The ingratitude of the English

The Ordinance was barely a week old when the feudal host was called out to repel an invasion force being put together by Queen Eleanor and her ever faithful uncle Peter of Savoy in Flanders. ‘Let no one plead that the harvest is at hand,’ the summons rang out, for otherwise all would be lost to the ‘impious hands of men thirsting for your blood.’ It was perhaps no coincidence that the freed Marchers began an uprising in the west at the same time, doubtless hoping to keep the Montfortians occupied on two fronts. With the aid of Clare and the Welsh, Montfort was able to force the Marchers to terms and deal with yet a third threat, the papal legate. Appointed back in November, the future Clement IV finally saw his chance to get involved, but his attempt to enter England was thwarted on the grounds that he had no invitation from the king or community. When Simon suggested he put his skills to better use by preventing the invasion force from assembling, the legate wrote him a furious reply on 26 July 1264. He insisted he had tried to promote peace, but in any case ‘the heavens are stupefied’ by the ingratitude of the English. It was a papal legate, after all, who had saved England from an invasion almost half a century earlier and now they were treating him with less diplomatic finesse than what Tartars and pagans might normally expect. He didn’t add what everyone already knew, that the previous invasion had been by Louis’ father and the king he was trying to depose was Henry himself.

Clement IV with little indication of his nickname 'the fat'
Clement IV with little indication of his nickname ‘the fat’

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