Henry II (1154-89) was king of England. He emerged from the chaos of the "Anarchy", the civil war between his mother Matilda and her cousin Stephen who usurped the crown against the wishes of his uncle Henry I. He married Eleanor of Aquitaine who bore him 4 sons. Only RichardTheLionheart and BadKingJohn, survived. He grew up in exile in Aquitaine so he spoke virtually no English.
Famous today for three things:
1. Founded the concept of TheCommonLaw, a legal system where the law is usually determined by court decisions, and the foundation for the legal systems of the UK, the United States and Commonwealth countries such as Canada.
2. After a dispute over who should be the High King of Ireland, he took advantage of a Papal Edict of 1158 ― issued by the only English Pope, Adrian IV (born Nicholas Breakspeare ([[MeaningfulName No, really]])) ― that gave overlordship of Ireland to the King of England to establish an English zone of control (The Pale) around Dublin, which had [[TheIrishQuestion repercussions for]] [[TheTroubles centuries to come]].
3. The most (in)famous thing was that he got into a savage argument with the original TurbulentPriest, his one time friend Thomas Becket, Archbishop of Canterbury, over whether the Church was subordinate to secular authority. His expression of frustration was construed to be a Royal Command: a RhetoricalRequestBlunder. Four knights made haste to Canterbury and brutally murdered Becket. The murder of an archbishop at the altar of his own cathedral on orders from the King was considered the worst crime in Christendom for a long time, and [[HistoricalVillainUpgrade clouded Henry's reputation in history]]. It was something Henry [[MyGreatestFailure appeared to truly show regret and remorse for]] and he was publicly whipped as penance by the canons of Canterbury Cathedral. (Becket, on the other hand, got made into a saint and had a great film made about him in which he was played by RichardBurton).
England's most powerful time during the Middle Ages was during his reign. The lands under his control are known as the Angevin Empire. Not only did he rule pretty much all of Great Britain and Ireland, he also was in control of over half of France. For a while, it looked like England would become the dominant power in Western Europe, but his successors weren't as good at ruling as he was and things started to fall apart. This would eventually lead to the HundredYearsWar. Modern scholars often say that Henry II was the first monarch responsible for a unified Britain.
When his wife Eleanor of Aquitaine had had enough of his infidelity, she manipulated her surviving sons into rebellion against him (known as the Great Revolt), which was successful. Henry died believing his reign had been a failure. Today, he is remembered as England's greatest Medieval king.
* TheEmperor [=/=] TheHighKing: The land under his control stretched from Scotland to southern France.
* NiceJobBreakingItHero: He probably never would have imagined the far-reaching consequences of the Common Law. The idea that the Law was a power unto itself sowed the seeds for the fall of the Angevin empire during the reign of John. It also gave the barons the confidence to stand up against royal tyranny.
* OvershadowedByAwesome - He's just not as famous or infamous as his sons.
* ParentalFavoritism - He preferred John while Eleanor liked Richard. Unfortunately for Henry, John had ChronicBackstabbingDisorder.
* RedOniBlueOni - with Becket.
!!Works related to him