Was Henry II of England a popular king?

Feb 2019
477
Thrace
I'm confused. On the wikipedia of Frederick I it says:

Historians have compared Frederick to Henry II of England. Both were considered the greatest and most charismatic leaders of their age. Each possessed a rare combination of qualities that made him appear superhuman to his contemporaries: longevity, boundless ambition, extraordinary organizing skill, and greatness on the battlefield. Both were handsome and proficient in courtly skills, without appearing effeminate or affected. Both came to the throne in the prime of manhood. Each had an element of learning, without being considered impractical intellectuals but rather more inclined to practicality. Each found himself in the possession of new legal institutions that were put to creative use in governing. Both Henry and Frederick were viewed to be sufficiently and formally devout to the teachings of the Church, without being moved to the extremes of spirituality seen in the great saints of the 12th century. In making final decisions, each relied solely upon his own judgment,[84] and both were interested in gathering as much power as they could.

But on his own wiki it says:

Henry was not a popular king and few expressed much grief on news of his death.[355] Writing in the 1190s, William of Newburgh commented that "in his own time he was hated by almost everyone"; he was widely criticised by his own contemporaries, even within his own court.

Which one is it?
 
Mar 2016
1,222
Australia
There was a very dramatic shift in his reputation following the murder of Thomas Becket in 1170, which pretty much everybody blamed on Henry (fairly or not). Any biography or assessment written about him after 1170 would naturally take this into consideration and it would strongly colour their perception of him.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Niobe

johnincornwall

Ad Honorem
Nov 2010
7,693
Cornwall
He was one of those who made a big impact on history. Very involved with the history of some of the Spanish kingdoms with his relatives (Navarra etc) and kinfolk

But if you are talking popular as in 'people' - I think the scene in Monty Python and the Holy Grail where king Arthur rides past the 'peasant' and tries to explain he is the king is probably closer to reality than some care to think.

Like - in the masses - did anyone care?
 

sparky

Ad Honorem
Jan 2017
5,028
Sydney
He was not very popular with his wife , his sons , his barons from the south , the Irish .....
at his death nearly everybody was against him and rooted for Richard
 

David Vagamundo

Ad Honorem
Jan 2010
4,439
Atlanta, Georgia USA
There’s a difference between being great and being popular. Henry was trying to found a dynasty reaching from the Scottish Borders to the Pyrenees—at least some part of which was also claimed by France—and reform the government of England. That would make him great but it would certainlty make him unpopular with quite a few people. See W. L. Warren Henry II
 
  • Like
Reactions: Niobe
Jul 2016
1,343
Dengie Peninsula
There was a very dramatic shift in his reputation following the murder of Thomas Becket in 1170, which pretty much everybody blamed on Henry (fairly or not). Any biography or assessment written about him after 1170 would naturally take this into consideration and it would strongly colour their perception of him.
 

stevev

Ad Honorem
Apr 2017
3,528
Las Vegas, NV USA
My name is Beckett and I assure you that is the last time my family went into a church as it was too bleedin dangerous!:)
Well when Prince Charles becomes king, just let him know you love his watercolors and only eat organic food and you'll be safe. Otherwise........
 

Dan Howard

Ad Honorem
Aug 2014
4,771
Australia
Henry was a French King. He treated England as just one of his estates. There were no truly English kings until John.
 

stevev

Ad Honorem
Apr 2017
3,528
Las Vegas, NV USA
Henry was a French King. He treated England as just one of his estates. There were no truly English kings until John.
Yes. You might say this is true since the Conquest. John did it by loosing Normandy and most of the French possessions held by Henry II and Richard. He also submitted to the English nobility which limited his power with the Magna Carta.

Henry II ruled from London and is considered an English king. His fiefs in France were technically subordinate to the King of France. Henry held the title King of England and various titles for his French fiefs. Neither he nor Richard held the title " King of France". You could argue that Richard was the absentee King of England for most of his reign.
 
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: David Vagamundo