Wars in France, revolt in England, Civil War in England

henry II
signing magna carta After Henry II, English in started running into problems, either with the Barons, the people or from pretenders to the throne.

King John was defeated by the barons and only kept the throne by signing the Magna Carta, which stated that the king was not above the law, that he only ruled by the will of the people, and that if he broke his part of the contract, then the people had the right to overthrow the king. The whole episode amounted to a civil war, and was probably not as cosy as the painting on the left depicts

Continental wars continued to cost England more money than it could afford. England soon lost all its French possessions apart from Gascony (Bordeaux). Edward II's forays into Europe did not succeed in re-conquering any ground.

Between 1370 and 1413, Kings were dethroned, Peasants revolted and the House of Lancaster seized the throne. Henry V's reign was brief and colourful (1413 to 22)

english in France
The English are a nation for remembering victories and forgetting defeats. Henry V's victory at Agincourt, thanks to Shakespeare, is well remembered. "Cry God for Harry, England and St George" But the territorial gains that Agincourt brought were soon lost, and even Gascony had fallen. By 1453 only Calais remained as an English foothold in Europe
The consequence of the loss of the French territories was that the Royal House of Lancaster became discredited. A series of coups and counter-coups, intrigue and murder gripped the throne. A litany of kings came and went between the battle of St Albans in 1455 and the battle of Bosworth in 1485. The result was a new royal house - the Tudors. Henry VII seized the throne on winning the battle of Bosworth and England was to enter a new period of history
History is written by the victors, and sometimes by Shakespeare. The victors were the Tudors and they wrote of the defeated king's epitaph. Nobody will ever now know whether he did murder the little princes in the tower. He probably was not a hunch back, but his body was flung into an unmarked grave after the battle so we will never know that either
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