Henry III

Henry III

Medieval palace at the Tower of London

r 1216-72

Famous for being a 9-year-old king

He became king when he was only 9 in the aftermath of Magna Carta and the Barons’ War.

Henry III at the Tower of London

Henry III did a great deal to transform The Tower of London into what we see today. He improved and expanded the royal palace, building beautifully decorated lodgings for himself and his queen. He also vastly improved the castle’s defences. Much of the first stone curtain wall was built in his reign.

Henry did not spend a great deal of time at the Tower – he stayed only 11 times in 56 years. Although it was important that the Tower was fit for a king, it was not a favourite residence.

Henry used the Tower specifically as a bolt-hole in times of political crisis. During his reign, lions, a polar bear and an elephant were kept at the Tower, all diplomatic gifts from other rulers. 

In 1258, barons led by Simon de Montfort demanded radical reform of the way the country was run. Civil war ensued.

From his tomb in Westminster Abbey and contemporary descriptions we know Henry III was about 1.67m (5’ 6”) tall and had a drooping left eyelid. When he died he was suceeded by his son Edward I.

 

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