Henry VI, King of England

Henry, the son of Henry V and Catherine of France, was born at Windsor Castle December 6 1421.
He married Margaret, daughter of Rene, Duke of Anjou, April 23 1444 at Tichtfield Abbey, Hampshire.

Henry VI and Margaret hold hands as a book
is presented by the Earl of Shrewsbury. (J R Green).

Henry was only 8 months old when he succeeded his father, Henry V, to the English throne, and just short of his eighth birthday when he was crowned at Westminster. Two years later, on December 16th 1431, he was crowned King of France at Notre Dame.

He grew up to be an enthusiastic scholar, founding Eton College and King's College, Cambridge. But most of his life he was involved in the Wars of the Roses. As a baby, Henry presided over Parliament sitting on his mother's lap showing little interest in the country’s government.

Margaret of Anjou was violently seasick when, at the age of 16, she crossed the channel for her wedding to Henry VI. She followed her husband's example and founded Queen's College, Cambridge in 1448.

In 1453 Henry VI suffered an attack of insanity shortly before Margaret bore a son, Edward. Rumours spread that the baby was illegitimate. The following year Parliament installed Richard, Duke of York, as Protector, but when Margaret realised that her son would be disinherited, she persuaded the King to dissolve the government. War broke out between the rival Yorkist and Lancastrian families. After the Battle of Towton, Henry and Margaret were forced to flee to Scotland. In 1471 Margaret made another attempt to gain the throne for her son, but he was killed after the Battle of Tewkesbury.

Henry died in May 1471 in the Tower of London, possibly murdered. He was buried in Chertsey Abbey, Surrey, and was succeeded by Edward IV.

Margaret of Anjou died August 25 1482 at Chateau de Dampiere, Saumur, France.

Monument to the Battle of Towton.