The Plantagenets: The Warrior Kings and Queens Who Made England

The Plantagenets: The Warrior Kings and Queens Who Made England

Dan Jones

Language: English

Pages: 560

ISBN: 0143124927

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


The New York Times bestseller that tells the story of Britain’s greatest and worst dynasty—“a real-life Game of Thrones” (The Wall Street Journal)

From the author of Magna Carta: The Birth of Liberty

The first Plantagenet kings inherited a blood-soaked realm from the Normans and transformed it into an empire that stretched at its peak from Scotland to Jerusalem. In this epic narrative history of courage, treachery, ambition, and deception, Dan Jones resurrects the unruly royal dynasty that preceded the Tudors. They produced England’s best and worst kings: Henry II and his wife Eleanor of Aquitaine, twice a queen and the most famous woman in Christendom; their son Richard the Lionheart, who fought Saladin in the Third Crusade; and his conniving brother King John, who was forced to grant his people new rights under the Magna Carta, the basis for our own bill of rights. Combining the latest academic research with a gift for storytelling, Jones vividly recreates the great battles of Bannockburn, Crécy, and Sluys and reveals how the maligned kings Edward II and Richard II met their downfalls. This is the era of chivalry and the Black Death, the Knights Templar, the founding of parliament, and the Hundred Years’ War, when England’s national identity was forged by the sword.

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Clairvaux wrote, of ‘taking a determined political stance’. She pushed Louis into several unwise ventures, including a vicious war between the French Crown and the count of Champagne, provoked after Eleanor’s younger sister Petronilla had a rash fling with the count of Vermandois. Very swiftly, Eleanor built a reputation in France for causing scandal and political chaos. By the 1140s that reputation preceded her. When Eleanor accompanied Louis on the Second Crusade to the East in 1147, rumours

one of the major English exports – which raised an astonishing amount of revenue. Nearly 30,000 wool sacks were appropriated for the Crown to sell on; their value of around £126,000 made this the heaviest tax to be levied on England since the end of King John’s reign. While all this took place, Queen Philippa was at King’s Langley, where on 5 June 1341 she gave birth to another son. He was given a traditional English name – Edmund – and a tournament was held to celebrate the birth. The assembled

eighteen-year-old Young King was, and how limited his real understanding of kingship. Throughout the Great War that raged during the following eighteen months, Henry the Young King served mainly as a puppet for Louis VII and those allies who wished to erode Plantagenet power wherever they could. The first stage of the war took place during the summer of 1173. In May the allies attacked towns in the Vexin, without success. In June and July they had greater success, capturing Aumale and Driencourt

By the beginning of July, Maine was overrun and Tours had fallen. Henry dragged himself out of bed to meet Philip face to face at Ballan, near Tours, on 3 July. As Philip reeled off a long list of demands, which amounted to Henry’s utter surrender and the confirmation of Richard as his heir in all lands on both sides of the Channel, the old king had to be held upright on his horse by his attendants. A hot day broke into a thunderstorm. Henry agreed to all of Philip’s terms. Then, too weak to ride

foreclosed on the family’s debts and began to remove them from office and positions. In a public letter later written to justify his actions, the king explained to the realm that he was pursuing the family ‘according to the custom of England and the law of the exchequer’, but it was a campaign of sustained legalized malice. William de Briouze was sacked as bailiff of Glamorgan and replaced by a foreign mercenary John had brought back from the Continent. Castles at Hay, Brecon and Radnor were

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