Wheel of Fortune

On 14 June 1261 Henry III was at Winchester, the city of his birth, to proclaim that Pope Alexander IV had absolved him and his family of their oaths to preserve and protect the Provisions of Oxford, the reforming legislation meant to put the kingdom on a sounder footing. He had commissioned the painting of a Wheel of Fortune in the Great Hall of Winchester, perhaps in keeping with his firm belief in charity, and doubtless he felt that his fortunes, which had sunk so low when the Provisions were enacted three years earlier, were definitely on the rebound. Indeed, while this bit of royal duplicity reunited the barons in a show of strength that summer, by autumn the king had succeeded in gutting the reform movement. All the magnates had been subdued except one, Simon de Montfort, who left for exile in France. Henry knew Simon was as much a threat abroad as he was at home and was determined to deal with him there, but in two years’ time the wheel had swung around and Montfort was marching on London.

The Round Table at Winchester, perhaps patterned on Henry's Wheel of Fortune
             The Round Table at Winchester, perhaps patterned on Henry’s Wheel of Fortune

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