The Plantagenet Dynasty - A Family History ( Part One )

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The Plantagenet dynasty family history. Sons and daughters of the Plantagenet Kings. Wives of the Plantagenet kings. King Henry II. King Richard I. King John. King Henry III. Children of the Plantagenet kings. The Royal House of Plantagenet. Eleanor of Aq


FOR PLANTAGENET KINGS HENRY I, HENRY II, HENRY III and RICHARD II please visit -a-family-history-part-two


The Plantagenet Dynasty ruled England for 245 years by way of 8 kings, or 317 years by way of 14 kings if we include the successive royal houses of Lancaster and York, who were also off - shoots of the Plantagenet Dynasty, making the dynasty Britain's longest reigning royal house.

The name Plantagenet comes from the word planta genista, as the father of the first king of the dynasty, Geoffrey Plantagenet, depicted the broom plant as his emblem.

When the first king of the Plantagenet Dynasty, King Henry II became king, he became the first king of England,( as opposed to King of the English, as had been the title of the previous Norman Dynasty monarchs ), the first undisputed English royal monarch since King Harold in 1066 and had put an end to a period of English history known as the 19 Year Long Winter, on offshoot of the Anarchy period when de facto King Stephen ruled the country instead of the rightful heir to the throne, Empress Matilda, daughter of King Henry I.

King Henry II was infact the son of Empress Matilda and grandson of King Henry I.

During his 35 year reign King Henry II made a series of legal reforms which held the basis of English common Law as well as instigating the Assize of Clarendon which established the British judicial policy of trial by jury.

Henry also became overlord Of Wales in 1163, overlord of Scotland in 1174 and overlord of Ireland in 1175. 


Henry Plantagenet was born in Le Mans, France on the 5th of March 1133, son of Geoffrey Plantagenet, Count of Anjou and Matilda, former Empress of Rome and daughter of King Henry I.

Henry Plantagenet acceeded to the throne upon the signing of the Treaty of Wallingford ( an agreement between King Stephen and Empress Matilda ) by the de facto King Stephen on the 25th of October 1154.

He was crowned King of England on the 19th of December of that year at Westminster Abbey.

 Henry's Queen was Eleanor of Aquitane, the former wife of French King, Louis VII, whom she divorced only eight weeks before her marriage to Henry in May 1152.

Eleanor of Aquitaine was born in 1122 the oldest daughter of William X, Count of Aquitaine and Aenor de Chatellerault, in Aquitaine, France.

Due to her father's wealth and lands Eleanor was the richest and most powerful woman in Europe during the middle ages, she was also a great beauty of her day and of extremely robust health, giving birth to ten healthy babies and living well into her 82nd year. She is buried in Fontevroult Abbey alongside her husband and several of her children.

In her later years she became envious of the many young and beautiful women at court and it has been said that she was at one time elemental in the death of one of King Henry's mistresses, but this has never been assertained.

However, she did manage to turn both her sons who became king against their father which caused two rebellions against him, one in 1173 and one in 1189, which finally sent the king into a decline in which he never recovered. Henry died in Chinon, France on the 6th of July 1189 and was buried at Fontevroult Abbey.

When Eleanor married Henry she had already been the Queen of France and the mother of two Princesses, Marie, Countess of Champagne 1145 - 1198 and Alix, Countess of Blois 1151 - 1198.

Henry and Eleanor had eight children, two of which became future kings of England.

William IX, Count of Poitiers - 1153 - 1156. Died in infancy.

Henry, The Young King - 1155 - 1183. Married Margaret of France (1157 - 1197) daughter of Louis VII of France and Constance of Castile, when he was five and she was two in 1160. They had one son who died in infancy.

Matilda, Duchess of Saxony - 1156 - 1189.  Married Henry the Lion, Duke of Saxony and Bavaria in 1167. They had 8 children, three who died in infancy Eleanor 1178, Ingeborg 1180 and a stillborn son in 1182.Matilda is buried in Brunswick Cathedral, Bavaria.

Matilda, Countess of Perche,1172 - 1209.

Henry V, Count of Palatine,1173 - 1227.

