Henry VI

Henry VI

Chaucers moat Tower

r 1422-61, 1470-1

Famous for being an infant king

When he was only a baby Henry became king of France as well as England as a result of the victories and negotiations of his father, Henry V.

Henry VI at the Tower of London

The Tower of London was a key stronghold in the conflict now known as the Wars of the Roses.

In 1460, Yorkist forces besieged the Tower. Cannons were set up on the other side of the Thames to bombard the fortress and Henry’s men were forced to surrender. 

With his Yorkist rival installed as King Edward IV, the deposed Henry was on the run. Captured in 1465, he was taken ‘as a traitor and criminal’ to the Tower.

Five years later he was released by his supporters and briefly reinstated as king, but it was not to last. Henry was overturned once more and returned to the Tower where he died in mysterious circumstances on 21 May 1471. Edward’s supporters claimed he died of grief, although others said his corpse bled on the pavement when it was laid out in St Paul’s. According to tradition, he was stabbed while praying in the Wakefield Tower.

He possibly suffered from catatonic schizophrenia. For over a year he didn’t recognise anyone or seem to understand anything. When he recovered, he had no memory of the time he’d been ill.

He was made king twice and was deposed twice in favour of his distant cousin, Edward IV, the first king of the House of York.

Henry VI wasn't the only murder at the Tower. Richard III is believed to be responsible for the death of the two Princes, who mysteriously disappeared from the Tower in 1483.



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