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A Year: Day to Day Men: 6th of December, Solar Year 2017

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On December 6, 1421, Henry VI was born. The only child of Henry V,  he succeeded to the English throne at the age of nine months upon his father’s death, and succeeded to the French throne on the death of his maternal grandfather Charles VI shortly afterwards.

Completely unlike his aggressive father, Henry had a timid, shy, and passive personality, seemed mostly well-intentioned, and disliked warfare and violence; he was also at times mentally unstable. This resulted in various nobles (who often had diverging interests among themselves) attempting to establish control over him, throughout his reign. He proved an indecisive and ineffective ruler, overall incapable of leading his country in times of adversity.

As the situation involving the contesting of the claims to the throne in France worsened, political instability in England also increased. General misrule brought in waves of civil unrest and a breakdown in law and order. Parts of the English nobility began to resent the king’s favouritism, his inability to defend their lands in France, and some of his overall policy decisions.

Partially in the hope of achieving peace, in 1445 Henry married Charles VII’s niece, Margaret of Anjou, an ambitious and strong-willed woman who would come to influence much of the King’s decisions and become an effective power behind the throne and whose scheming would widen the rift among the English aristocracy. The peace policy failed, leading to the murder of William de la Pole, one of Henry’s key advisors. By 1453, Calais was Henry’s only remaining territory on the continent.

Henry VI was deposed from the throne on March 29, 1461 by Richard of York’s son who took the throne as Edward IV and imprisoned Henry in the Tower of London in 1465. Henry was restored to the throne in 1470 only to be imprisoned again in the Tower in 1471 where he died on May 21, 1471, possibly killed on the orders of Edward IV.

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