Episode 19 – Henry II and the House of God

To understand Henry II you have to start at the end. When he died, he had made no succession plan whatsoever. He was convinced that he had moulded the kingdom into a House of god run by pious monks and observant bishops. If the House of God pleased the lord, he would appoint a new successor, and if not, well the good riddance.

Though his policy of strengthening and dominating the church could be looked at as a political ploy to expand the royal prerogative, the more likely truth is that it was only a side effect of Henry’s spiritual mission.

The actions of early medieval monarchs often appear alien to us, and none more so than Henry II.

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