Lead: King Henry II of England began his reign with few prospects for a successful rule. He succeeded beyond all expectations.
Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.
Content: When Henry was crowned in Westminster Abbey in CE 1154, the kingdom he inherited was a mess. For two decades a civil war between his mother, the Empress Matilda, and a usurper, King Stephen, had rent the unity of the Anglo-Norman lands. The Welsh had made inroads in the West and the Scots in the North, yet Henry was to become one of England’s great monarchs laying the groundwork for the Plantagenet dynasty that would last for 250 years. Through a combination of inheritance, a fortuitous marriage to the extraordinary Eleanor, Duchess of Aquitaine, and his own determined exertions, he brought under his control the largest assemblage of lands any English King had ruled to that point, from Dublin to Flanders from Scotland to the Pyrenees.