King Stephen

King Stephen

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Stephen, the son of Stephen, Count of Blois and Adela, daughter of William the Conqueor was born in about 1097.

Stephen's father was one of the leaders of the First Crusade, and in 1102 he was killed at the Battle of Ramla. Adela ruled Blois and Chartes until 1107 when she handed over power to her son Theobald II. (1)

His uncle, King Henry I granted him estates in England and Normandy and became one of the richest men in the country. In 1125 Stephen married Matilda of Boulogne. Her loyalty and energy was to be a great help to her husband over the next few years.

After the death of his only son William, King Henry I married Adeliza of Louvain in the hope of obtaining another male heir. Adeliza, was 18 years-old and was considered to be very beautiful, but Henry was now in his fifties and no children were born. After four years of marriage he called all his leading barons to court and forced them to swear that they would accept his daughter, Matilda, as their ruler in the event of his dying without a male heir. This included Stephen. Although he had a hereditary claim to the throne through his mother, he appears to have taken the oath willingly. (2)

Henry now decided to find a husband for Matilda to help her to rule England. He heard good reports of Geoffrey Plantagent of Anjou. According to John of Marmoutier he was "tall in stature, handsome and red-headed... he had many outstanding, praiseworthy qualities... he strove to be loved and was honourable to his friends... his words were always good-humoured and his principles admirable." (3)

Henry began negotiations with Geoffrey's father, Foulques V d'Anjou and on 10th June 1128, the fifteen-year-old Geoffrey, who was more than eleven years her junior, was knighted in Rouen by Henry in preparation for the wedding. Geoffrey of Anjou married Matilda at Le Mans on 17th June 1128. "On his wedding day, Geoffrey of Anjou was a tall, bumptious teenager with ginger hair, a seemingly inexhaustible natural energy and a flair for showmanship." (4)

Matilda's first child, was born in Le Mans on 5th March, 1133. Henry was named after "the Anglo-Norman king whose Crown it was intended that he should inherit". Matilda give birth to a second son, Geoffrey on 1st June, 1134. Henry I died on 1st December, 1135. Under the agreement signed in 1125, Matilda should have become Queen of England. The Normans had never had a woman leader. Norman law stated that all property and rights should be handed over to men. To the Normans this meant that her husband Geoffrey of Anjou would become their next ruler. The people of Anjou (Angevins) were considered to be barbarians by the Normans. (5)

Most Normans were unwilling to accept an Angevin ruler and decided to help Matilda's cousin, Stephen, the son of one of the daughters of William the Conqueror, to become king. According to the author of The Deeds of King Stephen (c.1150), Stephen persuaded the people to support him by a mixture of bribes and threats. (6) Crowned king at Westminster Abbey he was also given the title of Duke of Normandy. "Stephen shrewdly issued a charter of liberties promising to respect all the laws and customs of the realm. (7)

Matilda reacted by establishing herself at Argentan Castle. Her third son, William, was born on 22nd July 1136. Geoffrey Plantagent led annual raids into Normandy but was unable to gain complete control of the area. The situation improved in 1138, when Matilda's half-brother, Robert, 1st Earl of Gloucester, renounced his allegiance to Stephen, after an attempt had been made to assassinate him. (8)

Gilbert Foliot, the abbot of Gloucester, claims that Robert changed sides because of his reading of the Book of Numbers. "It seemed to some that by the weakness of their sex they should not to be allowed to enter into the inheritance of their father. But the Lord, when asked, promulgated a law, that everything their father possessed should pass to the daughters". (9)

Earl Robert attacked Stephen's forces in the west of England. He then travelled to Normandy and joined Geoffrey Plantagenet in an attempt to take control of the region. This was unsuccessful and Stephen was also able to capture Robert's castles in Kent. Robert returned to England and in November, 1139, his army managed to capture Worcester from King Stephen. (10)

Stephen was eventually captured at the Battle of Lincoln (February, 1141). When Matilda went to be crowned the first queen of England, the people of London rebelled and she was forced to flee from the area. Stephen's army captured the Earl of Gloucester. An exchange of prisoners was agreed, and Stephen obtained his freedom. (11)

In Normandy, Geoffrey Plantagenet, was making good progress in taking control of the region. Matilda's army was forced to retreat to Oxford where she was besieged. In December, 1141, she escaped and managed to walk the eight miles to Abingdon. Eventually, she established herself in Devizes and controlled the west of the country, whereas Stephen continued his rule from London. (12)

Dan Jones, the author of The Plantagenets (2013), has pointed out: "Stephen and Matilda both saw themselves as the lawful successor of Henry I, and set up official governments accordingly: they had their own mints, courts, systems of patronage and diplomatic machinery. But there could not be two governments. Neither could be secure or guarantee that their writ would run, hence no subject could be fully confident in the rule of law. As in any state without a single, central source of undisputed authority, violent self-help and spoliation among the magnates exploded.... Forced labour was exacted to help arm the countryside. General violence escalated as individual landholders turned to private defence of their property. The air ran dark with the smoke from burning crops and the ordinary people suffered intolerable misery at the hands of marauding foreign soldiers." (13)

Stephen was accused of waging war on his own people. One anonymous chronicler wrote: "King Stephen set himself to lay waste that fair and delightful district, so full of good things, round Salisbury; they took and plundered everything they came upon, set fire to houses and churches, and, what was a more cruel and brutal sight, fired the crops that had been reaped and stacked all over the fields, consumed and brought to nothing everything edible they found. They raged with this bestial cruelty especially round Marlborough, they showed it very terribly round Devizes, and they had in mind to do the same to their adversaries all over England". (14)

A. L. Morton has argued that the civil war brought out the "worst tendencies of feudalism" and during this period "private wars and private castles sprang up everywhere" and "hundreds of local tyrants massacred, tortured and plundered the unfortunate peasantry and choas reigned everywhere". Morton claims that this "taste of the evils of unrestrained feudal anarchy was sharp enough to make the masses welcome a renewed attempt of the crown to diminish the power of the nobles." (15)

In 1147, Geoffrey and Matilda's, fourteen-year-old son, Henry arrived in England with a small band of mercenaries. His mother disapproved of this escapade and refused to help. So also did Robert, 1st Earl of Gloucester, who was in charge of Matilda's forces: "So with the impudence of youth he applied to the man against whom he was fighting and with characteristic generorosity Stephen sent him enough money to pay off his mercenaries and go home." (16)

The following year Matilda decided to abandon her campaign to gain control of England. She returned to Normandy which was now under the control of her husband, Geoffrey Plantagent. She lived in the priory of Notre-Dame-du-Pré, where across the Seine she could visit Rouen. (17)

In January 1153, Henry, now aged 20, surprised Stephen by crossing the channel in midwinter. The two leaders made a series of truces which were turned into a permanent peace when the death of Eustace, in August, persuaded the king to give up the struggle. (18) In December, 1153, Stephen signed the Treaty of Winchester, that stated he was allowed to keep the kingdom on condition that he adopt Henry as his son and heir. (19)

In March 1154, Stephen went on a tour of northern England. According to William of Newburgh in his journey he "encircling the bounds of England with regal pomp, and showing himself off as if he were a new king". (20) Gervase of Canterbury explains that on 25th October while staying in Dover "the king was suddenly seized with a violent pain in his gut, accompanied by a flow of blood (as had happened to him before), and after he had taken to his bed in the monks' lodgings he died". (21)

Tall in stature, handsome and red-headed... he had many outstanding, praiseworthy qualities. As a soldier he attained the greatest glory, dedicating himself to the defence of the community and to the liberal arts. He strove to be loved and was honourable to his friends... his words were always good-humoured and his principles admirable... This man was an energetic soldier and more shrewd in his upright dealings. He was meticulous in his justice and of strong character. He did not allow himself to be corrupted by excess or sloth, but spent his time riding about the country and performing illustrious feats. By such acts he endeared himself to all, and smote fear into the hearts of his enemies. He was usually affable and jovial to all, especially soldiers.

It was clear that Matilda would need a new husband to bolster her claim to succession.... Henry now sought an alliance with the counts of Anjou. He contacted Fulk V and negotiated a marriage alliance between Matilda and Fulk's eldest son, Geoffrey. On 17 June 1128 the couple were married in the Norman-Angevin border town of Le Mans. The Empress Matilda was twenty-six years old. Her groom was fifteen. John of Marmoutier recorded that the marriage was celebrated "for three weeks without a break, and when it was over no one left without a gift."

On his wedding day, Geoffrey of Anjou was a tall, bumptious teenager with ginger hair, a seemingly inexhaustible natural energy and a flair for showmanship. His fair-skinned good looks earned him the sobriquet Le Bel. Tradition also has it that he liked to wear a sprig of bright yellow broom blossom (planta genista in Latin) in his hair, which earned him another nickname: Geoffrey Plantagenet.... A week before he married Matilda he had been knighted by Henry I in Rouen, dressed in linen and purple, wearing double-mail armour with gold spurs, a shield covered in gold motifs of lions, and a sword reputedly forged by the mythical Norse blacksmith Wayland the Smith. As soon as the marriage was completed, Geoffrey became count of Anjou in his own right, as Fulk V resigned the title and left for the East, to become king of Jerusalem.

