Death of Eleanor de Montfort

Eleanor, the youngest daughter of King John, died on this day of 13 April in 1275. As a Plantagenet, then a Marshal, finally a Montfort, she bore the names of three of the most distinguished families in English history. She was first married to William Marshal II […]

Death of King Richard

On this day of the 2nd of April in 1272, Richard of Cornwall was at Berkhamsted when he ‘exchanged the fleeting glories of the world for the heavenly kingdom’. Those glories included a vast fortune and three beautiful wives, the last of whom was forty years younger. His travels saw him […]

Next Henry III Roundtable

The next session of the Henry III Roundtable will take place on Thursday, 25th April 2024 at 4 PM (GMT). The link to join the meeting will appear on these pages shortly. It will be the third and final discussion on the Savoyards and Lusignans, namely a look at […]

March 2024 Roundtable

The March 2024 Henry III Roundtable continued their informative discussion on the two most prominent groups of foreigners at Henry’s court during the long years of his personal rule. It’s 1258, the beginning of the reform period, and the Savoyards, the so-called Queen’s Men, have engineered the ouster of their younger rivals the Lusignans (King’s Men) […]

Murder of Henry of Almain

Henry of Almain was born on November 2, 1235, the only surviving child of Richard of Cornwall and Isabel Marshal, making both King John and William Marshal his grandfathers. Named after his uncle Henry III, he was raised at Windsor following the death of his mother in childbirth in 1240. He was in Aachen in 1257 when his father was crowned King of Germany. Richard then knighted Henry at the same ceremony, thus making him Henry “of Almain” to indicate […]

Merlin lurking

A bottle of Gascon wine from the south of France. Henry III was quite fond of wine from Gascony, another reason why he was so determined to hang onto the duchy against the encroachment of the French. Very fine wine, only fitting that it be enjoyed in a glass that recalls Henry’s era. That’s Merlin lurking in the background.

Henry’s younger sisters

Henry III had an incredible 24 siblings, of which 10 were his father’s illegitimate offspring and 9 were the children of his mother’s second marriage. Of the 5 children begot by his parents together, the two oldest were boys, Henry and Richard, followed by three girls: Joan, Isabella, and Eleanor. Henry was exceptionally close to his sisters and today is a good day to remember them […]

First grandchild

In February of 1261, Henry III and Eleanor of Provence became grandparents for the first time. Their eldest daughter Margaret gave birth to a daughter, also named Margaret, who would later become the queen of Norway and mother of another Margaret, the ill-fated Maid of Norway […]

The Tower Elephant

The first known elephant in England arrived in 1255. It was made a gift to Henry III by Louis IX of France, who himself had received it from his former captor, the Sultan of Egypt. Chronicler Matthew Paris drew a picture of it, noting that it was 10 years old and 10 feet tall. It was housed at the Tower of London […]

The creation of the universe

The Cosmati pavement at the high altar of Westminster Abbey, one of the wonders of the medieval world. In these intricate shapes and swirls, Henry III sought to represent the creation of the universe as it emerges from a nebula-like center disc. He also devised a formula, based on the life expectancy of living creatures, both real and imagined, to determine the age […]

Wheel of Fortune

When Henry III invested Simon de Montfort with the title Earl of Leicester in 1239, the two men were standing on the dais (platform) next to the west wall of Winchester Hall, where the round table crafted during the reign of Henry’s son Edward hangs today […]

Born on this day

Richard of Cornwall, younger brother of Henry III and the only Englishman to wear the crown of Germany, was born on this day of the 5th of January in 1209 in Devizes. Richard and Henry were the only contemporary brother kings in English history, yet both have been squeezed out of their rightful place […]

On this day of 1st October

Henry III was born in Winchester in 1207. Henry was very much attached to Winchester and often held his colourful Christmas courts there. He built the Great Hall that still stands there, and yet the city remains indifferent to his memory […]

Review of Henry III volume 2

Volume 2 of David Carpenter’s biography of Henry III for the Yale English Monarchs Series is out, and so is […]

The spare who didn’t whine all the time

The BBC has naturally weighed in on the controversy of the Spare memoir about to come out. Their correspondent writes that there are “historical templates” for the rivalry between royal siblings. “Think of Bad King John versus Good King Richard” in a “power struggle between brothers”. Completely laughable […]

Empress Isabella and her brothers

The sons of King John, Henry III and Richard of Cornwall, were close to their sister Empress Isabella, who died […]

Anniversary conference

Next Wednesday, the 16th of November, marks 750 years since Henry III died at his palace in Westminster. The legacy […]

A difference of three decades

On the 20th of January in 1236, Eleanor of Provence was crowned queen of England. A mounted troop and the […]

Blandin of Cornwall

On this 14th of January in 1236, Henry III married Eleanor of Provence in Canterbury. A fanciful story has come […]