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June 21, 2011 @ 10:44 pm

31. Henry VI (Wars of the Roses)

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Henry V's untimely death in 1422 leaves a baby on the throne in the form of Henry VI and marks a total reversal in English fortunes. Disasters in France at the hands of Joan of Arc are eclipsed by the Wars of the Roses, with the Yorkist forces of Richard Duke of York and Warwick the Kingmaker facing off against the Lancastrians led by Margaret of Anjou and the Beaufort family. This is a dramatic period of numerous battles and the deaths of the most high profile figures in the land and amidst this chaos is a man clearly not well suited to the role of king and who proves to be one of the least capable monarchs in English history.

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  • David Nolan

    Clearly Henry VI was never going to be awarded the Rex Factor, though I did think you were overly harsh in your subjectivity scoring. Your comments gave him some credit for his educational initiatives and investments, which mean he should surely have been given at least 1 point? Other more successful monarchs like Alfred the Great did get points for their cultural interests. I rather got the impression that you were determined to give Henry as many noughts as possible. Don’t worry, I won’t hold it against you. Bizarrely, as a rather “non-battley” type myself (I would have been a useless medieval monarch), your description of some of Henry’s failings rather endeared him to me. I loved Ali’s description of him as ‘the Switzerland of monarchs’.

    Aug 4, 2011 at 8:09 pm
  • rexfactor

    Probably a fair point - he was definitely more subjectivity-minded than any other factor and did leave some important legacies. Maybe he did deserve one point - but then again, would you have wanted to have been subject to the king who plunged the country into the Wars of the Roses (admittedly in a rather passive way!) ?

    Aug 5, 2011 at 9:38 am
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