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Women and Medieval Work (Answer Commentary)

The Medieval Village Economy (Answer Commentary)

Women and Medieval Farming (Answer Commentary)

Contemporary Accounts of the Black Death (Answer Commentary)

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King Harold II and Stamford Bridge (Answer Commentary)

The Battle of Hastings (Answer Commentary)

William the Conqueror (Answer Commentary)

The Feudal System (Answer Commentary)

The Domesday Survey (Answer Commentary)

Thomas Becket and Henry II (Answer Commentary)

Why was Thomas Becket Murdered? (Answer Commentary)

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Yalding: Medieval Village Project (Differentiation)

(1) Edmund King, King Stephen : Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (2004-2014)

(2) John Gillingham, The Lives of the Kings and Queens of England (1975) page 31

(3) John of Marmoutier, Deeds of the Counts of Anjou (c. 1174)

(4) Dan Jones, The Plantagenets (2013) page 10

(5) Edmund King, King Stephen : Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (2004-2014)

(6) The Deeds of King Stephen (c.1150)

(7) John Guy, Thomas Becket: Warrior, Priest, Rebel (2012) page 31

(8) William of Newburgh, History of English Affairs (c. 1200)

(9) Lisa Hilton, Queens Consort: England's Medieval Queens (2008) page 91

(10) David Crouch, Robert, Earl of Gloucester: Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (2004-2014)

(11) Marjorie Chibnall, Matilda : Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (2004-2014)

(12) William of Newburgh, History of English Affairs (c. 1200)

(13) Dan Jones, The Plantagenets (2013) page 20

(14) The Deeds of King Stephen (c.1150)

(15) A. Morton, A People's History of England (1938) page 54

(16) John Gillingham, The Lives of the Kings and Queens of England (1975) page 38

(17) Dan Jones, The Plantagenets (2013) page 21

(18) Christopher Brooke, The Saxon and Norman Kings (1963) page 188

(19) Edmund King, King Stephen : Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (2004-2014)

(20) William of Newburgh, History of English Affairs (c. 1200)

(21) Gervase of Canterbury, The Deeds of the Kings (c.1210)

The Tragic Real-Life Story Of Stephen King

As one of the most prolific and popular authors of the last half-century, Stephen King has defined horror for a generation. With the 1974 publication of his first novel, Carrie, King began a career that has seen the Maine native rise from struggling writer to pop-culture phenomenon whose legions of fans meet him with the kind of adulation that's usually reserved for athletes and pop stars.

Now in his seventies, King shows no signs of stopping. Having written over 60 novels and 200 short stories, King continues to produce work that's both relevant and influential. A true icon in an ever-changing entertainment landscape, his enduring popularity is rare for any celebrity and virtually unheard-of for a novelist. At the core of King's success as a storyteller is his uncanny ability to channel the essence of ordinary life into extraordinary circumstances. This, combined with an uncomplicated prose style, has made him the horror genre's answer to Bruce Springsteen. Popular and populist, Stephen King is a blue-collar boogeyman who delivers frights of the people and for the people.

Nevertheless, King's rise to the top of the literary heap has been anything but easy. From his hand-to-mouth childhood and battle with alcohol and drug addiction to the devastating road accident that nearly claimed his life, the king of horror has suffered more than his share of real-life terrors on the path to wealth and fame. This is the tragic and triumphant true story of Stephen King.

Death of King Stephen

The grandson of William the Conqueror died on 25 October 1154.

Historians have not given King Stephen a good press. As his biographer David Crouch pointed out, he had the misfortune to come between two of England’s most dynamic and successful kings, Henry I and Henry II. Stephen was an attractive character, chivalrous and brave, cheerful and affable and a fine soldier, but for most of his reign England was dragged through a civil war between him and his rival for the throne, Henry I’s daughter Matilda, later succeeded by her son Henry Plantagenet of the Devil’s brood of Anjou. Eventually Stephen and Henry met at Winchester in November 1153 and signed an agreement. Stephen was to rule the country for the rest of his life, and when he died Henry would succeed him. The treaty, which was formally promulgated at Westminster the following month, was guaranteed by the Church, which undertook to punish any breach of it with excommunication. At Oxford in January the English barons duly did homage to Henry, reserving their allegiance to Stephen.

Now in his late fifties, Stephen was at long last able to enjoy the throne unchallenged and the chronicler William of Newburgh said that ‘it was as if he began to reign for the first time’. There were apparently some at court who feared for their positions after Henry’s accession and hoped to make trouble, but the principal magnates of the realm seem all to have been only too relieved that matters were settled and order was now in prospect.

Stephen made a triumphant progress through the north of England, but he did not have long to enjoy the situation. In October he fell ill at Dover with a bowel disorder and internal bleeding. It became clear that he was dying and his old friend Prior Ralph of Holy Trinity, Aldgate, was called to Dover to attend him at the last. Archbishop Theobald of Canterbury seems to have been there as well. He sent word across the Channel to Henry and took over the administration temporarily when Stephen died at Dover Priory. The king’s body was taken to the Cluniac abbey he had founded at Faversham and buried in the choir. Archbishop Theobald went immediately to London, where lords from all over the country assembled to greet the new king. Everything was so peaceful, however, that Henry was able to take his time. He did not leave Normandy until early in December and was crowned in Westminster Abbey on 19 December.

From 'The Green Mile' and Beyond

  • 1996: "The Green Mile" was originally published as a monthly serial consisting of six parts: "The Two Dead Girls,""The Mouse on the Mile,""Coffey's Hands,""The Bad Death of Eduard Delacroix,""Night Journey," and "Coffey on the Mile." In 2000, "The Green Mile" was adapted into a film starring Tom Hanks and Michael Clarke Duncan. The film was nominated for Best Picture, and Duncan was nominated Best Supporting Actor for his portrayal of doomed but gentle psychic John Coffey.
  • 1996: "Desperation"
  • 1997: "Six Stories" (collection of stories)
  • 1997: "The Dark Tower IV: Wizard and Glass"
  • 1998: "Bag of Bones"
  • 1999: "Storm of the Century" (television miniseries written by King)
  • 1999: "The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon"
  • 1999: "The New Lieutenant's Rap" (limited edition short story)
  • 1999: "Hearts in Atlantis" (collection of novellas and short stories)
  • 1999: "Blood and Smoke" (audiobook of three short stories narrated by King)
  • 2000: "On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft" (memoir)
  • 2001: "Dreamcatcher"
  • 2001: "Black House" (written with Peter Straub)
  • 2002: "From a Buick 8"
  • 2002: "Everything's Eventual: 14 Dark Tales" (collection of short stories)
  • 2003: "The Dark Tower I: The Gunslinger" (revised edition)
  • 2003: "The Dark Tower V: Wolves of the Calla"
  • 2004: "The Dark Tower VI: Song of Susannah"
  • 2004: "The Dark Tower VII: The Dark Tower"
  • 2004: "Faithful." King and co-author Stewart O'Nan began writing their book with no inkling that the long-suffering Red Sox would finally win the World Series after an 86-year drought. It changed the ending they had originally planned.
  • 2005: "The Colorado Kid"
  • 2006: "The Secretary of Dreams" (series of graphic short story collections authored by King)
  • 2006: "Cell"
  • 2006: "Lisey's Story"
  • 2007: "The Mist" (republished)
  • 2008: "Duma Key"
  • 2009: "Stephen King Goes to the Movies" (collection of short stories)
  • 2009: The Little Sisters of Eluria (limited edition in connection with "The Dark Tower" series)
  • 2009: "Graduation Afternoon" (short story published in the magazine "PostScripts")
  • 2009: "Throttle" (novella written with King's son, Joe Hill)
  • 2009: "Under the Dome." A television show based on the book ran from 2013–2015.
  • 2010: Full Dark, No Stars (collection of novellas including "1922," "Big Driver," "Fair Extension," and "A Good Marriage.")
  • 2011: "The Dune" (short story published in the magazine "Granta")
  • 2011: "11/22/63"
  • 2012: "The Dark Tower VIII: The Wind Through the Keyhole"
  • 2013: "Hard Listening: The Greatest Rock Band Ever (of Authors) Tells All" (co-written with other authors in King's "author rock band")
  • 2013: "Joyland"
  • 2013: "The Dark Man" (poem)
  • 2013: "Doctor Sleep"
  • 2014: "Revival"
  • 2014: "Mr. Mercedes"
  • 2015: "The Bazaar of Bad Dreams" (collection of short stories)
  • 2015: "Finders Keepers"
  • 2016: "End of Watch"
  • 2017: "Sleeping Beauties" (co-written with King's son, Owen King)
  • 2018: "The Outsider"
  • 2018: "Elevation" (novella)
  • 2019: "The Institute"

Stephen King: Alcoholism, Drug Addiction and Fame

The American novelist, Stephen Edwin King, is one of the world’s most recognized and successful horror authors of all time. Throughout his journey to fame and during his career, King battled with Alcohol abuse and drug addiction. He wasn’t the first writer or artist to be tormented by addiction.

Over a span of 35 years, King wrote a total of 63 novels his stories, including Carrie, The Shining, IT, Misery and The Green Mile, quickly became best-sellers and turned into Hollywood and television films. Although King is very successful and is estimated to have a net worth of 400 million dollars to date, the author has had his ups and downs along the way. In a new biography, King reveals that during the 80s he spent most of his time binging on drugs and Alcohol. So much so, King claims to have no recollection of writing some of his novels during that period.

