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King Henry II (1133-1189), Reigned 1154-89

Sitter associated with 20 portraits
The first of the House of Plantagenet to rule England. The grandson of Henry I through his daughter Matilda, Henry invaded England in 1153 and under pressure from public opinion and the death of his heir King Stephen was forced to name Henry as his successor. He was crowned Henry II in 1154 and after years of civil war and unstable government he was quick to restore order with the aid of his talented chancellor Thomas Beckett. Domestic rivalries between Henry's four sons proved more difficult to combat. Their wrangling - culminating in a great rebellion against their father in 1173 - is said to have hounded Henry to a premature death.