Friday, April 16, 2010

We Few, We Happy Few, We Band of Brothers

Henry V
still can't decide if that's a
bad haircut or a beanie LOL

It was like Prince Hal had a whole 'nother personality in there just waiting on Pops to pop off so it could be displayed. He still didn't get hitched b/c he had 3 babybros, but he ceased carousing posthaste & showed off that he'd really been paying attn to those kingship lessons after all. Peeps were like in awe of what a forceful, dynamic king he was. He decided to resurrect that whole Hundred Years' War thing & went chevauchee'ing thru France w/ his bros & peeps in a manner that would've made Longshanks proud. That's the fancy Frenchie way they says slash n burn LOL

1st he besieged Harfleur & took it posthaste.  After garrisoning it Henry decided to march to his own stronghold of Calais.  Peeps were all um, Your Majesty, wouldn't ya rather go by boat?  Tis Frenchie-held territory btwn here & there, yknow.  Henry rolled his eyes & said I can read a map TYVM & why should we shell out groats for stuff when we can just grab supplies from the Frenchies?  Kings are such penny-pinchers.

Sure enough, a Frenchie force en route to Harfleur stumbled across the English march at a wide & muddy spot in the road called Agincourt.  Henry made his famous St Crispin's Day Speech (o wait, was that one just Shakespeare? LOL) to rally the troops, who were not just outnumbed but pretty darn tired from all that marching.  The French nobles all wanted to be in the vanguard (1st wave of attackers) b/c they were all still ticked about Crecy & Poitiers & so confident they would crush the English that no one wanted to miss out on the action of a fast battle.  This meant their crossbow peeps couldn't fire, but the English longbows could.  The mud played to English advantage b/c the Frenchies wore heavier armor & once ya got knocked off your horse, picture turtle on its back LOL  Henry sat around a cpl hrs waiting for the Frenchies to attack, but they didn't, so he got impatient & yelled FIRE!  A lovely hail of arrows rained down on the creme de la creme of the Frenchies b4 they knew what hit em.  Most of the important peeps demised.  Once out of arrows, Henry sent in the common dudes, unhindered by heavy armor, w/ their hatchets & short swords to commence polishing off the Frenchies.  Tis said Humphrey took a belly wound (& miraulously recovered; that didn't happen often) & Henry galloped over to stand over his baby bro & slash at Frenchies until Gloucester could be hauled off to safety behind the lines.  In 3 hrs the Frenchies were all COURSE LOIN! COURSE LOIN! (that's RUN AWAY! RUN AWAY! in Frenchiespeak ROFL even tho it sounds like they're ordering either dinner or castrations PMSL) & everyone was all YAY TEAM LANCASTER!  Henry did the happy dance & went back to London as a big fat hero to get more groats & peeps for more Frenchie crushing.

contemporary miniature of the Battle of Agincourt

Of course, to be fair, the French king Charles was a lunatic. He thought he was made of glass & would break. Seriously. He went catatonic a lot. He had 3 sons that were rather useless, tho there were natch the requisite power-jockeying unks who elbowed the kidlets out of the way & tried to get Henry to go away, but alas there was infighting btwn the Armangnac & Orleans factions & b4 ya knew it Henry was practically in Paris.  He scampered merrily thru Normandy & got it back.  The Frenchies were 1st quaking & then outraged when nutjob Charles signed the Treaty of Troyes w/ the invader.

The youngest French princess, Catherine, was not yet spoken for, so Henry decided he would marry her to solidify his claim to the French crown.  She was the sis of Richard's wife Isabella.  Henry IV had tried to keep Isabella & marry her off to Henry V after Richard was deposed, but Isabella glared at him fiercely & said um NO I ain't marrying no peeps what kilt my DH Richard TYVM!  Finally they let her go back to France, where she later married a Duke of Orleans & demised in childbirth at the age of 19.  Now Henry was to wed her baby sister.  Isabella would not have been amused.

marriage of Catherine of Valois to Henry V
at the Church of St John, Paris

All the Frenchies went ballistic when Charles signed away his kidlet sons' rights, saying Henry & Catherine & their offspring would succeed him as rulers of France. Eventually this is where Joan of Arc comes from, but it took the Frenchies a good 10 yrs or so to pick their jaws up off the floor & really start resisting w/ any sock-it-to-em force. Mind, it only took Henry a few yrs to do what Edward III had started so long ago, & the Frenchies were grudgingly impressed w/ this mighty warrior, tho not so fussed that they wanted him as king even if he did wed one of their royal line.  PFFFT TO THE ENGLISH!

#2 bro Thomas, Duke of Clarence, was kilt at the battle of Bauge, where the Frenchies were reinforced by a passel of blue peeps from the Auld Alliance & won one.  The Scots knew how to fight the English real good by now.  The French were so happy they made a Scots peep Constable of France.  Clarence was left in charge whilst Henry & Catherine were honeymooning.  #3 bro John, Duke of Bedford, had to step up as commander & he married Anne of Brittany in order to get a nice alliance & more peeps & groats from them.

So after the wedding trip to England & getting the new queen coronated, Henry left his pregnant bride & scampered back to France to mop up & avenge his demised bro, pleased to hear Catherine produced a healthy male heir at Windsor Castle, 1st time out of the gate. 

Windsor Castle,
birthplace of Henry VI

He captured the castles of Montereau, Melun, & Dreux, & went on to lay siege at the next pocket of uppity resisting Frenchies.  I'M LE ROI NOW, DAMMIT! he yelled, shaking his fist & showing off the scary side of his face.  Charles was in another catatonic fit & rumored to be demising (he would shortly).

Henry never saw his only son, b/c when little Henry (they were NOT original in naming) was 9 mos old, his sire died of dysentery at the siege of Meaux, aged 34. Henry VI has the distinction of being the youngest king of England to succeed EVER. Uncle Bedford took over the fighting effort in France to preserve the little king's inheritance while a nice lengthy regency under Uncle Gloucester was set in place back at Windsor.....

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