Henry III (b.1207 r.1216-1272)
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Henry III (b.1207 r.1216-1272)

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All these things shall I keep faithfully and undiminished, as a man, as a Christian, as a soldier, and as a king, crowned and annointed.
Henry III, on taking an oath to uphold Magna Carta, 1253.

Additional Information on
Henry III (b.1207 r.1216-1272)

Henry was the eldest son of King John but was only nine years of age when he ascended the throne, so he had two regents to guide him through his early years. Henry began to rule when he was twenty years of age but it was soon clear that he had little talent for effective governing - his personal rule being marked by a series of minor crises between the king and baronage. After Henry married Eleanor of Provence in 1236 many foreigners obtained leading positions in the government, obviously provoking an angry response from the English barons - led by Simon de Montfort. The barons demanded that Henry banish his French favourites and Henry promised to agree to these demands in the 'Provisions of Oxford' - the establishment of a baronial council (The Council of Nine) to regulate the king's government. This council of nine people advised the king on decision making, this being the first time ordinary citizens were able to take part in government rather than just the lords, bishops and abbots (ie. the origins of the House of Commons).

However, Henry failed to keep to his promise and in 1264 civil war broke out between the king and baronage and Henry was captured. Simon de Montfort ruled the country until killed in battle in 1265 by Prince Edward, Henry's son. In practice, Edward now became ruler of the country - he was more powerful than his father and made promises of a fair government through a parliament.

Henry spent the last years of his reign indulging his love of art and architecture by overseeing the rebuilding of Westminster Abbey where Edward the Confessor's remains were reburied.


There is very great honour for me in the peace which I am making with the king of England, since he is now my vassal, which before he was not.
- Louis IX of France, Treaty of Paris, 1259.

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