Henry VI of England (1421-1461) displayed qualities that would have done credit to a monk, but not to a Medieval King. He was gentle, naïve, chaste, prudish and pious, and constantly engaged in mediation and prayer. After loosing his French possessions, Henry suffered a mental breakdown, relapsing into a state of passive withdrawal, wholly indifferent to what went on around him. Meanwhile, his relatives fought for power, resulting in a civil war known as “the war of the roses”.
The Baby King
Henry was born on December 6, 1421. His father was the Great Henry V (1387-1422), victor of Agincourt and conqueror of France, who died within a year of his son's birth. His mother was Catherine (1401-1437), a daughter of Charles VI “The Mad” (1368-1422), King of France. She became a widow at the age of 20, and soon formed a liaison with a Welsh squire, Owen Tudor (±1400-1461), busying herselve raising a new family1.
As a baby, Henry succeeded his father as King Henry VI of England on September 1, and his grandfather as King Henry II of France on October 11, 1422. He was frequently paraded at public ceremonies and crowned in England in 1429 and in France in 1431. During his minority, Henry's uncle, Humphrey (1390-1447), Duke of Gloucester2, was protector of England. He was a fine scholar, but he was quarrelsome and a poor statesman; he was usually add odds with the Council.