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Henry, the Young King

Henry, the Young King (1155–83), was the eldest surviving son of Henry II and Eleanor of Aquitaine. At Montmirail (Maine) in January 1169 Henry II announced his intentions for the division of his vast dominions, the Young Henry, as eldest son, to receive England, Normandy, and Anjou, Henry II's own inheritance. In May 1170 the young king was duly crowned joint king of England, but like his brothers remained essentially powerless since Henry II had no intention of abdicating, and would not hand over territory or power until his sons had proved themselves worthy. Young Henry, though, was ever feckless and irresponsible, concerned to cut a fine chivalric figure but utterly uninterested in the serious business of government. This, combined with his father's very close monitoring of his activities and purse, led Young Henry into revolt in 1173. Relations between father and son never fully recovered thereafter and he rebelled again in 1183, shortly before his death.

S. D. Lloyd

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