Henry the Young King, 1155-1183 Matthew Strickland

Publication date:
06 Mar 2018
Yale University Press
496 pages: 216 x 140mm
16 b-w illus.
Sales territories:


Buy this eBook

You can purchase this title from a number of online retailers:

This first modern study of Henry the Young King, eldest son of Henry II but the least known Plantagenet monarch, explores the brief but eventful life of the only English ruler after the Norman Conquest to be created co-ruler in his father’s lifetime. Crowned at fifteen to secure an undisputed succession, Henry played a central role in the politics of Henry II’s great empire and was hailed as the embodiment of chivalry. Yet, consistently denied direct rule, the Young King was provoked first into heading a major rebellion against his father, then to waging a bitter war against his brother Richard for control of Aquitaine, dying before reaching the age of thirty having never assumed actual power. In this remarkable history, Matthew Strickland provides a richly colored portrait of an all-but-forgotten royal figure tutored by Thomas Becket, trained in arms by the great knight William Marshal, and incited to rebellion by his mother Eleanor of Aquitaine, while using his career to explore the nature of kingship, succession, dynastic politics, and rebellion in twelfth-century England and France.

An expert on political culture, chivalry, and medieval warfare, Matthew Strickland is professor of medieval history at the University of Glasgow, Scotland.

“Strickland expertly addresses this imbalanced legacy, building on his previous work to argue that Henry’s role in twelfth-century Angevin politics is not only more complex than has been previously considered, but is also crucial to understanding the nature of events at the time . . . in renegotiating familiar source material, Strickland has provided readers with a fresh picture of an important Medieval figure who has long been deserving of such an excellent biography.”—Thomas Chadwick, Royal Studies

“Strickland’s detailed and very readable biography of Henry, the Young King will certainly ensure that his subject is no longer the least known of the Angevin kings.”—William M. Aird, Northern History


'In Matthew Strickland’s study of King Henry, royal son of Henry II and Eleanor of Aquitaine, we have not just the fascinating narrative of a flawed hero’s turbulent life but also a brilliant analysis of the culture of politics at the Angevin court.' - John Gillingham, author of Richard I

'This important study of Henry II’s son, the Young King, provides many new insights into the culture and politics of the Angevin Empire, from tournaments to rebellions. The evidence is skilfully used to tease out the character of a neglected figure, and to set his career in a wide European context.' - Michael Prestwich, author of Edward I

'This book is brilliant; it is the best biography of a medieval ruler I have ever read. It will be a lasting monument to both the Young King Henry and to Matthew Strickland's considerable scholarship.' - Stephen Church, author of King John: England, Magna Carta and the Making of a Tyrant