History Profile: King Henry V of England
Date of Death: 31 August 1422 — dysentery contracted while on campaign near Paris, France.
Spouse: Queen Catherine de Valois (married 6 June 1420)
Issue: King Henry VI of England — House Lancaster
King Henry V of England is one of the most celebrated of English monarchs. Immortalized by Shakespeare in “Henry V,” the myth created by the play conceals the real person whose short life was characterized by bloody warfare, a ferocious temper, and vindictive violence.
King Henry was thirteen years old when his father, Henry Bolingbroke successfully wrestled the throne of England away from his cousin King Richard II to become King Henry IV. Very soon after his father’s coronation, Owain Glyndŵr declared himself Prince of Wales and commenced one of the most successful wars of independence against English colonization in Welsh history.
The Battle of Agincourt. 26 October 1415.
Not surprisingly, King Henry IV sent Prince Henry to Wales to crush the Glyndŵr revolt, suffering personal injury when a Welsh arrow struck him in the face. Prince Henry responded with brutal vengeance in a pattern seen throughout his life, especially in his campaigns in France while king. King Henry V did not believe taking prisoners of war; those who surrendered after a defeat could expect to be executed. Henry believed that any person who challenged his authority, even when forced into military service against him, was a threat to his life and his crown. This included the women and children living in the towns and cities Henry laid siege to. It was a bloody reign.