A Childhood Escape

King was born in Portland, Maine on Sept. 21, 1947. His father walked out on the family when he was only 2 years old. He grew up in poverty and his family was abandoned by his father. King became convinced that his mother would one-day abandon him and his brother as well. He developed deep rooted emotional distress in childhood which continued to haunt him in adulthood.

‘From a very early age, I wanted to be scared…I wanted an emotional engagement with something that was safe, something I could pull back from.’

– Stephen King, Fresh Air

As a young boy, King found a box of his father’s fantasy and horror fiction books, and he soon was enjoying science fiction as well as monster films. By the time he was 7, King started to write his own stories.

An insecure child, plagued by nightmares and anxieties, he feared everything from falling down the toilet pipes to clowns and deformity. He developed a paranoia about death. As he grew older, King discovered that he was only able to deal with these horrors in his mind through writing about them. Unfortunately, Alcohol and drugs would also become a part of his coping and entwined with his writing practice.

Education, Family and Income

After graduating high school, King studied for an English degree at the University of Maine. During his time there, he discovered that mind-altering substances helped him to escape from his terrifying mental reality. When it comes to Alcohol or recreational drug use, there is typically an inescapable risk of developing a drug addiction. It is common for people with emotional and psychological problems to turn to drugs and Alcohol, especially in response to childhood trauma.

He began taking drugs such as Speed, Marijuana and LSD, which only resulted in drug addiction. About a month prior to his graduation, King was arrested after binge drinking at a nearby bar and stealing traffic cones. Such an arrest seems certainly innocent however, this was a clear-cut warning of the more concerning behavior to come.

‘The nail in my wall would no longer support the weight of the rejection slips… I replaced the nail with a spike and went on writing.’

In 1970, he graduated from UM with a degree in English, but he struggled greatly to find a job in the field. Forced to take a job in a laundry mat, he continued to use any spare time to write his stories.

In the summer of 1970, King had his first child with Tabitha Spruce, a fellow writer from the university. That following January, the two married and eventually had two more children. Near the end of 1971, King started working at Hampden Academy as an English instructor. When his second child was born in 1972, King and his wife struggled to get by on his minimal income as a school teacher.

‘You have to stay faithful to what you’re working on.’

During the school holidays, King worked in a laundry mat again to assist in paying the bills. In an interview with Stephen King by the Guardian, he touches on how he felt during this time in his life. He explains that the level of stress and pressure to keep moving forward during this period was borderline unbearable.

“Battery cables were hooked up to your head. Like your brain was a battery.” – Stephen King | The Guardian

Meanwhile, continuing to receive rejection letters from publishers, he grew frustrated with his failings as a novelist. Then, unexpectedly, in 1973, he sold his first book, Carrie. The novel about a bullied teenager who gets revenge gained a stream of popularity from its readers, making 100,000 on the copy rights alone.

Alcohol, Cocaine and Fame

Given Stephen King’s success as a novelist, some may say he is a high-functioning alcoholic or drug addict. His emotional and psychological struggles continued to shade his life, though, even after the sale and success of Carrie.

In an aim to work through some of his pain that was surely felt by his family, he turned to the technique learned as a child. If he wrote down his bad thoughts, it was easier to believe they wouldn’t happen in real life.

Fortunately, writing did help him escape the terrors of his mind. However, it did not stop King’s obsession to drink alcohol and use drugs. Accompanied by the two packs of cigarettes he smoked per day, he craved anything that drove him more into his writing. People who are addicted often feel that they need the substance to go on. Because King’s substance abuse and drug addiction was paired with his main coping skill of writing, he easily perceived it as necessary and important.

‘One snort and cocaine owned me body and soul. . . It was my on-switch.’

These cravings included the Cocaine, which was freely available at the parties he attended in Hollywood as his novels, Carrie and The Shining turned into films.

Drug Fueled Writing

During King’s middle of the night writing marathons, he supplemented the gallons of beer he consumed with Cocaine. He did so much Cocaine that sticking cotton up his nose was the only way to stop blood from dripping on his typewriter. So many artists enable their drug use and drinking of alcohol with the belief that it they need it for inspiration and to continue creating. This is a sad misconception, though, only perpetuating a deadly habit.

His spine-chilling novel, IT, became the best-selling novel of 1986 and he received a critical acclaim for his thriller Misery the year following. By this time, King spent roughly three hours a day sober. Moreover, he spent much of his time pondering a gun-induced suicide.

‘I love my life and my wife and kids, but I’ve always been somewhat quasi-suicidal, constantly wanting to push things past the edge.’

-Stephen King, UK Daily Mail

With King’s blackouts from Alcohol and Cocaine becoming more frequent as time went on, those near to him worried he was hitting rock bottom. From his perspective, his best-selling novels were created under heavy intoxication. The thought of getting clean and the potential harm it may have on his writing was crippling. Ultimately, his years of abusing Alcohol and living with drug addiction was driven by fear of writer’s block.

Of course, the addicted brain associates drug use with survival. Victims of addiction and alcoholism often develop illogical thinking and rationalization of their habits. Whatever the reason, King’s drug use was out of control and needed to stop.

A Road to Rock Bottom

After years of waking in the morning to find her husband asleep in a vomit puddle beside his desk, Tabitha King decided she was done tolerating the behavior. She searched through his office and gathered all paraphernalia of his obsessive drinking and drug use. Tabitha threw Cocaine spoons, bags of white powder, bottles of Listerine and empty beer cans into a trash bin. Then she brought together their kids and a handful of friends to intervene.

She emptied the contents of the bin onto the floor in front of King and warned that she would leave if he continued to self-destruct.

King realized that if he didn’t change, he would lose his family and even his life. However, it took him several false starts and many broken promises before he managed to get clean.

Writer’s Block to Relapse

When King finally cleaned up, he was forced to face his greatest fear. Initially, his utmost fear of no longer being able to write did come true. His loyal and loving wife, Tabitha realized that this fear could easily send him over the edge and into a relapse. With the fear of relapse in her mind, she remained by his side through the many painful days and nights.

‘Do it for joy and you can do it forever.’

-Stephen King

She helped him write each word, one at a time then slowly but surely, King’s ability to write a story returned. As King emerged from his crippling stint of writer’s block, his devoted readers claimed that there was new depth and intelligence to his writing.

The truth about drug addiction and Alcoholism is that it dulls the senses and plagues a person’s emotional and physical health. This kind of unhealthy practice does not amount to success as an artist. It was really his years of dedicated work, never giving up, that generated his wide success as an author.

“I think every alcoholic has a story comparable to that… where you actually hit rock bottom.” – Stephen King | NPR Author Interview

Even though his writing is no longer fueled by his obsession to drink and drug, he is still motivated and focused on telling stories to put to rest his many fears. Thanks to a family intervention in the 1980s, Stephen King is sober and has been for years now.

To Anyone Dealing with Addiction

You are not alone. Drug addiction can happen to any kind of person, even a famous author with a college education like Stephen King. To truly pull yourself out of the dark cycle of substance abuse, you need help. Luckily, there are a lot of resources out there for you. If you call (866)578-7471, you can talk with someone about those resources.

A healthier and happier life is possible, if you just get the help you need.

King Stephen of England

King Stephen of England, often called Stephen of Blois, ruled from 1135 to 1154 CE. His predecessor Henry I of England (r. 1100-1135 CE) had left no male heir and his nominated successor, his daughter Empress Matilda, was not to the liking of many powerful barons who preferred Stephen, the wealthiest man in England and nephew of Henry I. An on-off civil war ensued over the next decade and a half or so between the two sides while the English crown lost control of its territory in Normandy as well as lands to Scotland and the Welsh princes. Stephen was the last of the Norman kings, a line begun by his grandfather William the Conqueror in 1066 CE. He was succeeded by Henry II of England (r. 1154-1189 CE) who was, somewhat ironically given the previous civil war, the son of Matilda and Count Geoffrey 'Plantagenet' of Anjou.

Early Life

Stephen was born c. 1097 CE in Blois, France, his parents being Stephen Henry, Count of Blois and Adela of Normandy, the daughter of William the Conqueror and sister of Henry I. Stephen was sent to his uncle Henry's court from the age of ten and, establishing himself as one of the king's favourites, he received riches and lands. He also had a lucky escape in 1120 CE when the White Ship carrying Henry's heir William (b. c. 1103 CE) sank in the English Channel drowning all on board except a butcher from Rouen. If Stephen had not had a bout of diarrhoea, he would have been on the ship himself. If William had not died, then Stephen would almost certainly never have been king.


Stephen married Matilda of Boulogne (c. 1103-1152 CE) sometime in or prior to 1125 CE. Matilda was the daughter of Eustace III, Count of Boulogne and Mary of Scotland, daughter of Malcolm III of Scotland (r. 1058-1093 CE) and the sister of Henry I's wife. She would be a formidable ally in her husband's fight to keep his crown, both in terms of finances and leadership. Stephen was said to be good-looking, pious, chivalrous, and charming to everyone, even poor people. He would need all of these qualities to rally sufficient support around him in the coming decades.


