King Henry V
Photo Credit: Everett Collection

King Henry V

Henry V

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About Him

Grew Up… in early 15th-century England. As a boy, Henry watched civil war divide and embitter the people of his country. Henry spent – or shall we say misspent – much of his youth at the Boar’s Head, a tavern on the seedy side of London. Now that he’s King, it seems the only advantage to having had a wild adolescence is Henry’s unpretentious knowledge of common English life. Otherwise, he has a past to live down.

Living… in England. Following the death of his father, Prince Henry now assumes the throne. Though Henry is at heart a good person, he has a lot to learn about the virtues of Christian kingship.

Visiting… France. At the advice of his Archbishop, Henry lays claim to French lands based on his roots in the French royal family. With the support of noblemen, clergy, and a sizable army, Henry now crosses the Channel to invade.

Profession… King of England. He becomes monarch at a young age and has the joint task of ruling over his subjects while trying to display the character of an ideal Christian king. After his somewhat debauched youth, salvaging his image looks to be a difficult task. His campaign in France, however, is the ideal proving ground for his nobility and prowess on the battlefield.

Interests… the health and well-being of England. All of Henry’s attributes and interests lead back to his central concern for his people and his country. His skill in battle, his romantic interest in France’s Princess Kate, and even his sense of humor all connect to his love and stewardship for his nation.

Relationship Status… courting Katharine, France’s Princess. Henry is witty and sophisticated while wooing the fair Kate. Setting aside family differences, however, may be a touch complicated.

Challenge… winning the war against France. Key to his efforts is the loyalty he seeks to inspire in his men. His claim that in battle all men become equal is key to the success of his campaign against France. As he tells his troops, “We few, we happy few, we band of brothers. For he today who sheds his blood with me shall be my brother. Be he ne'er so vile, this day shall gentle his condition, and gentlemen in England now abed shall think themselves accursed they were not here, and hold their manhoods cheap whilst any speaks, that fought with us upon St. Crispin's Day!”

Personality…  merciful, compassionate, and noble. As king, Henry is of course the ultimate nobleman, but he is also a noble man. He is able to relate to the common person, while holding himself to a high standard as judge, military leader, and sovereign. He inspires others, by speech and by example: “Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more; or close the wall up with our English dead!”

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