Henry VI Essay

Submitted By reheggem
Words: 1983
Pages: 8

Henry VI was born on December 6, 1421 to Henry V and Catharine of Valois. When his father died on August 31, 1422, he became King of England at the age of eight months old. Just a few weeks later, his grandfather, Charles VI, died, leaving Henry as the King of France in accordance the Treaty of Troyes, which was written in 1420. On September 28, 1423, the nobles of England swore their loyalty to King Henry. They then called Parliament together in his name and established a regency council -- a group of people selected to act as head of state while the ruler is underage. Henry’s uncle John, Duke of Bedford, was appointed the senior regent of England and France and was also put in charge of the ongoing war in France. During Bedford’s absence, the government was headed by Humphrey, Duke of Gloucester, Henry V’s other brother was appointed Protector and Defender of the “Realm”. His only duties were to keep the peace in England and to summon Parliament when necessary. Henry V’s half-uncle, Henry Beaufort, Bishop of Winchester (and later Cardinal), also had a place on the council. Starting in 1428, Henry VI’s tutor was Richard de Beauchamp, Earl of Warwick. Henry had two half-brothers, Edmund and Jasper Tudor through his widowed mother’s relationship with Owen Tudor. These two were later given earldoms, and Edmund Tudor would eventually become the father of Henry Tudor who would gain the throne as King Henry VII. Soon after Charles VII of Valois was crowned as the French King on July 17, 1429, Henry was crowned King of England at Westminster Abby on November 9, 1429, followed by his own coronation as King of France at Notre Dame de Paris on December 16, 1431. However it was not until November 13, 1437, a month before his sixteenth birthday, that he gained any measure of his own authority. He had shown an indication of his willingness to become involved in administration in 1434 when writs temporally changed their dating from Westminster to Cirencester, where the king was at the time. Henry finally assumed his full royal powers when he came of age in 1437, the year his mother died. However, because of his shy and pious nature and his dislike of deceit and bloodshed, he allowed his court to be run by a few noble favorites who disagreed on the matter of the French war. After the death of King Henry V, England had lost the upper hand in the Hundred Years’ War, while France only gained ground. The young king Henry came to favor a peace policy in France and thus agreed with Cardinal Beaufort and William de la Pole, Earl of Suffolk, who had similar thoughts. Humphrey, Duke of Gloucester, and Richard, Duke of York, who argued for a continuation of the war, were ignored. Cardinal Beaufort and William de la Pole told the king that the best way of obtaining peace with France was through a marriage with Margaret of Anjou, the niece of King Charles VII. Henry agreed, especially when he heard of Margaret’s beauty, and sent William to negotiate with King Charles. Charles agreed, but on the condition that he would not have to pay any sort of dowry, and would instead receive the lands of Maine and Anjou from the English. These had been conditions agreed to in the Treaty of Tours, but the cession of Maine and Anjou was kept secret from parliament, because it was known that it would be highly unpopular with the English people. The marriage took place at Titchfield Abby on April 23, 1445, one month after Margaret’s 15th birthday. Henry was afraid of giving Maine and Anjou to Charles, knowing that it would be opposed by the English people and the Dukes of Gloucester. However, Margaret was determined to make it happen. When the treaty became known to the public in 1446, the people’s anger was focused on the Duke of Suffolk but Henry and Margaret did their best to protect him. In 1447 the King and Queen called the Duke of Gloucester to stand before parliament on the charge of treason. This was instigated by Gloucester’s enemies, the Earl…