Henry V (b.1387 r.1413-1422)
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Henry V (b.1387 r.1413-1422)

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His present and your pains we thank you for.
When we have matched our rackets to these balls,
We will in France, by God's grace, play a set
Shall strike his father's crown into the hazard.
King Harry, in Henry V (Act 1 Scene 2), William Shakespeare.

Additional Information on
Henry V (b.1387 r.1413-1422)

Henry V was the son of Henry IV - he ruled for only nine years (dying aged 35) and yet stands out as one of the greatest medieval kings. The playwright William Shakespeare wrote one of his most popular plays about Henry V which has helped to ensure his fame and reputation as a great King throughout history. Henry was loved and honoured by his people and like his father, loved the arts. He showed great self-discipline, was extremely successful in war and was very religious.

Within months of succeeding to the throne he had re-opened the 100 years war with France in order to win back territories lost there by his ancestors. After taking an army across in 1415, Henry managed to defeat an army over three times the size of his own at the battle of Agincourt, near Calais. More brilliant victories followed until in 1419 the French king made peace. The two kings signed a treaty which allowed Henry to keep all the land he had conquered - in fact he was often referred to as 'Henry the Conqueror' - a triumphant king. It also gave him the French king's daughter Catherine in marriage and said that Henry should become the next king of France, but unfortunately he died before he could be crowned.


If God wills and I keep my life and health, in a few months, I shall play such a ball game with the French in their own courtyards, that they will lose their fun in the end and win grief instead of the game.
- His remark to ambassadors returning from France with an insulting gift of tennis balls, 1414.

Everyone knows that I act in everything with kindness and mercy, for I am forcing Rouen into submission by starvation, not by fire, sword or bloodshed.
- To an envoy from Rouen, during the siege, 1418

Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more;
Or close the wall up with our English dead.
- Henry V exhorting his troops at the siege of Harfleur, William Shakespeare, Henry V, III:I (1600).

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