Born: September 1387
Died: 31 August 1422 (dysentery)
Birthplace: Monmouth, Wales
Best known as: The king of England who won victory at Agincourt
Henry V was the great warrior king of medieval England whose brief reign included his conquest of most of Normandy (northern France). Henry was a skilled military strategist who died before realizing his ambition to conquer France, but his attempt made England one of the greatest powers in Europe. The son of Henry Bolingbroke and Mary Bohun, young Henry was not born in direct line to the throne; his father was a cousin to King Richard II. When Richard exiled Bolingbroke in 1398, young Henry went to live with the king, who took him on a military campaign to Ireland. Henry proved himself on the battlefield and Richard knighted him in 1399. But Bolingbroke usurped Richard (1399) and became Henry IV -- and suddenly young Henry was the Duke of Lancaster and heir apparent to the English throne. As a teenager he commanded forces against rebels in Wales (1403-1408) and was wounded on the battlefield by an arrow to the face. After 1408 he was more active in national affairs, though often at political odds with his father the king. Crowned after his father's death in 1413, Henry V put down local uprisings and would-be usurpers and revived the Hundred Years War with France. He won a stunning 1415 victory against superior French forces at Agincourt, an event immortalized in William Shakespeare's play, Henry V. Henry V conquered most of Normandy from French king Charles IV and was named heir to the French throne and regent of France in 1420 (under the Treaty of Troyes). He married Charles's daughter, Catherine de Valois (1421), and they had a son (the future Henry VI) before Henry died of dysentery at age 34. He is buried in Westminster Abbey.
Extra credit: Henry was of the House of Lancaster... Young Henry, called "Prince Hal," is also in Shakespeare's Henry IV, Part I and Henry IV, Part II... Henry V includes Shakespeare's famous speech for Henry, made to his troops before Agincourt: "We few, we happy few, we band of brothers; for he today that sheds his blood with me shall be my brother..."
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