Despite two marriages, King Henry I of England left no legitimate male heir and so his nominated successor was his daughter Matilda (b. 1102 CE) whom the king had made his barons swear loyalty to (including Stephen). Matilda is often called Empress Matilda after her marriage in 1114 CE to Holy Roman Emperor Henry V (r. 1111-1125 CE). Following the emperor's death, Matilda married Count Geoffrey of Anjou (l. 1113-1151 CE) in 1128 CE. The Count was also known by the nickname 'Plantagenet' because his family coat of arms included the broom plant (planta genista).


Despite Henry's wishes, many barons did not like the idea of a female ruler or the idea of a member of the house of Anjou as their sovereign and so they supported their own man Stephen, Count of Blois, then the richest baron in England. Stephen also had a very decent pedigree as a grandson of William the Conqueror and a nephew of Henry I. Crucially, at the time of the king's death in December 1135 CE, Stephen was the first to arrive in England while Matilda remained in France. Stephen also had the advantage of being a good military leader (if not being particularly talented at anything else) and control of the royal treasury at Winchester thanks to his brother Henry being bishop there since 1129 CE. Consequently, Stephen wasted no time at all and gathered enough baronial support to be elected king on 22 December 1135 CE. He was crowned four days later in Westminster Abbey. All was not well in his kingdom, however. Matilda's claim to the throne was supported by another group of barons and so an intermittent civil war broke out.

Empress Matilda & Civil War

Empress Matilda's husband Count Geoffrey was as ambitious as his wife to control England, and another even more important ally in Matilda's cause was Robert Fitzroy, Earl of Gloucester, an illegitimate son of Henry I. Initially, Robert Fitzroy had supported Stephen but he subsequently switched to Matilda's side in the civil war, although a premature uprising by his followers was ruthlessly crushed by Stephen in April 1138 CE. In fact, the king's opponents were mounting up as even his own brother, Henry of Blois, fell out of favour with him over who should control the see of Canterbury. Yet another enemy was Ranulf, the Earl of Chester, justifiably upset that the king had given away his castle at Carlisle to the Scottish king (see below for Stephen's border troubles). Unfortunately, the king could not always buy loyalty by giving out royal lands as his predecessor Henry I had already overused this strategy and left the Crown somewhat impoverished. In addition, barons now had the leverage to promote their own situations, some taking full advantage of the weakness in the monarchy to switch sides - Geoffrey de Mandeville infamously changed sides three times.

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It is, then, with all these defectors and supporters of questionable loyalty around him, perhaps understandable that Stephen may have turned a bit paranoid at this point, perhaps explaining his arrest in 1139 CE of Roger, Bishop of Salisbury and two other bishops in the belief they were guilty of a treasonous plot.

Fortunately for the king, his situation brightened somewhat when Matilda arrived in England from France and was then captured in 1139 CE. The would-be queen was imprisoned in Arundel Castle in West Sussex. However, she was subsequently freed only to then audaciously establish a rival court in south-west England. Matilda's cause was bolstered by a rebellion on the other side of England in East Anglia against the imprisonment of the Bishop of Ely. The Earl of Chester then chose his moment to take Lincoln. The king responded by sending an army but then lost the battle of Lincoln on 2 February 1141 CE. Even worse, the king was arrested by Robert Fitzroy in April 1141 CE and imprisoned first at Gloucester and then Bristol for nine months. This was the lowest point of Stephen's reign and, at the time, it very much looked like the end of it.


Empress Matilda had herself elected queen at Winchester on 8 April 1141 CE. She then travelled to London in June 1141 CE to get ready for her coronation, but the city's people found her rule to be too self-interested and, with her irksome taxes another negative, a popular uprising drove Matilda from the city. The rebels were dealt another blow when royalists - in the form of an army of mercenaries from Flanders led by Stephen's wife Queen Matilda - captured Robert Fitzroy. Empress Matilda was obliged to release Stephen in exchange for Robert Fitzroy's freedom on 1 November 1141 CE. Stephen was then reinstated as king later in November in a dramatic turnaround of fortunes. Stephen even received a second coronation on 25 December 1141 CE, this time in Canterbury Cathedral. The civil war was far from over, though, and would rage on for several more years yet.

Unscrupulous barons took advantage of the chaos, sometimes known as 'The Anarchy', to seize new lands, build castles - still the ultimate medieval symbol of authority - without royal consent, and even mint their own coinage, another blow to the monarchy. The life of the peasantry was made thoroughly miserable in some parts of the country (but certainly not all) as they were caught up in (albeit infrequent) battles, many sieges, the occasional burning of entire villages and lawless barons imprisoning and torturing them without heed of the law. Even the clergy was at it, fortifying many churches and abbeys as the level of security in certain parts of the kingdom fell to its lowest in the entire Middle Ages.

The tide finally turned with two significant developments. The first happened in December 1142 CE when Matilda was besieged at Oxford and she only managed to escape the castle by braving a snowstorm wrapped in a white cloak. The Empress fled to a new base at the castle of Devizes in Wiltshire. The second development was the death of Robert Fitzroy at Bristol in 1147 CE, he who had been a crucial motivator for many rebel barons.


After six years shut up in her almost impregnable castle at Devizes, Matilda returned to Normandy, her focus now was the promotion of her son Henry of Anjou rather than herself. Henry inherited his father's lands in Normandy in 1151 CE, but he was ambitious for much more. Following military victories in Brittany and, in May 1152 CE, his marriage to Eleanor of Aquitaine (c. 1122-1204 CE), Henry came to control most of France. Still he wanted more and set his eyes on England, weakened as it was by years of civil war. Henry attempted an invasion in 1147 CE, but his campaign came to an end when he ran out of funds, obliging his return to Normandy. Another attack in 1149 CE, this time in the north of England and with the assistance of David I of Scotland (r. 1124-1153 CE), was defeated by an army of Stephen's. Henry, though, could bide his time and once he had much greater resources at his disposal, he tried another invasion in 1153 CE which, third time lucky, finally brought an end to the civil war.

Defending the Realm

While the country was ripped apart by the divided barons, the king was also threatened by the actions of his neighbours. The first to nibble away at Stephen's territory was the Count of Anjou, husband of Empress Matilda. He invaded Normandy in 1137 CE and despite Stephen's expedition there, the local barons proved less than willing to fight yet another war over this hotly contested territory. Stephen was obliged to withdraw and leave Normandy to fend for itself.

Meanwhile, David I of Scotland, the uncle of Empress Matilda, was flexing his muscles and attacked Northumbria, Lancashire, and Yorkshire in the north of England in 1138 CE. The Sottish king would eventually grab control of Cumberland, Northumberland, Durham, Westmorland, and Lancaster but was at least pushed back by Stephen's victory near Northallerton in Yorkshire at the battle of the Standard in August 1138 CE. In the east of Stephen's kingdom, 1146 CE saw the Welsh brothers Cadell ap Gruffydd (d. 1175 CE) and Maredudd win victories against English armies and so they significantly extended their territories into western Wales. The lack of a strong monarch who could concentrate on foreign affairs was costing the English kingdom dear.


Death & Successor

In 1153 CE, King Stephen was something of a broken man following the death of his wife and son Eustace (b. 1127 CE) that year. He now faced Henry's third invasion and hoped for a decisive pitched battle, but in the event, neither side's soldiers or leaders were very keen on a fight. Consequently, on 6 November, Stephen signed with Henry the Treaty of Wallingford, which recognised him as Stephen's official heir. In return, Stephen was allowed to keep his crown for the rest of his life. The barons had no better candidate to support than Henry, and it was clear to all that the civil war had not done anybody any good (even if its chaos has perhaps been exaggerated by later historians) and the last thing England needed was another tussle for the throne. As one anonymous medieval chronicler put it, "For nineteen long winters, God and his angels slept" (quoted in McDowall, 26). It was time for unity and peace. Consequently, when Stephen died on 25 October 1154 CE at Dover in Kent, Henry was crowned on 19 December 1154 CE and he became the first undisputed king of England for over a century. King Stephen was buried at Faversham Abbey in Kent alongside his wife and son, while the major episodes of the king's turbulent reign were recorded for future generations in the mid-12th-century CE chronicle Gesta Stephani.

During Stephen's reign, then, the lands in Normandy had been lost, and now the Norman line of kings came to an end. It was a watershed in English history. Henry would begin a new ruling dynasty, the Angevins-Plantagenets, and he would rule until 1189 CE, forming the largest empire in western Europe and putting himself down as a strong candidate for one of England's greatest ever kings.

