Henry II, as king of England, owes his place on the throne to the early death of William Adelin, his uncle and King Henry I’s only son and heir, who had perished when a ship in which he was travelling sank in the English Channel. What followed is known as the Anarchy, an era of broken promises and a major fallout between cousins
Henry II was often unfaithful to Eleanor, their relationship was unsettled and stormy and this eventually lead to Eleanor being placed under arrest after she encouraged her children to rebel against their father. During the years of their marriage Eleanor gave her love to Richard, whilst Henry’s affections were with John, even though John was his father's favourite he was given nothing in regards to lands and estates.
Both sons disagreed with their father's policies and had fallen out with him over them. Richard rebelled and took up arms against his father, John conspired sometimes with and sometimes against his elder brothers.
Henry was not oblivious of this, he made a curious statement regarding a painting in a chamber of Winchester Castle, depicting an eagle being attacked by three of its chicks, while a fourth crouched chick waits for its chance to strike. When asked the meaning of this picture, King Henry said:
"The four young ones of the eagle are my four sons who will not cease persecuting me even unto death.
And the youngest, whom I now embrace with such tender affection, will someday afflict me more grievously and perilously than all the others."
Henry's involvement in the death of Thomas Becket in Canterbury Cathedral in 1170, is what Henry is most famous for, yet there was so much more to this king than that.