King of England
Henry II, King of England, Duke of Normandy, Duke of Aquitaine, Count of Anjou, Count of Maine, Count of Nantes and Lord of Ireland, is one of the most powerful men in Europe.
The King is a strong, stocky man, bow-legged from many years of riding and hunting. Although he sometimes wears splendid outfits befitting his wealth and power, he is commonly found in more comfortable, even scruffy, clothes. He is, of course, never without his golden crown, and wears a wedding band studded with many diamonds.
Henry has a piercing stare, deep voice, and confident manner. He does not suffer fools, and is often impatient with those who serve him. He has a hot temper when riled, which sometimes results in an angry outburst or a dark, brooding silence.
Henry is an energetic and sometimes ruthless ruler, who after many years has been successful in restoring the lands and privileges of his grandfather, Henry I. He has also reformed the legal system and the royal courts, and restored the finances of the Crown to the extent that he is one of the wealthiest people in Europe.
Earlier in his reign, he attempted to reform the relationship between the English Crown and the Church. This led to conflict with his former friend Thomas Becket, the Archbishop of Canterbury. Their disagreement lasted for much of the 1160s, and resulted in Becket’s death in 1170. Henry was forced into a number of concessions to the Church as a result, including a commitment to go on Crusade.
Over several decades, Henry expanded his empire, often at the expense of Louis VII of France, his long-term enemy. He now controls England, large parts of Wales, the eastern half of Ireland and the western half of France, an area known as the Angevin Empire.
Photo: Mathieu Young/The CW — © 2013 The CW Network, LLC.