Lothar of Bavaria, 1174 - 1190.

Otto IV, Holy Roman Emperor, 1175 - 1218.

William of Winchester, 1184 - 1213. 


Richard of England - 1157 - 1199. Married Bevengaria of Navarre (1165 - 1230) daughter of Sancho VI of Navarre and Sancha of Castile in 1191.They had no children.

Richard came to the throne upon the death of his father in 1189.

Known as Richard the Lionheart he was elemental in the military victories of the third crusade.

He reigned for ten years, although he spent only six months of that reign in England.

He died in Chalus, France after receiving a shoulder wound from a crossbow bolt. He was buried in Fontevroult Abbey along side his father and several other of his family members.

Geoffrey II Duke of Brittany - 1158 - 1186.  Married Constance, Duchess of Brittany ( 1161 - 1201) daughter of Conan IV, Duke of Brittany and Margaret of Huntingdon, in 1181. They had 3 children, one of which was born posthumously: Geoffrey is buried in Notre Dame Cathedral, Paris.

Eleanor, Maid of Brittany 1184 - 1241.

Maud / Matilda of Brittany 1185 - 1189.

Arthur I, Duke of Brittany 1187 - 1203.

Eleanor of Castile - 1162 - 1214, married Alfonso VIII of Castile, son of Sancho III of Castile and Blanche of Navarre in 1177, they had 11 children:

Infanta Berengaria, 1180 - 1246.

Infante Sancho, 1181 - 1181.

Infanta Sancha, 1182 - 1185.

Infante Enrique, 1184 - 1184.

Infanta Urraca, 1187 - 1220.

Infante Fernando, 1189 - 1211.

Infanta Malfalda, 1191 - 1211.

Infanta Constanza, 1195 - 1243.

Infanta Leonor, 1202 - 1244.

King Enrique I ( Henry ) 1204 - 1217.

Joan of Sicily - 1165 - 1199. Married William of Sicily ( 1155 - 1189) son of William I of Sicily and Margaret of Navarre in 1177 and had one son Bohemond born in 1181 who died in infancy.She was widowed in 1189.

She married Raymond of Toulouse ( 1156 - 1222 ) son of Raymond V of Toulouse and Constance of France in 1196 and had three children:

Raymond V of Toulouse 1197 - 1249.

Mary of Toulouse 1198, no death date exists but she did live into adulthood and marry.

Richard of Toulouse 1189 - 1189, who was born at Fontevroult Abbey where Mary fleed from her husband and sought refuge from her mother Eleanor of Aquitaine. Both Mary and her son died soon after the birth. 


John of England - 1167 - 1216.Married Isabel, Countess of Gloucester daughter of William FitzRobert, Earl of Gloucester and Hawise de Beaumont in 1189. They had no children and their marriage was annulled in 1199.

Married Isabella of Angouleme daughter of Aymer, Count of Angouleme and Alice of Courtenay in 1200. They had five children:

Henry of England 1207 - 1272.

Richard, Earl of Cornwall 1209 - 1272.

Joan Queen of Scots, 1210 - 1238.

Isabella, Empress of the Holy Roman Empire, 1214 - 1241.

Eleanor 1215 - 1275.

John was considered of lecherous nature and is said to have fathered as many as 12 recognised illegitimate children, although there were possibly many more that went unrecorded.

John came to the throne upon the death of his elder brother Richard in 1199.

John was considered an unprincipled opportunist who resulted in losing the vast French Empire secured by his father, and alienated both the English court and the Pope.

However he did achieve one lasting achievment, by agreeing ( albeit under duress) to the Charter of Liberties ( The Magna Carta ) which he signed at Runnymead in 1215.

However in 1216 he renounced the charter forcing barons to consider deposing him, but he died of dysentry in Newark before this was enforced, but not before he had stolen the Crown Jewels of England and lost them in quicksand in the tidal estuary of The Wash in East Anglia.

Because of his actions, to this day, no royal child will have the name of John, just incase history repeats it's self.

King John was interred at Worcester Cathedral. 


