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Ian Stone, historian | King Henry II of England
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King Henry II of England Tag

Return of the Archbishop: Thomas Becket lands in England

On 30 November 1170, that is 850 years ago today, Thomas Becket set sail for England from Wissant in the county of Boulogne. On 1 December he landed at Sandwich in Kent. He had not set foot in England for six years following his clash with King Henry II and subsequent exile. He came back to a mixed reception. Becket’s biographers play up the warmth shown to him by the...

Fréteval 22 July 1170: King Henry II and Thomas Becket reconciled?

On this day, 850 years ago, in a meadow close to the village of Fréteval in the Touraine region of France, King Henry II of England and Thomas Becket, archbishop of Canterbury, two estranged friends, enjoyed a long private meeting. This by itself was quite an accomplishment. Just six weeks previously, Henry had crowned his son Henry, now known as the Young King, as co-monarch of England, in...

King Henry II and Thomas Becket: the beginnings of a reconciliation?

On this day 850 years ago, Pope Alexander III (1159-81), by now weary and exasperated with both King Henry II of England (1154-89) and Thomas Becket, Henry’s archbishop of Canterbury, issued letters which set out terms for a ‘form of peace’ between the two men. Becket had been in exile since 2 November 1164 following his clashes with Henry over the rights and liberties of...