Henry V (born 16 September 1386) was the King of England from 1413 until his death on 31 August 1422. He was born into the House of Lancaster and at a young age during the reign of his father Henry IV, he gained military experience fighting the Welsh at the Battle of Shrewsbury which later in his reign would prove instrumental in turning England into one of Europe’s most dominant military power. Even though his reign was short, he is regarded as one of medieval England’s most successful warrior kings through his military prowess and success in the Hundred Years’ War (1337-1453) against France and most notably his most famous victory at the Battle of Agincourt in 1415.
King Richard II was overthrown by his cousin Henry Bolingbroke, who was Henry V’s father, depicted in Shakespeare’s previous play, King Richard II. King Henry IV Part 1 focuses on his son, Henry V (Prince Harry, or Hal) leading up to the Battle of Shrewsbury. Historically, most of the facts within the play remain unchanged. The battle was fought with one side being led by King Henry IV and the other by Henry “Harry Hotspur” Percy, with the battle ending shortly after Hotspur was struck down by an arrow. In this battle, Henry V was shot in the face by an arrow and almost lost his life.
However, the play depicts a final fight between Hal and Hotspur, in which Hotspur is ultimately killed.
|1386||Born into the House of Lancaster|
|1403||First military battle, hit in the face by an arrow but survived|
|1413||Henry accedes to the throne at the age of 25 upon the death of his father, Henry IV|
|1414||Henry adopts the claims of Edward III to the French crown|
|1415||Henry thwarts the Cambridge plot, an attempt by a group of nobles to replace him on the throne with his cousin, Edmund Mortisner, Earl of March.|
|1415||Henry renews the war against France in order to win back territories lost by his ancestors. After a five-week siege, he captures Harfleur the leading port in north-west France.|
|1415||Battle of Agincourt, at which 6,000 Frenchmen are killed, while less than 400 English soldiers lose their lives.|
|1416||Death of Owain Glyndwr, leader of the Welsh revolt.|
|1420||Henry marries Catherine, daughter of Charles VI. Under the treaty of Troyes, Henry will become King of France on the death of Charles VI.|
|1421||Birth of Prince Henry, later Henry VI.|
|1422||Henry V dies in France of dysentery before he can succeed to the French throne. King Charles VI of France dies the following month, leaving Henry VI, Henry’s 10-month-old son, as King of France and England.|
King Henry IV Part 1 follows Hal (Prince Harry), who eventually becomes Henry V in the play. It focuses somewhat heavily on Henry the V as it introduces to us a young and troublesome prince Harry, far away from the serious, inspirational king he would later become. Part 1 unveils that Hal is more of a slacker/delinquent than a prince and basically robs people and spends his time with shady characters in taverns drinking.
King Henry IV is very disappointed in his son as it is common knowledge that Hal, the heir to the throne, conducts himself in a manner unbefitting royalty. The threat of a civil war forces Henry IV to call Hal back to return to the palace. King Henry expresses his deep sorrow and anger at his son’s behaviour and threatens him with his right to the throne stating that Hotspur’s valour would be more important than his bloodline. It is here that Hal decides that it is time to reform, and he vows that he will abandon his wild ways and vanquish Hotspur in battle in order to reclaim his good name. The civil war is decided in a great battle at Shrewsbury. Harry boldly saves his father’s life in battle and finally wins back his father’s approval and affection. Harry also challenges and defeats Hotspur in single combat, effectively winning back his inheritance to the throne.
- Monmouth Castle in Wales – His birth place.
- Ireland – He was in royal service and travelled with the then king Richard II at a young age.
- Westminster Abbey – Where he was crowned. Agincourt – His most famous victory.
- Château de Vincennes- Where he died.
How did he survive the arrow through his face?
Why was he so troublesome in his younger years?
How did he transform England into a European powerhouse through great leadership in such a short reign?