king henry v. on this day in history.


April 9, 1413, King Henry V was crowned King of England.  Henry was an accomplished soldier who, both before and after being crowned King, led a spotless life.  Already at the age of fourteen he was active in battle and at the early age of sixteen he became a commander in his father’s royal army.  He was known as a fair man, a prince, then King, whom all men loved and none disdained; he left no offence unpunished, but no friendship unrewarded either.  He proposed to marry Catherine of Valois in 1415 and demanded the old Plantagenet lands of Normandy and Anjou as his dowry. Charles VI of France, Catherine’s father, refused and Henry declared war.  The war served to gain lands lost in previous battles.  Henry defeated the French and captured Normandy, Picardy and much of the stronghold of the Ile-de-France.  In 1420, Charles VI accepted Henry as his son-in-law and passed over his own son to name Henry as heir to the French crown.  Henry and Catherine married June 2, 1420.  The following year, Henry left for France to campaign.  Catherine was several months pregnant by this time.  Henry’s hard life as a soldier had prematurely aged him and while he was campaigning he became seriously ill.  He died soon after and never did see his son.  Had Henry lived a mere two months longer, he would have been King of both England and France.  Henry was succeeded by his infant son, who reigned as Henry VI.  King Henry V lives on today, through film and stage.  His life is featured in three William Shakespeare plays, shown as a young rascal who redeems himself in battle in the two Henry IV plays, as well as a decisive leader in Henry V.

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