Henry II

Henry, the eldest son of Matilda, the daughter of Henry I, and Geoffrey Plantagent, Count of Anjou, was born in Le Mans in 1133.

Although he married twice, Henry only had two legitimate children, William and Matilda. When his son William drowned in 1120, Henry decided to ask his barons to accept his daughter as the country's next ruler. The barons were not happy about this but after much discussion they accepted Henry's request.

When Henry I died in 1135, some of the barons did not keep their promise to support Matilda. The Normans had never had a woman leader. Norman law stated that all property and rights should be handed over to men. To the Normans this meant that her husband Geoffrey of Anjou would become their next ruler.

The people of Anjou (Angevins) were considered to be barbarians by the Normans. Most Normans were unwilling to accept an Angevin ruler and instead decided to help Stephen, the son of one of William the Conqueror's daughters, to become king.

For the next eighteen years there was civil war between the supporters of Matilda and Stephen.

As neither side was strong enough to achieve an outright victory, the result was a long conflict that created a great deal of hardship for the people of England.

Edward, 1042-1066 William I, 1066-1087 William II, 1087-1100 Henry I, 1100-1135 Stephen, 1135-1154 Henry II, 1154-1189 Richard I, 1189-1199 John, 1199-1216 Henry III, 1216-1272 Edward I, 1272-1307 Edward II, 1307-1327 Edward III, 1327-1377 Richard II, 1377-1399 Henry IV, 1399-1413 Henry V, 1413-1422 Henry VI, 1422-1461 Edward IV, 1461-1483 Edward V, 1483-1483 Richard III, 1483-1485 Henry VII, 1485-1509 Henry VIII, 1509-1547 Edward VI, 1547-1553 Mary, 1553-1558 Elizabeth I, 1558-1603 James I, 1603-1625 Charles I, 1625-1649 Charles II, 1660-1685 James II, 1685-1688 Mary II, 1688-1694 William III, 1688-1702 Anne, 1702-1714 George I, 1714-1727 George II, 1727-1760 George III, 1760-1820 George IV, 1820-1830 William IV, 1830-1837 Victoria, 1837-1901 Edward VII, 1901-1910 George V, 1910-1936 Edward VIII, 1936 George VI, 1936-1952