had been named heir, survived him by two months. Catherine took Henry's body to London and he was buried in Westminster Abbey on 7 November 1422.

Following his death, Catherine had a long relationship with a Welsh courtier, Owen Tudor, whom she may secretly have married. They were the grandparents of King Henry VII of England.

Titles, styles, honours and arms


As Prince of Wales, Henry's arms were those of the kingdom, differenced by a label argent of three points. [ [http://www.heraldica.org/topics/britain/cadency.htm Marks of Cadency in the British Royal Family] ] Upon his accession, he inherited use of the arms of the kingdom undifferenced.


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boxstyle_3=background-color: #ffc;
boxstyle_4=background-color: #bfc;
boxstyle_5=background-color: #9fe;
1= 1. Henry V of England
2= 2. Henry IV of England
3= 3. Mary de Bohun
4= 4. John of Gaunt, 1st Duke of Lancaster
5= 5. Blanche of Lancaster
6= 6. Humphrey de Bohun, 7th Earl of Hereford
7= 7. Joan FitzAlan
8= 8. Edward III of England
9= 9. Philippa of Hainault
10= 10. Henry of Grosmont, 1st Duke of Lancaster
11= 11. Isabel de Beaumont
12= 12. William de Bohun, 1st Earl of Northampton
13= 13. Elizabeth de Badlesmere
14= 14. Richard FitzAlan, 10th Earl of Arundel
15= 15. Eleanor of Lancaster
16= 16. Edward II of England
17= 17. Isabella of France
18= 18. William I, Count of Hainaut
19= 19. Joan of Valois
20= 20. Henry Plantagenet, 3rd Earl of Lancaster
21= 21. Maud Chaworth
22= 22. Henry de Beaumont
23= 23. Alice Comyn
24= 24. Humphrey de Bohun, 4th Earl of Hereford
25= 25. Elizabeth of Rhuddlan
26= 26. Bartholomew de Badlesmere, 1st Baron Badlesmere
27= 27. Margaret de Clare
28= 28. Edmund FitzAlan, 9th Earl of Arundel
29= 29. Alice de Warenne
30= 30. Henry Plantagenet, 3rd Earl of Lancaster (= 20)
31= 31. Maud Chaworth (= 21)



*Christopher Allmand, "Henry V" (London, 1992)
*"Henry V. The Practice of Kinship", edited by G.L. Harris (Oxford, 1985)
*P. Earle, "The Life and times of Henry V" (London, 1972)
*H.F. Hutchinson, "Henry V. A Biography" (London, 1967)
*Juliet Barker, "Agincourt: Henry V and the Battle That Made England" (London, 2005)

See also

* Dieu et mon droit
* English Longbow
* Davy Gam
* Cultural depictions of Henry V of England

External links

* J. Endell Tyler. "Henry of Monmouth:Memoirs of Henry the Fifth" [http://www.gutenberg.org/etext/20488 Volume 1] , [http://www.gutenberg.org/etext/20489 Volume 2] at Project Gutenberg
*Genealogics name|id=00004905
* [http://www.datesofhistory.com/Henry-V-England.biog.html Henry V Chronology]
* [http://europeanhistory.about.com/od/famouspeople/a/personhenryveng.htm About.com - Biography of Henry V]
* [http://www.britannia.com/history/monarchs/mon35.html Britannia: Monarchs of England - Henry V]
* [http://www.bartleby.com/65/he/Henry5Eng.html Columbia Encyclopedia: Henry V]
* [http://www.royal.gov.uk/output/Page55.asp Official site of the Royal family: Henry V]
* [http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/british/middle_ages/henry_v_01.shtml A BBC piece presenting an alternative version of Henry V]
* [http://www.englishmonarchs.co.uk/plantagenet_10.htm Illustrated history of Henry V]
*worldcat id|id=lccn-n50-38127

F=Henry IV of England
FF=John of Gaunt
FM=Blanche of Lancaster
M=Mary de Bohun
MF=Humphrey de Bohun
MM=Joan FitzAlan

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