Death of Henry V, Accession of Henry VI

Death of King Henry V, 31st August 1422.

On 31st August 1422, King Henry V died. He was succeeded, without contest, by his 9-month-old son, Henry VI. Henry V had been a warrior king, winning a great victory over the French at Agincourt and regaining lands in Normandy and France. Furthermore, he had forced an agreement on the French that would see the French crown pass to himself or his heirs upon the King of France’s death.

Rule in the infancy of King Henry VI

As an infant, his son required a regency council to rule on his behalf until he reached his majority. This created a long period of uncertainty over policies on the continent and occurred when the economy required experienced and sound leadership.

Roles and Responsibilities

That leadership came through a council of senior magnates and bishops. The nominal head of the council was the young King’s eldest uncle, John Duke of Bedford. Bedford spent much of his time dealing with matters in France.

As a result, the King’s other uncle, Humphrey Duke of Gloucester, acted as Protector in England when Bedford was in France. The council was to rule based on majority views being accepted.

Cliques formed around the dominant figures, Bishop Beaufort in particularly attracted followers as it was loans from his estates that enabled England to continue the defence of her continental possessions. This led to conflicts between Beaufort and the enigmatic Duke Humphrey.

The Council oversaw policy until the King came of age. It was an incredibly long time for a minority council to hold power and saw its head, the Duke of Bedford, pass away before the King was an adult.


King Henry V. Biography

King Henry VI. Biography.

Humphrey, Duke of Gloucester. Biography

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