Interim Council for the Minority of Henry VI

An interim council for the minority government of the infant King Henry VI was established on 28th September 1422. As Henry became King as an infant, his government was managed by a minority  council. This Council ruled in his name, theoretically based on majority decisions being accepted.

Structure of the Council

The Council was nominally headed by the elder of King Henry’s uncles, John Duke of Bedford. As Bedford spent much of the time managing English affairs in France, the King’s other uncle, Humphrey Duke of Gloucester acted as Lord Protector.

The main area of concern for the minority council was the Hundred Years War. At the time of Henry’s accession, England was in the ascendancy. Soon they faced a resurgent France, inspired by Joan of Arc.

Divisions within Henry VI’s Minority Council

The Council became split over the policy that should be adopted over the French campaigns, with some Lords wanting an aggressive policy and others a defensive one. War in France also led to severe shortages of funds. This led to the rise in importance of Bishop, later Cardinal, Henry Beaufort. Loans from Henry Beaufort funded many of the campaigns fought in France which led to a faction in court developing. He frequently clashed with Duke Humphrey throughout the war.

John Duke of Bedford, died shortly before the King came of age. He left a precarious situation. England had lost favour with Burgundy, partly due to Bedford’s second marriage and had seen the French making gains. Bedford was replaced in France by Richard Duke of York.

Links on the Regency of Henry VI

Locality, Polity and the Politics of Counsel: Royal and Urban Councils in England, 1420-1429. Eliza Hartrich. Magdalen College, Oxford [pdf file]

The Regency of Henry VI. Britain Express.

Image Credit

Accession of Henry VI. He is shown at the age of nine months being placed in the care of Richard de Beauchamp, 13th Earl of Warwick. Source

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