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Disputed Edit

Name Portrait Birth Marriages Death Claim Ref.
c. 17 July 924

2 August 924 [9]
(16 days)
Does not appear c. 901 [10] Son of Edward the Elder
and Ælfflæd [10]
Does not appear Unmarried?
No children
2 August 924 [4]
Aged about 23 [i]
Son of Edward the Elder [12]

There is some evidence that Ælfweard of Wessex may have been king in 924, between his father Edward the Elder and his brother Æthelstan, although he was not crowned. A 12th-century list of kings gives him a reign length of four weeks, though one manuscript of the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle says he died only 16 days after his father. [15] However, the fact that he ruled is not accepted by all historians. Also, it is unclear whether—if Ælfweard was declared king—it was over the whole kingdom or of Wessex only. One interpretation of the ambiguous evidence is that when Edward died, Ælfweard was declared king in Wessex and Æthelstan in Mercia. [4]

Name Portrait Birth Marriages Death Claim Ref.
King of the Anglo-Saxons (924–927)

King of the English (927–939)
27 October 939
(14–15 years)
894 Son of Edward the Elder
and Ecgwynn
Does not appear Unmarried 27 October 939
Aged about 45
Son of Edward the Elder [16]
Edmund I
27 October 939

26 May 946
(6 years, 212 days)
c. 921 Son of Edward the Elder
and Eadgifu of Kent
(1) Ælfgifu of Shaftesbury
2 sons (2) Æthelflæd of Damerham
No children
26 May 946
Killed in a brawl aged about 25
Son of Edward the Elder [18]
26 May 946

23 November 955
(9 years, 182 days)
c. 923 Son of Edward the Elder
and Eadgifu of Kent
Does not appear Unmarried 23 November 955
Aged about 32
Son of Edward the Elder [21]
23 November 955

1 October 959
(3 years, 313 days)
c. 940 Son of Edmund I
and Ælfgifu of Shaftesbury
No verified children
1 October 959
Aged about 19
Son of Edmund I [24]
Edgar the Peaceful
1 October 959

8 July 975
(15 years, 281 days)
c. 943
Wessex Son of Edmund I
and Ælfgifu of Shaftesbury
(1) Æthelflæd
c. 960
1 son (2) Ælfthryth
c. 964
2 sons
8 July 975
Aged 31
Son of Edmund I [27]
Edward the Martyr
8 July 975

18 March 978
(2 years, 254 days)
c. 962 Son of Edgar the Peaceful
and Æthelflæd
Does not appear Unmarried 18 March 978
Corfe Castle
Murdered aged about 16
Son of Edgar the Peaceful [30]
(1st reign) [ii]
Æthelred the Unready
18 March 978

(34–35 years)
c. 966 Son of Edgar the Peaceful
and Ælfthryth
(1) Ælfgifu of York
9 children (2) Emma of Normandy
3 children
23 April 1016
Aged about 48
Son of Edgar the Peaceful [33]

England came under the control of Sweyn Forkbeard, a Danish king, after an invasion in 1013, during which Æthelred abandoned the throne and went into exile in Normandy.

Name Portrait Birth Marriages Death Claim Ref.
Sweyn Forkbeard
25 December 1013

3 February 1014
(41 days)
c. 960
Denmark Son of Harald Bluetooth
and Gyrid Olafsdottir of Sweden
(1) Gunhild of Wenden
c. 990
7 children (2) Sigrid the Haughty
c. 1000
1 daughter
3 February 1014
Aged about 54
Right of conquest [35]

Following the death of Sweyn Forkbeard, Æthelred the Unready returned from exile and was again proclaimed king on 3 February 1014. His son succeeded him after being chosen king by the citizens of London and a part of the Witan, [38] despite ongoing Danish efforts to wrest the crown from the West Saxons.

Name Portrait Birth Marriages Death Claim Ref.
(2nd reign)
Æthelred the Unready
3 February 1014

23 April 1016
(2 years, 81 days)
c. 966 Son of Edgar the Peaceful
and Ælfthryth
(1) Ælfgifu of York
9 children (2) Emma of Normandy
3 children
23 April 1016
Aged about 48
Son of Edgar the Peaceful [33]
Edmund Ironside
23 April 1016

30 November 1016
(222 days)
c. 990 Son of Æthelred
and Ælfgifu of York
Edith of East Anglia
2 children
30 November 1016
Aged 26
Son of Æthelred [38]

Following the decisive Battle of Assandun on 18 October 1016, King Edmund signed a treaty with Cnut (Canute) under which all of England except for Wessex would be controlled by Cnut. [41] Upon Edmund's death just over a month later on 30 November, Cnut ruled the whole kingdom as its sole king for nineteen years.

Name Portrait Birth Marriages Death Claim Ref.
Cnut the Great
18 October 1016

12 November 1035
(19 years, 26 days)
c. 995 Son of Sweyn Forkbeard
and Gunhilda of Poland
(1) Ælfgifu of Northampton
2 sons (2) Emma of Normandy
2 children
12 November 1035
Aged about 40
Son of Sweyn Treaty of Deerhurst [42]
Harold Harefoot
12 November 1035

17 March 1040 [iii]
(4 years, 127 days)
c. 1016 Son of Cnut the Great
and Ælfgifu of Northampton
1 son?
17 March 1040
Aged about 24
Son of Cnut the Great [45]
17 March 1040

8 June 1042
(2 years, 84 days)
1018 Son of Cnut the Great
and Emma of Normandy
Does not appear Unmarried 8 June 1042
Aged about 24
Son of Cnut the Great [47]

After Harthacnut, there was a brief Saxon Restoration between 1042 and 1066.

Name Portrait Birth Marriages Death Claim Ref.
Edward the Confessor
8 June 1042

5 January 1066
(23 years, 212 days)
c. 1003
Islip Son of Æthelred
and Emma of Normandy
Edith of Wessex
23 January 1045
No children
5 January 1066
Westminster Palace
Aged about 63
Son of Æthelred [50]

Name Portrait Birth Marriages Death Claim Ref.
Harold Godwinson
6 January 1066

14 October 1066
(282 days)
c. 1022 Son of Godwin of Wessex
and Gytha Thorkelsdóttir
(1) Edith Swannesha
5 children (2) Ealdgyth
c. 1064
2 sons
14 October 1066
Died in the Battle of Hastings aged 44
Supposedly named heir by Edward the Confessor Elected by the Witenagemot [51]

Disputed claimant (House of Wessex) Edit

After King Harold was killed at the Battle of Hastings, the Witan elected Edgar Ætheling as king, but by then the Normans controlled the country and Edgar never ruled. He submitted to King William the Conqueror.

Name Portrait Birth Marriages Death Claim Ref.
(Title disputed)
Edgar Ætheling
15 October 1066

17 December 1066 [iv]
(64 days)
c. 1051 Son of Edward the Exile
and Agatha
Does not appear No known marriage 1125 or 1126
Aged about 75
Grandson of Edmund Ironside Elected by the Witenagemot [52]

In 1066, several rival claimants to the English throne emerged. Among them were Harold Godwinson (recognised as king by the Witenagemot after the death of Edward the Confessor), Harald Hardrada (King of Norway who claimed to be the rightful heir of Harthacnut) and Duke William II of Normandy (vassal to the King of France, and first cousin once-removed of Edward the Confessor). Harald and William both invaded separately in 1066. Godwinson successfully repelled the invasion by Hardrada, but ultimately lost the throne of England in the Norman conquest of England.

After the Battle of Hastings on 14 October 1066, William the Conqueror made permanent the recent removal of the capital from Winchester to London. Following the death of Harold Godwinson at Hastings, the Anglo-Saxon Witenagemot elected as king Edgar Ætheling, the son of Edward the Exile and grandson of Edmund Ironside. The young monarch was unable to resist the invaders and was never crowned. William was crowned King William I of England on Christmas Day 1066, in Westminster Abbey, and is today known as William the Conqueror, William the Bastard or William I.

Name Portrait Birth Marriages Death Claim Ref.
William I
William the Conqueror [54]
25 December 1066

9 September 1087
(20 years, 259 days)
c. 1028
Falaise Castle Son of Robert the Magnificent
and Herleva
Matilda of Flanders
9 children
9 September 1087
Aged about 59 [v]
Supposedly named heir in 1052 by Edward the Confessor First cousin once removed of Edward the Confessor Right of conquest [55]
William II
William Rufus
26 September 1087 [a]

2 August 1100
(12 years, 311 days)
c. 1056
Normandy Son of William the Conqueror
and Matilda of Flanders
Does not appear Unmarried 2 August 1100
New Forest
Shot with an arrow aged 44
Son of William I Granted the Kingdom of England over elder brother Robert Curthose [57]
Henry I
Henry Beauclerc
5 August 1100 [b]

1 December 1135
(35 years, 119 days)
September 1068
Selby Son of William the Conqueror
and Matilda of Flanders
(1) Matilda of Scotland
Westminster Abbey
11 November 1100
2 children (2) Adeliza of Louvain
Windsor Castle
29 January 1121
No children
1 December 1135
Aged 67 [vi]
Son of William I Seizure of the Crown (from Robert Curthose) [59]

Henry I left no legitimate male heirs, his son William Adelin having died in the White Ship disaster of 1120. This ended the direct Norman line of kings in England. Henry named his eldest daughter, Matilda (Countess of Anjou by her second marriage to Geoffrey Plantagenet, Count of Anjou, as well as widow of her first husband, Henry V, Holy Roman Emperor), as his heir. Before naming Matilda as heir, he had been in negotiations to name his nephew Stephen of Blois as his heir. When Henry died, Stephen invaded England, and in a coup d'etat had himself crowned instead of Matilda. The period which followed is known as The Anarchy, as parties supporting each side fought in open warfare both in Britain and on the continent for the better part of two decades.