With the unexpected death of King John and the country now in the hands of warring barons which were bringing the country to it's knees, John's 10 year old son Henry was quickly crowned King Henry III in Westminster Abbey on the 28th of October 1216.

Under the guidance of regents William Marshall, the Earl of Pembroke and Hubert de Burgh the country and it's empire became stabilised.

Henry was a pious and educated man with his 56 year long reign known as the Golden Age of Learning, Architecture and the Arts. He founded the first two colleges of Oxford University, Merton and Balliol, rebuilt Westminster Abbey and oversaw the building of the Cathedrals of St Albans, Salisbury, Lincoln and Wells.

Henry's reign was dogged by civil strife from English Barons, which eventually culminated in both Henry and his son Edward being held under house arrest, which nearly caused the complete abolition of the monarchy.

Henry died on the 16th of November 1272 and was buried in Westminster Abbey.

When he was 29 years old he married the beautiful, 19 year old Eleanor of Provence at Canterbury Cathedral on the 14th of January 1236.

Eleanor was the second daughter of Ramon Berenguer V, Count of Provence and Beatrice of Savoy. She was born in 1223.

Although a loving wife and mother and considered to be both amiable and of pleasant character , Eleanor was not liked by the people of England, due to her many family members from Savoy, whom Henry indulged by giving influential positions in both the English government and the realm.

When she was widowed in 1272 she stayed on in London for two more years as Dowager Queen, but retired to a convent in Amesbury, Wiltshire upon the death of her grandson Henry ( King Edward's son ), whose death she had taken very hard. She died there in 1291 and was buried in the Abbey of St Mary and St Melor in Amesbury.

The royal couple, who were by all accounts devoted to one another, had eight children four of which died in infancy, they were:

Richard, 1247 - 1256.

John, 1250 - 1256.

Katherine, 1253 - 1257.

Henry, 1256 - 1257.

Four children grew into adulthood, they were:

Edward of England 1239 - 1307. Became King of England upon the death of his father King Henry III in 1272.For his family history please see part II of this article.

Margaret Queen of Scotland,1240 - 1275.Married Alexander III of Scotland son of Alexander II of Scotland and Marie de Courcy, on the 26th of December 1251 at York Minster. They had two children, Margaret, Queen of Norway ( 1241 - 1286) and Alexander, Prince of Scotland ( 1260 - 1283).

Beatrice, Duchess of Brittany,1242 - 1275. Married John II of Brittany, son of John I of Brittany and Blanche of Navarre on the 22 January 1260. They had six children:

Arthur II, Duke of Brittany 1262 - 1312.

John de Bretagne 1266 - 1334.

Marie de Dreux 1268 - 1339.

Pierre, Viscount de Lyon 1269 - 1312.

Blanche de Dreux 1271 - 1327.

Eleonore, Abbess of Fontevroult Abbey, 1274 - 1329.

Edmund, Earl of Leicester and Lancaster, 1245 - 1296. Married Lady Aveline de Forz ( 1258 - 1273), daughter of William de Forz, 4th Earl of Albemarle and Isabel Reviers, Countess of Aumale on the 8th of April 1269. They were married only four years before Edmund was widowed in 1273.

Edmund then married Blanche of Artois ( 1248 - 1302) daughter of Robert I of Artois and Matilda of Brabant, on the 3rd of February 1276. they had four children :

Thomas Plantagenet, 1278 - 1322.

Henry Plantagenet, 1281 - 1345.

John, Lord of Beaufort, 1282 - 1327.

Mary Plantagent, 1284 - 1289. 


FOR OTHER ROYAL HOUSE TIMELINES, VISIT timelines-of-the-british-monarchy-1066-2010

                                                                                   Henry II 1154 - 1189 - 35 year reign.

                                                                                   Richard I - 1189 - 1199 - 10 year reign.

                                                                                   John - 1199 - 1216 - 17 year reign.

                                                                                   Edward I - 1216 - 1272 - 35 year reign.


                                                                                      OTHER ARTICLES IN THIS SERIES 








                                                                                  © D.B.Bellamy.October, 2010.


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