Henry II was the first of eight Plantagenet kings. He neither ignored his island kingdom nor dragged it into continental trouble. Along with Alfred, Edward I, and Elizabeth I, Henry II ranks as one of the best British monarchs.
Henry II was born in Le Mans, France in 1133. Geoffrey Plantagenet, Count of Anjou, and Matilda, daughter of Henry I, were his parents. Henry's younger brothers were Geoffrey and William (Bingham 22; Tabuteau 185).
Henry's father gave Henry the best education possible at that time. Peter of Saintes, who was a well-known poet, was Henry's first tutor. Adelard of Bath also taught Henry. William of Conches and Henry's other previous tutors instilled in Henry the appreciation for literature. Soon after Henry II's education, he became Duke of Normandy. With the death of his father, Henry II became the Count of Anjou at age eighteen. Once he became Count of Anjou, Henry married Eleanor of Aquitaine on May 18, 1152, in the Cathedral of Poitiers. Their children were William, Henry, Matilda, Richard, Geoffrey, Eleanor, Joan, and John (Bingham 22; "Henry" 835-836; Tabuteau 185).
Once Stephen, who was a well-known king, died, Henry II became lord of all land between the Pyrenees and Scotland ("Henry" 835). Henry had to deal with problems as soon as he became king. Once the Danish kingdoms established themselves in Ireland, the Danish colonists were at war with Irish people and the Irish people were at war with themselves. King Henry II realized he needed to stop all the chaos with a conquest of Ireland. In a few months, every part of Ireland except Connaught was under King Henry II's control. The regions...