Henry V: Warrior King

Henry V's nine-year reign saw a flourishing of royal authority and military action but ended abruptly with his untimely death in 1422 (Photos via Netflix and iStock; Photo Illustration by Meilan Solly)

Health Editor’s Note: Two days ago saw this Netflix movie and I am still thinking about it.  The battle between the French and English at Agincourt, in my estimation,  puts every other “movie produced” battle to shame. While there is a strong political message in this production, it is well worth watching and yes, contemplating how Henry offered to fight Charles d’Albret, man to man, and leave both sides of soldiers out of the mix, and d’Alvret’s refusal, and what that meant for England and France. Henry’s prebattle speech puts Shakespeare’s St. Crispin’s Day speech to shame.  …..Carol 

The True Story of Henry V, England’s Warrior King

by Meilan Solly/Smithsonian.com

Henry V was a man of contradictions.

In youth, he was reportedly an “assiduous cultivator of lasciviousness,” but upon ascending to the throne of England in the early 15th century, he won plaudits for his piety. Henry was a formidable warrior—perhaps the greatest the country has ever seen—but thanks to his closely cropped haircut, looked more like a priest than a soldier. He had a reputation for prudent judgment and chivalrous behavior, but in the aftermath of his victory at Agincourt, took the unprecedented step of ordering the execution of all unarmed prisoners. His legacy is one of success, but as historian Peter Ackroyd argues, the triumphs of his military conquests soon faded, leaving “very little … to celebrate” and lending credence to the idea that “all was done for the pride of princes.”

The King, a new biopic starring Timothée Chalamet as its eponymous monarch, examines these seemingly discordant aspects of Henry’s life by tracing its subject’s path from wayward adolescent to heroic warrior. As a newly crowned Henry declares in the movie’s trailer, “A new chapter of my life has begun. … As prince, I spent my days drinking, clowning. Now, I find myself king.”

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