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FRANCIS LANCELOTT, ESQ. Queens of England. Vol.1.

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FRANCIS LANCELOTT, ESQ.
Queens of England. Vol.1.
page 79



right of hia wife, and nothing whatever to John, who, on this account, was nicknamed Lackland. At this period hurst forth those violent family troubles which embittered the closing years of Henry's life, and were, in the belief of the church, the just vengeance of heaven for the murder of the sainted Becket. King Henry had again excited the well-founded jealousy of Eleanora by retaining a3 a mistress the Princess Alice, who had previously been betrothed to his son Richard, and who, there is too much reason to fear, fell a victim to the heinous passions of her violent father-in-law. The hostility of his sons was occasioned by his base conduct to their mother, and by his withholding from them what they claimed as their rights. Trinco Henry had been crowned sovereign of England, Normandy, and Anjou, Richard had been solemnly inaugurated Count of Poitou, and on Geoffrey had been conferred the duchy of Brittany. But as King Henry had no intention that any of his song should exercise independent authority during his lifetime, he, under the pretext of guardianship, so ordered matters, that they could not exert their royal prerogatives without the consent of himself or his deputies. Urged by their mother Eleanora, and supported by the barons of Aquitaine, Richard and Geoffrey resolved to possess themselves of the entire government of their duchies, and to cease paying homage to their father, who could only demand it as their guardian, the French King being their suzerain. These proceedings greatly offended King Henry, who was especially angry with Richard, as he had again pressed the often-repeated demand for the hand of his betrothed, the Princess Alice. Matters were in this state when King Henry embarked for the continent. On his reaching Guienne, in July, 1173, his sons, Henry, Richard, and Geoffrey, fled to Paris, where they were well received by Louis the Seventh, who did all in his power to widen the breach between them and their royal sire. Eleanora also endeavoured to escape to the French court, but the Norman soldiers overtook her in her flight, and brought her back, disguised as she was, to Bourdcaux. King Henry's rage at these proceedings knew no bounds, and he revenged himself by conveying his consort to England, where he closely imprisoned her, with the exception of one short interval, for a period of sixteen years. He also seized on his spirited young daughter-in-law, Marguerite, because, in defiance of entreaties and threats, she had remained in Aquitaine with Queen Eleanora, and resolutely refused to be crowned with her husband Prince Henry as Queen of England, because the late primate Becket was not permitted to perform the ceremony. "With these fair captives, Henry landed at Southampton in July, 1173, whence he proceeded to Canterbury, and to appease the wrath of the Pope, and of the nobles and people of England, did a highly humiliating penance at the shrine of Beeket. On approaching the city he alighted from his horse, and, barefooted and clad in coarse woollen garments, walked from the church of St. lhmstan, withoutside the city, to the tomb of the sainted martyr, where, kneeling down, he of his own free will was scourged on hia bare shoulders by the prior and monks of the place. A degrading sacrifice to popular feeling, which in those days the mightiest of monarchs were at times forced to make. Scarcely had Henry left Canterbury for London, when news arrived of the defeat of his son Prince Richard, near Bury, and the capture of William, the Scotch King, who had taken advantage of the troubles in which II enry was involved, to cross the border, and pillage the northern counties. Indeed, success now followed success with such rapidity, that ali the territories wh ich j ust previously had been in open revolt, were, as if by magic, reduced to peace and subjection. But although the English people attributed their King's good fortune to the intercession of the sainted Becket, and he himself exultingly returned thanks for his victories at the shrine of the revered St. Thomas,his achievements softened not his heart towards his family.


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