Another Henry the young king

On 28 October 1216, exactly 800 years ago this day, the eldest son of King John and Isabella of Angouleme was crowned Henry III in Gloucester Cathedral. He had just turned nine years old, the country was wracked by civil war, and his throne and very life were at stake. After being knighted by William Marshal, he recited his coronation oath after Jocelin of Wells, the bishop of Bath, and was crowned by his tutor Peter des Roches, the bishop of Winchester, under the direction of Guala Bicchieri, the papal legate. The only prop available to serve as a crown was a gold chaplet worn by his mother. That out of the way, Marshal and Guala went about winning the war, in part by reissuing Magna Carta, and won the peace, albeit at a stiff price, the following year. Henry enjoyed a second, more lavish coronation at Westminster Abbey in 1220, the only monarch thus crowned two times, but by then Marshal was dead, Guala went back to Italy (to Vercelli, where he founded the Abbey of St. Andrew with a grant from Henry), and the men who replaced them served the young king well during his minority, but themselves better.


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