Name Portrait Birth Marriages Death Claim Ref.
Stephen of Blois
22 December 1135 [c]

25 October 1154
(18 years, 308 days)
c. 1096
Blois Son of Stephen II of Blois
and Adela of Normandy
Matilda of Boulogne
6 children
25 October 1154
Dover Castle
Aged about 58
Grandson of William I Appointment / usurpation [58]

Disputed claimants Edit

Matilda was declared heir presumptive by her father, Henry I, after the death of her brother on the White Ship, and acknowledged as such by the barons. Upon Henry I's death, the throne was seized by Matilda's cousin, Stephen of Blois. During the ensuing Anarchy, Matilda controlled England for a few months in 1141—the first woman to do so—but was never crowned and is rarely listed as a monarch of England. [vii]

Name Portrait Birth Marriages Death Claim Ref.
Empress Matilda
7 April 1141

1 November 1141
(209 days)
7 February 1102
Sutton Courtenay Daughter of Henry I
and Edith of Scotland
(1) Henry V of the Holy Roman Empire
6 January 1114
No children (2) Geoffrey V of Anjou
Le Mans Cathedral
22 May 1128
3 sons
10 September 1167
Aged 65
Daughter of Henry I Seizure of the Crown [61]

Count Eustace IV of Boulogne (c. 1130 – 17 August 1153) was appointed co-king of England by his father, King Stephen, on 6 April 1152, in order to guarantee his succession to the throne (as was the custom in France, but not in England). The Pope and the Church would not agree to this, and Eustace was not crowned. Eustace died the next year aged 23, during his father's lifetime, and so never became king in his own right. [62]

King Stephen came to an agreement with Matilda in November 1153 with the signing of the Treaty of Wallingford, where Stephen recognised Henry, son of Matilda and her second husband Geoffrey Plantagenet, Count of Anjou, as the designated heir. The royal house descended from Matilda and Geoffrey is widely known by two names, the House of Anjou (after Geoffrey's title as Count of Anjou) or the House of Plantagenet, after his sobriquet. Some historians prefer to group the subsequent kings into two groups, before and after the loss of the bulk of their French possessions, although they are not different royal houses.

The Angevins (from the French term meaning "from Anjou") ruled over the Angevin Empire during the 12th and 13th centuries, an area stretching from the Pyrenees to Ireland. They did not regard England as their primary home until most of their continental domains were lost by King John. The direct, eldest male line from Henry II includes monarchs commonly grouped together as the House of Plantagenet, which was the name given to the dynasty after the loss of most of their continental possessions, while cadet branches of this line became known as the House of Lancaster and the House of York during the War of the Roses.

The Angevins formulated England's royal coat of arms, which usually showed other kingdoms held or claimed by them or their successors, although without representation of Ireland for quite some time. Dieu et mon droit was first used as a battle cry by Richard I in 1198 at the Battle of Gisors, when he defeated the forces of Philip II of France. [63] [64] It has generally been used as the motto of English monarchs since being adopted by Edward III. [63]

Name Portrait Arms Birth Marriages Death Claim Ref.
Henry II
Henry Curtmantle
19 December 1154 [d]

6 July 1189
(34 years, 200 days)
5 March 1133
Le Mans Son of Geoffrey V of Anjou
and Matilda
Eleanor of Aquitaine
Bordeaux Cathedral
18 May 1152
8 children
6 July 1189
Aged 56 [viii]
Grandson of Henry I Treaty of Wallingford [65]
Richard I
Richard the Lionheart
3 September 1189 [e]

6 April 1199
(9 years, 216 days)
8 September 1157
Beaumont Palace Son of Henry II
and Eleanor of Aquitaine
Berengaria of Navarre
12 May 1191
No children
6 April 1199
Shot by a quarrel aged 41 [ix]
Son of Henry II Primogeniture [67]
John Lackland
27 May 1199 [f]

19 October 1216
(17 years, 146 days)
24 December 1166
Beaumont Palace Son of Henry II
and Eleanor of Aquitaine
(1) Isabel of Gloucester
Marlborough Castle
29 August 1189
No children (2) Isabella of Angoulême
Bordeaux Cathedral
24 August 1200
5 children
19 October 1216
Aged 49 [x]
Son of Henry II Proximity of blood [68]

Henry II named his son, another Henry (1155–1183), as co-ruler with him but this was a Norman custom of designating an heir, and the younger Henry did not outlive his father and rule in his own right, so he is not counted as a monarch on lists of kings.

Disputed claimant Edit

Louis VIII of France briefly won two-thirds of England over to his side from May 1216 to September 1217 at the conclusion of the First Barons' War against King John. The then Prince Louis landed on the Isle of Thanet, off the north Kent coast, on 21 May 1216, and marched more or less unopposed to London, where the streets were lined with cheering crowds. At a grand ceremony in St. Paul's Cathedral, on 2 June 1216, in the presence of numerous English clergy and nobles, the Mayor of London and Alexander II of Scotland, Prince Louis was proclaimed King Louis I of England (though not crowned). In less than a month, "King Louis I" controlled more than half of the country and enjoyed the support of two-thirds of the barons. However he suffered military defeat at the hands of the English fleet. By signing the Treaty of Lambeth in September 1217, Louis gained 10,000 marks and agreed he had never been the legitimate king of England. [70] "King Louis I of England" remains one of the least known kings to have ruled over a substantial part of England. [71]

The House of Plantagenet takes its name from Geoffrey Plantagenet, Count of Anjou, husband of the Empress Matilda and father of Henry II. The name Plantagenet itself was unknown as a family name per se until Richard of York adopted it as his family name in the 15th century. It has since been retroactively applied to English monarchs from Henry II onward. It is common among modern historians to refer to Henry II and his sons as the "Angevins" due to their vast continental Empire, and most of the Angevin kings before John spent more time in their continental possessions than in England.

It is from the time of Henry III, after the loss of most of the family's continental possessions, that the Plantagenet kings became more English in nature. The Houses of Lancaster and York are cadet branches of the House of Plantagenet.

House of Lancaster Edit

This house descended from Edward III's third surviving son, John of Gaunt. Henry IV seized power from Richard II (and also displaced the next in line to the throne, Edmund Mortimer (then aged 7), a descendant of Edward III's second son, Lionel of Antwerp).

Name Portrait Arms Birth Marriages Death Claim Ref.
Henry IV
Henry of Bolingbroke
30 September 1399 [l]

20 March 1413
(13 years, 172 days)
15 April 1367
Bolingbroke Castle Son of John of Gaunt
and Blanche of Lancaster
(1) Mary de Bohun
Arundel Castle
27 July 1380
6 children (2) Joanna of Navarre
Winchester Cathedral
7 February 1403
No children
20 March 1413
Westminster Abbey
Aged 45
Grandson / heir male of Edward III Usurpation / agnatic primogeniture [82]
Henry V
21 March 1413 [m]

31 August 1422
(9 years, 164 days)
16 September 1386
Monmouth Castle Son of Henry IV
and Mary de Bohun
Catherine of Valois
Troyes Cathedral
2 June 1420
1 son
31 August 1422
Château de Vincennes
Aged 35
Son of Henry IV Agnatic primogeniture [84]
(1st reign)
Henry VI
1 September 1422 [n]

4 March 1461
(38 years, 185 days)
6 December 1421
Windsor Castle Son of Henry V
and Catherine of Valois
Margaret of Anjou
Titchfield Abbey
22 April 1445
1 son
21 May 1471
Tower of London
Allegedly murdered aged 49
Son of Henry V Agnatic primogeniture [87]

House of York Edit

The House of York claimed the right to the throne through Edward III's second surviving son, Lionel of Antwerp, but it inherited its name from Edward's fourth surviving son, Edmund of Langley, first Duke of York.

The Wars of the Roses (1455–1485) saw the throne pass back and forth between the rival houses of Lancaster and York.

Name Portrait Arms Birth Marriages Death Claim Ref.
(1st reign)
Edward IV
4 March 1461 [o]

3 October 1470
(9 years, 214 days)
28 April 1442
Rouen Son of Richard of York
and Cecily Neville
Elizabeth Woodville
Grafton Regis
1 May 1464
10 children
9 April 1483
Westminster Palace
Aged 40
Great-great-grandson / heir general of Edward III Seizure of the Crown Cognatic primogeniture [88]

House of Lancaster (restored) Edit

Name Portrait Arms Birth Marriages Death Claim Ref.
(2nd reign)
Henry VI
3 October 1470

11 April 1471
(191 days)
6 December 1421
Windsor Castle Son of Henry V
and Catherine of Valois
Margaret of Anjou
Titchfield Abbey
22 April 1445
1 son
21 May 1471
Tower of London
Allegedly murdered aged 49
Son of Henry V Seizure of the Crown [87]

House of York (restored) Edit

Name Portrait Arms Birth Marriages Death Claim Ref.
(2nd reign)
Edward IV
11 April 1471

9 April 1483
(11 years, 364 days)
28 April 1442
Rouen Son of Richard of York
and Cecily Neville
Elizabeth Woodville
Grafton Regis
1 May 1464
10 children
9 April 1483
Westminster Palace
Aged 40
Great-great-grandson / heir general of Edward III Seizure of the Crown Cognatic primogeniture [88]
Edward V
9 April 1483

25 June 1483 [xii]
(78 days)
2 November 1470
Westminster Son of Edward IV
and Elizabeth Woodville
Does not appear Unmarried Disappeared mid-1483
Allegedly murdered aged 12
Son of Edward IV Cognatic primogeniture [89]
Richard III
26 June 1483 [p]

22 August 1485
(2 years, 58 days)
2 October 1452
Fotheringhay Castle Son of Richard of York
and Cecily Neville
Anne Neville
Westminster Abbey
12 July 1472
1 son
22 August 1485
Bosworth Field
Killed in battle aged 32 [xiii]
Great-great-grandson of Edward III Titulus Regius [91]

The Tudors descended in the female line from John Beaufort, one of the illegitimate children of John of Gaunt (third surviving son of Edward III), by Gaunt's long-term mistress Katherine Swynford. Those descended from English monarchs only through an illegitimate child would normally have no claim on the throne, but the situation was complicated when Gaunt and Swynford eventually married in 1396 (25 years after John Beaufort's birth). In view of the marriage, the church retroactively declared the Beauforts legitimate via a papal bull the same year. [93] Parliament did the same in an Act in 1397. [94] A subsequent proclamation by John of Gaunt's legitimate son, King Henry IV, also recognised the Beauforts' legitimacy, but declared them ineligible ever to inherit the throne. [95] Nevertheless, the Beauforts remained closely allied with Gaunt's other descendants, the Royal House of Lancaster.

