Spotlight: Henry VI


Name: Henry VI

Title/s: King of England / King of France

Birth / Death: 6 December 1421 – 21 May 1471

Spouse: Margaret of Anjou 1430-1482

Children: Edward, Prince of Wales 1453-1471

Parents: Henry V 1386-1422 & Catherine of Valois 1401-1437

Siblings: None

Noble Connections: The future Henry VII was his nephew, through his mother’s second marriage to Owen Tudor. He was a direct descendent of Edward III through John of Gaunt and had a claim to the French throne through his mother.

Events of their Lifetime: The Wars of the Roses commenced in Henry’s reign, Yorkists vs. Lancastrians. The Battles of St Albans, Tewkesbury, and Barnet, among others, also occurred under Henry. Legend says he was murdered in the Tower by the York brothers.

Controversy: There is controversy over the death of Henry VI, how did he die and who did the deed? There is also a question over his supposed insanity, and the reign of his wife. How much was he aware of what was happening and how far did he even care?

Works of Fiction:
Higginbotham, Susan, The Queen of Last Hopes (2011)
Iggulden, Conn, Stormbird (2013)
Plaidy, Jean, The Queen’s Secret (1989)
Shakespeare, William, Henry VI Parts I, II and III (1591)
Worth, Sandra, Lady of the Roses (2008)

Portrayals on Screen:
Peter Benson, King Henry VI Parts I, II and III, 1983, directed by Jane Howell
Terry Scully, An Age of Kings, 1960, 9 episodes
David Shelley, The White Queen, 2013, 4 episodes
Tom Sturridge, Henry VI, 2016, 2 episodes
David Warner, The Wars of the Roses, 1965, 3 episodes

Further Reading:
Craig, Leigh Ann, ‘Royalty Virtue and Adversity the Cult of King Henry VI’, Albion, 35 (2003)
Flenley, Ralph, ‘London and Foreign Merchants in the Reign of Henry VI’, English Historical Review, 25 (1910)
Griffiths, Ralph A., The Reign of King Henry VI (1981)
McKenna, J.W., ‘Henry VI of England and the Dual Monarchy Aspects of Royal Political Propaganda 1422-1432’, Journal of the Warburg and Courtauld Institutes, 28 (1965)
Pendleton, T., Henry VI: Critical Essays (2001)
Perry, George G., ‘Bishop Beckington and King Henry VI’, English Historical Review, 9 (1894)
Watts, J.L., ‘The Counsels of King Henry VI 1435-1445’, English Historical Review, 106 (1991)
Watts, John, Henry VI and the Politics of Kingship (1996)
Wolffe, Bertram, Henry VI (1981)

Arms:

Arms of Henry VI as King of England
Arms of Henry VI as King of England

Portraits:

Henry VI 1540 at the National Portrait Gallery
Henry VI 1540 at the National Portrait Gallery
Henry VI aged 9 months put into the care of the Earl of Warwick 1422
Henry VI aged 9 months put into the care of the Earl of Warwick 1422
Groat featuring the face of Henry VI
Groat featuring the face of Henry VI
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