Henry wants his youngest son, the future King Johnto inherit his throne, while his estranged and imprisoned wife, Duchess Eleanor of Aquitainetemporarily released from prison for the holidays, favors their oldest surviving son, the future King Richard the Lionheart. Katharine Hepburn as Eleanor of Aquitaine. As a ruse, Henry agrees to give Alais to Richard and make him heir-apparent. He makes a side deal with Eleanor for her freedom in return for Aquitaineto be given to John.
The son of Geoffrey of Anjou and Matilda daughter of Henry I against whom the barons of England and Normandy rebelled in favour of the usurper Stephen, his childhood was dominated by war and intrigue as his mother and father strove to regain their inheritance.
From the age of 9 it was the young Henry to whom that inheritance would fall, and on whom the responsibility of holding it together lay.
Consequently, Henry II, king at the age of 22, was mature beyond his years and obsessed with the restoration of his ancestral rights. Though not handsome, Henry was larger than most men, stocky and quite powerful: His energy was overwhelming, and his anger legendary, as was his love of hunting.
He dressed simply in hunting clothes and was rarely seen either out of the saddle or without a hawk on his arm. Yet paradoxically, this archetypal man of action was an intensely private intellectual. Multi-lingual, he liked to retire with a book, was well-polished in letters and enjoyed scholarly debate.
He was also very approachable and never forgot a face. He shunned regular hours and his propensity to change his schedule at short notice was infamous. This often translated into an ability to react to unforeseen circumstances with astonishing rapidity and decisiveness.
What he could not abide was betrayal. He vaunted loyalty above all else, and his fits of rage against those he deemed as traitors are so melodramatic as to be unbelievable. On more than one occasion, he is said to have frothed at the mouth in a screaming rage, and is even known to have chewed the straw on the floor in apoplexy.
This Henry was frightening, and could reduce international magnates to quivering wrecks.
Yet he understood honest opposition and could deal with it equably. He would manipulate the courts, exploit any loophole and even break his word to recover and defend his ancient rights as he saw them.
This governed all his actions: In his personal life, his intense privacy seems to have alienated those who were closest to him. The perceived betrayals of first Becket and then Eleanor both of whom were only acting in the interests of their own personal offices seem to have hurt him sorely; but the most wounding betrayals were those of his sons.
Yet these very betrayals were a natural consequence of his obsession with his rights: He held his kingdom together by force of his personality, but that was his greatest weakness as well as his greatest strength.
This is not incorrect. However, the marriage of a daughter into the House of Anjou was a very different thing in the eyes of his Norman barons to the marriage of a son. It meant that instead of Normandy taking over Anjou, Anjou was effectively taking over Normandy. So when Henry I died inthe majority of his barons transferred their loyalty to his nephew Stephen of Blois, against Matilda.
Henry, born ingrew up during the civil war that followed. At the same time, Geoffrey of Anjou conquered Normandy and very astutely passed its patrimony to his son, effectively taking himself an Angevin usurper out of the picture.
By the age of 22, he was king of England, his attitudes forged in the fires of civil war. This in itself was to have far-reaching political consequences, and at the time the marriage scandalised the houses of Europe.
In fact, Geoffrey strongly advised Henry not to get involved. She was also closely linked to Henry by blood, being within the fifth degree of kinship which was prohibited by the church, and this was precisely the excuse by which Louis had got his marriage to her annulled.
Still, the marriage worked. Their characters complimented each other: She bore him 6 children who survived: Yet, like Henry himself, she was fiercely protective of her inheritance, and valued it above loyalty to her husband.
This would inevitably result in friction, with Eleanor supporting her sons against their father in defence of Aquitaine. The most persistent rumour was that Eleanor turned against her husband out of jealousy over his infidelities.
Henry is supposed to have contemplated divorcing Eleanor for Rosamund inand wagging tongues suggested that Eleanor poisoned her the year after. It has also been suspected that Henry had a liaison with Margaret, daughter of King Louis, who had been married to Henry the Younger and was then betrothed to Richard for years whilst she remained in the custody of Henry.
But Henry and Eleanor had been to all intents and purposes estranged since the birth of John inand her actions are always geared towards her sons and Aquitaine. This view was explicitly laid out in his will ofbut is likely to have been in place at least 10 years before that. In this grand plan, the central patrimony of England, Normandy and Anjou went to his eldest son, Henry the Younger; Aquitaine was put in the charge of Richard; Geoffrey got Brittany and John was allocated Ireland.
However, he did not include them fully enough in the running of the kingdom this is especially true of Henry the Younger and failed to keep them adequately informed of his intentions.The play's premier was in the Ambassador Theatre, New York City on 3 March , directed by Noel Willman featuring Rosemary Harris as Queen Eleanor and Robert Preston as King Henry II, James Rado as Richard the Lionhearted and Christopher Walken as his lover, King Philip of France.
Such is the case with James Goldman’s play, “Lion in Winter.” The setting is King Henry II’s palace at Chinon, France at Christmastime, Henry has assembled his family for the celebration in order to ascertain once and for all his succession.
The Lion in Winter is a play by James Goldman, depicting the personal and political conflicts of Henry II of England, his wife Eleanor of Aquitaine, their children and their guests during Christmas Henry has three sons: Richard, John and Geoffrey are all eager for the crown, and while Henry has some ideas about succession, so does his wife, the regal and cunning Eleanor of Aquitaine.
Nov 16, · Joanna Lumley as Queen Eleanor and Robert Lindsay as King Henry II in The Lion in Winter play is the relationship between Herny II and his once beloved Queen 4/5.
The Lion in Winter, Goldman's fourth play, was first produced on Broadway in During that same year, he collaborated with celebrated composer and lyricist Stephen Sondheim on a made-for-television musical called Evening Primrose (), about a group of people secretly living in a department store.