John Beaufort's granddaughter Lady Margaret Beaufort was married to Edmund Tudor. Tudor was the son of Welsh courtier Owain Tudur (anglicised to Owen Tudor) and Catherine of Valois, the widow of the Lancastrian King Henry V. Edmund Tudor and his siblings were either illegitimate, or the product of a secret marriage, and owed their fortunes to the goodwill of their legitimate half-brother King Henry VI. When the House of Lancaster fell from power, the Tudors followed.

By the late 15th century, the Tudors were the last hope for the Lancaster supporters. Edmund Tudor's son became king as Henry VII after defeating Richard III at the Battle of Bosworth Field in 1485, winning the Wars of the Roses. King Henry married Elizabeth of York, daughter of Edward IV, thereby uniting the Lancastrian and York lineages. (See family tree.)

With Henry VIII's break from the Roman Catholic Church, the monarch became the Supreme Head of the Church of England and of the Church of Ireland. Elizabeth I's title became the Supreme Governor of the Church of England.

Name Portrait Arms Birth Marriages Death Claim Ref.
Henry VII
22 August 1485 [q]

21 April 1509
(23 years, 243 days)
28 January 1457
Pembroke Castle Son of Edmund Tudor
and Margaret Beaufort
Elizabeth of York
Westminster Abbey
18 January 1486
8 children
21 April 1509
Richmond Palace
Aged 52
Great-great-great-grandson of Edward III Right of conquest [96]
Henry VIII
22 April 1509 [r]

28 January 1547
(37 years, 282 days)
28 June 1491
Greenwich Palace Son of Henry VII
and Elizabeth of York
(1) Catherine of Aragon
11 June 1509
1 daughter (2) Anne Boleyn
Westminster Palace
25 January 1533 [xiv]
1 daughter (3) Jane Seymour
Whitehall Palace
30 May 1536
1 son 3 further marriages
No more children
28 January 1547
Whitehall Palace
Aged 55
Son of Henry VII Primogeniture [97]
Edward VI
28 January 1547 [s]

6 July 1553
(6 years, 160 days)
12 October 1537
Hampton Court Palace Son of Henry VIII
and Jane Seymour
Does not appear Unmarried 6 July 1553
Greenwich Palace
Aged 15
Son of Henry VIII Primogeniture [99]

Disputed claimant Edit

Edward VI named Lady Jane Grey as his heir in his will, overruling the order of succession laid down by Parliament in the Third Succession Act. Four days after his death on 6 July 1553, Jane was proclaimed queen—the first of three Tudor women to be proclaimed queen regnant. Nine days after the proclamation, on 19 July, the Privy Council switched allegiance and proclaimed Edward VI's Catholic half-sister Mary queen. Jane was executed for treason in 1554, aged 16.

Name Portrait Arms Birth Marriages Death Claim Ref.
10 July 1553

19 July 1553
(9 days)
October 1537
Bradgate Park Daughter of the 1st Duke of Suffolk
and Frances Brandon
Guildford Dudley
The Strand
21 May 1553
No children
12 February 1554
Tower of London
Executed aged 16
Great-granddaughter of Henry VII Devise for the Succession [100]
Name Portrait Arms Birth Marriages Death Claim Ref.
Mary I
Bloody Mary
19 July 1553 [t]

17 November 1558
(5 years, 122 days)
18 February 1516
Greenwich Palace Daughter of Henry VIII
and Catherine of Aragon
Philip II of Spain
Winchester Cathedral
25 July 1554
No children
17 November 1558
St James's Palace
Aged 42
Daughter of Henry VIII Third Succession Act [102]
(Jure uxoris)
25 July 1554 [xv]

17 November 1558
(4 years, 116 days)
21 May 1527
Valladolid Son of Charles V of the Holy Roman Empire
and Isabella of Portugal
Mary I of England
Winchester Cathedral
25 July 1554
No children 3 other marriages
7 children
13 September 1598
El Escorial
Aged 71
Husband of Mary I Act for the Marriage of Queen Mary to Philip of Spain [103]

Under the terms of the marriage treaty between Philip I of Naples (Philip II of Spain from 15 January 1556) and Queen Mary I, Philip was to enjoy Mary's titles and honours for as long as their marriage should last. All official documents, including Acts of Parliament, were to be dated with both their names, and Parliament was to be called under the joint authority of the couple. An Act of Parliament gave him the title of king and stated that he "shall aid her Highness … in the happy administration of her Grace's realms and dominions" [104] (although elsewhere the Act stated that Mary was to be "sole queen"). Nonetheless, Philip was to co-reign with his wife. [103]

As the new King of England could not read English, it was ordered that a note of all matters of state should be made in Latin or Spanish. [103] [105] [106] Coins were minted showing the heads of both Mary and Philip, and the coat of arms of England was impaled with Philip's to denote their joint reign. [107] [108] Acts were passed in England and in Ireland which made it high treason to deny Philip's royal authority (see Treason Act 1554) . [109] In 1555, Pope Paul IV issued a papal bull recognising Philip and Mary as rightful King and Queen of Ireland.

Name Portrait Arms Birth Marriages Death Claim Ref.
Elizabeth I
The Virgin Queen
17 November 1558 [u]

24 March 1603
(44 years, 128 days)
7 September 1533
Greenwich Palace Daughter of Henry VIII
and Anne Boleyn
Does not appear Unmarried 24 March 1603
Richmond Palace
Aged 69
Daughter of Henry VIII Third Succession Act [110]

Following the death of Elizabeth I in 1603 without issue, her first cousin twice removed, King James VI of Scotland, succeeded to the English throne as James I in the Union of the Crowns. James was descended from the Tudors through his great-grandmother, Margaret Tudor, the eldest daughter of Henry VII and wife of James IV of Scotland. In 1604, he adopted the title King of Great Britain. However, the two parliaments remained separate until the Acts of Union 1707. [111]

Name Portrait Arms Birth Marriages Death Claim Ref.
James I
24 March 1603 [v]

27 March 1625
(22 years, 4 days)
19 June 1566
Edinburgh Castle Son of Mary, Queen of Scots, and Henry Stuart, Lord Darnley
Anne of Denmark
23 November 1589
7 children
27 March 1625
Theobalds House
Aged 58
Great-great-grandson / heir general of Henry VII [112]
Charles I
27 March 1625 [w]

30 January 1649
(23 years, 310 days)
19 November 1600
Dunfermline Palace Son of James I
and Anne of Denmark
Henrietta Maria of France
St Augustine's Abbey
13 June 1625
9 children
30 January 1649
Whitehall Palace
Executed aged 48
Son of James I Cognatic primogeniture [113]

No monarch reigned between the execution of Charles I in 1649 and the Restoration of Charles II in 1660. Between 1649 and 1653, there was no single English head of state, as England was ruled directly by the Rump Parliament with the English Council of State acting as executive power during a period known as the Commonwealth of England. After a coup d'etat in 1653, Oliver Cromwell forcibly took control of England from Parliament. He dissolved the Rump Parliament at the head of a military force and England entered a period known as The Protectorate, under Cromwell's direct control with the title Lord Protector.

It was within the power of the Lord Protector to choose his heir and Oliver Cromwell chose his eldest son, Richard Cromwell, to succeed him. Richard lacked both the ability to rule and the confidence of the Army, and was forcibly removed by the English Committee of Safety under the leadership of Charles Fleetwood in May 1659. England again lacked any single head of state during several months of conflict between Fleetwood's party and that of George Monck. Monck took control of the country in December 1659, and after almost a year of anarchy, the monarchy was formally restored when Charles II returned from France to accept the throne of England. This was following the Declaration of Breda and an invitation to reclaim the throne from the Convention Parliament of 1660.

