King Henry III - Part 2

Great Seal of King Henry IIIAlthough Henry was born and bred in England, he had many European connections through his family. His brother Richard of Cornwall became King of the Romans and his son Edmund was given the title King of Sicily. His sister Isabella married the Emperor Frederick II and his sister Joan and his daughter Margaret both married successive Scottish kings while his half sister Joan married Llewelyn the Great. His daughter Beatrice married the Duke of Brittany who also held the English earldom of Richmond. Remarkably, his wife Eleanor was one of four sisters who became Queen of France, England, Rome and Sicily. Henry took as his wife, the beautiful 19 year old Eleanor of Provence whom he married in Canterbury Cathedral on the 14th of January 1236 and to make a suitable home for her, he renovated the Royal palace at Westminster in which he installed glass windows for the first time along with plumbing. He also commissioned many fine wall paintings for private chambers. Right: Great Seal of King Henry III

Henry III lands in Aquitane from a 15th Century illuminationUnfortunately, tensions between the Crown and the magnates were still simmering and the Magna Carta was twice reissued before Henry reached his majority and took the reins of power in January 1227 at the age of 20. Many people felt that he was both weak and indecisive and he came under much criticism particularly owing to his marriage to Eleanor after which there was a great influx of the new Queen's relatives seeking wealth and power in England. This caused much resentment from the English barons.

Left: Henry III lands in Aquitane from a 15th Century illumination

The situation was exacerbated by his imposition of hefty taxes, defeats in Wales and a disastrous campaign in France attempting to regain lost territories. At the 1259 Treaty of Paris, these losses were confirmed when everything but Gascony was signed over to the King of France. In June of 1258, Henry was forced to agree to the Provisions of Oxford which was brought in by the rebel barons led by Henry's disaffected brother-in-law Simon de Montfort. This basically forced King Henry to submit to joint rule effectively sharing power. - King Henry III Part 3 - King Henry III Part 1