In the year 1244

Moving to the next house over, we find the Simon and Eleanor de Montfort fully restored to royal favour. Henry granted them their long-sought marriage portion (dowry), pardoned nearly £2,000 of their debts and gave them Kenilworth Castle. Henry had been shamed into acting after the Montforts enlisted the support of the queen’s mother, Beatrice of Provence. She was scandalized that Henry would make all kinds of gifts to her, his mother-in-law, but not to his own sister. ‘Now, now, young man, this won’t do at all.’ Henry also needed Simon’s support for some upcoming battles. First there was Scotland and King Alexander II again pressing his claim to the northern counties. Henry gathered up an army, marched to the border, unfurled his brand-new dragon standard, and like that they had a new peace treaty. Wales was also in tumult after Gruffydd ap Llywelyn fell to his death while trying to escape from the Tower of London. Henry couldn’t afford an army there as well, sent a contingent of household knights instead but they were ambushed and annihilated. That meant camping in Wales next year. Finally, he asked Parliament for a tax to offset his enormous debts. Their response was to present him a constitution that would put severe restraints on his authority. He said no way, didn’t get the tax, and that was the last heard of the ‘paper constitution’ as it became known, because it was only paper.

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