Lords Protector
Name Portrait Arms Birth Marriages Death
Oliver Cromwell
16 December 1653

3 September 1658 [114]
(4 years, 262 days)
25 April 1599
Huntingdon [114] Son of Robert Cromwell
and Elizabeth Steward [115]
Elizabeth Bourchier
St Giles [116]
22 August 1620
9 children [114]
3 September 1658
Aged 59 [114]
Richard Cromwell
Tumbledown Dick
3 September 1658

7 May 1659 [117]
(247 days)
4 October 1626
Huntingdon Son of Oliver Cromwell
and Elizabeth Bourchier [117]
Dorothy Maijor
May 1649
9 children [117]
12 July 1712
Aged 85 [118]

After the Monarchy was restored, England came under the rule of Charles II, whose reign was relatively peaceful domestically, given the tumultuous time of the Interregnum years. Tensions still existed between Catholics and Protestants. With the ascension of Charles's brother, the openly Catholic James II, England was again sent into a period of political turmoil.

James II was ousted by Parliament less than three years after ascending to the throne, replaced by his daughter Mary II and her husband (also his nephew) William III during the Glorious Revolution. While James and his descendants would continue to claim the throne, all Catholics (such as James and his son Charles) were barred from the throne by the Act of Settlement 1701, enacted by Anne, another of James's Protestant daughters. After the Acts of Union 1707, England as a sovereign state ceased to exist, replaced by the new Kingdom of Great Britain.

The Acts of Union 1707 were a pair of Parliamentary Acts passed during 1706 and 1707 by the Parliament of England and the Parliament of Scotland to put into effect the Treaty of Union agreed on 22 July 1706. The acts joined the Kingdom of England and the Kingdom of Scotland (previously separate sovereign states, with separate legislatures but with the same monarch) into the Kingdom of Great Britain. [126]

England, Scotland, and Ireland had shared a monarch for more than a hundred years, since the Union of the Crowns in 1603, when King James VI of Scotland inherited the English and Irish thrones from his first cousin twice removed, Queen Elizabeth I. Although described as a Union of Crowns, until 1707 there were in fact two separate crowns resting on the same head.

There had been attempts in 1606, 1667, and 1689, to unite England and Scotland by Acts of Parliament but it was not until the early 18th century that the idea had the support of both political establishments behind it, albeit for rather different reasons.

The standard title for all monarchs from Æthelstan until the time of King John was Rex Anglorum ("King of the English"). In addition, many of the pre-Norman kings assumed extra titles, as follows:

    : Rex totius Britanniae ("King of the Whole of Britain") : Rex Britanniæ ("King of Britain") and Rex Anglorum cæterarumque gentium gobernator et rector ("King of the English and of other peoples governor and director") : Regis qui regimina regnorum Angulsaxna, Norþhymbra, Paganorum, Brettonumque ("Reigning over the governments of the kingdoms of the Anglo-Saxons, Northumbrians, Pagans, and British") : Rex nutu Dei Angulsæxna et Northanhumbrorum imperator paganorum gubernator Breotonumque propugnator ("King by the will of God, Emperor of the Anglo-Saxons and Northumbrians, governor of the pagans, commander of the British") : Totius Albionis finitimorumque regum basileus ("King of all Albion and its neighbouring realms") : Rex Anglorum totiusque Brittannice orbis gubernator et rector ("King of the English and of all the British sphere governor and ruler") and Brytannie totius Anglorum monarchus ("Monarch of all the English of Britain")

In the Norman period Rex Anglorum remained standard, with occasional use of Rex Anglie ("King of England"). The Empress Matilda styled herself Domina Anglorum ("Lady of the English").

From the time of King John onwards all other titles were eschewed in favour of Rex or Regina Anglie.

In 1604 James I, who had inherited the English throne the previous year, adopted the title (now usually rendered in English rather than Latin) King of Great Britain. The English and Scottish parliaments, however, did not recognise this title until the Acts of Union of 1707 under Queen Anne (who was Queen of Great Britain rather than king). [xvi]

The Secret Jewish History Of Stephen King

Author Stephen King was really born with that name. Not for him the path from Irwin Alan Kniberg to Alan King. He came out all ready, at least in name, to become one of the best-selling authors of all time, just as he was. Although when it came time for the prolific writer — as of last count, 54 novels and seven nonfiction books — to adopt a pseudonym, he did choose the suspiciously Jewish-sounding name Richard Bachman.

In reality, however, King wasn’t trying to pass. He took the name from his favorite band, Canadian rockers Bachman-Turner Overdrive, named after Randy Bachman, who grew up Mormon, albeit in a Jewish community in Winnipeg, in Manitoba, Canada.

King, who turned 72 today, was raised Methodist and still identifies as such. Yet Jewish themes and characters pop up throughout his life and work. King gave his children the very Jewish names of Joseph and Naomi Rachel. (In fairness, he also has a son named Owen.) King’s second novel, “Salem’s Lot,” is placed in the fictional town of Jerusalem’s Lot, Maine.

King’s 1986 horror novel “It” includes a Jewish accountant named Stanley Uris — presumably a nod to real-life novelist Leon Uris of “Exodus” and “Mila 18” fame. King has always been a big fan and proponent of commercially successful authors like Uris and Pulitzer Prize winner Herman Wouk (“The Caine Mutiny,” “This Is My God”). King once wrote a short story, “Herman Wouk Is Still Alive,” as the result of a bet he lost with his son, author Joe Hill.

King wrote the liner notes for a tribute album to Jewish punk-rock group the Ramones and recorded a spoken-word intro to a version of Jewish hard-rock group Blue Oyster Cult’s single “Astronomy.” The Blue Oyster Cult song “(Don’t Fear) the Reaper” was also used in the original TV series based on King’s novel “The Stand.”

He has even toured as a musician with the Rock Bottom Remainders, a group of celebrity authors variously including Dave Barry, Amy Tan, Scott Turow, Mitch Albom and Cynthia Heimel (often with the help of pros, including Jewish musicians Al Kooper and Warren Zevon). In his 1994 essay, “The Neighborhood of the Beast,” King recounts stumbling upon restroom graffiti reading “Save Russian Jews, Collect Valuable Prizes.” In a subsequent short story, “All That You Love Will Be Carried Away,” published in The New Yorker in 2001, his main character, Alfie Zimmer, a traveling salesman, becomes obsessed with strange bathroom graffiti he encounters on his travels, believing it represents voices speaking to him. King recycled the “Save Russian Jews” graffiti in the story.

In his 2001 novel “Dreamcatcher,” the character of Joe “Beaver” Clarendon is “convinced that people named Rothschild and Goldfarb ran the world.” Presumably, King based Beaver on his real-life uncle Oren, about whom he writes in his nonfiction work, “On Writing,” Oren “drank quite a bit and had dark theories about how the Jews were running the world.”

One of King’s best-known works, “The Shining,” of course, was turned into a movie by Jewish film genius Stanley Kubrick. Some believe that Kubrick Judaized the story in fact, there is an entire documentary film devoted to this premise, called “Room 237.” Renowned film critic J. Hoberman wrote, “Whether or not ‘The Shining’ is widely intelligible as a movie about the Holocaust, ‘Room 237’ makes it amply apparent that Kubrick was attempting to infuse King’s novel — which might otherwise be construed as a supernatural tale of domestic violence — with the full horror of history.” Kubrick’s musical choices for the film back up this theory, including Penderecki’s “The Awakening of Jacob.” Penderecki was a Pole who lived through the Holocaust and said that all his music was composed under the weight of its horror “The Awakening of Jacob,” which plays in the film while blood rushes from the elevators, is also known as the “Auschwitz Oratorio.” King reportedly hates the film.

Stephen I

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Stephen I, also called Saint Stephen, Hungarian Szent István, original name Vajk, (born c. 970–975, Esztergom, Hungary—died August 15, 1038, Esztergom canonized 1083 feast day August 16), first king of Hungary, who is considered to be the founder of the Hungarian state and one of the most-renowned figures in Hungarian history.

Stephen was a member of the Árpád dynasty and son of the supreme Magyar chieftain Géza. He was born a pagan but was baptized and reared as a Christian, and in 996 he married Gisela, daughter of Duke Henry II of Bavaria (and sister of the future Holy Roman emperor Henry II). After the death of his father (997), Stephen combated an insurrection led by his older cousin, Koppány, who claimed the throne in accordance with Árpád succession rules. Stephen defeated Koppány at Veszprém (998) and had him executed as a pagan.

On Christmas Day, 1000 ce , Stephen was anointed king of Hungary. According to tradition, he received from Pope Sylvester II a crown that is now held as a national treasure in Hungary (see Saint Stephen’s Crown). His coronation signified Hungary’s entry into the family of European Christian nations. With the exception of an invasion by the Holy Roman emperor Conrad II in 1030 and minor disputes with Poland and Bulgaria, Stephen’s reign was peaceful.

Stephen organized his kingdom on German models. He founded bishoprics and abbeys, made the building of churches mandatory, and established the practice of tithing. He promoted agriculture, safeguarded private property with strict laws, and organized a standing army. While a ruling class was created, the institution of slavery was left virtually untouched. Stephen also opened the country to strong foreign influences, while saving it from German conquest. He treated the church as the principal pillar of his authority, dispatching missionaries throughout his realm.

Stephen is Hungary’s patron saint. Although his feast day is August 16, Hungarians celebrate the translation of his relics to Buda on August 20.

This article was most recently revised and updated by John M. Cunningham, Readers Editor.