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Henry II
Henry II

Henry II (1133-1189) was the son of Geoffrey Plantagenet, Count of Anjou, and a grandson of Henry I. He became king in 1154, the first English ruler of the Plantagenet family. At the height of his power, Henry ruled England and almost all western France. His marriage to Eleanor of Aquitaine, the most famous woman of the age, brought the duchy of Aquitaine under his control. Henry also claimed to rule Scotland, Wales, and eastern Ireland.

Henry II tried to make the Roman Catholic Church in England submit to his authority. This policy brought him into conflict with Thomas a Becket, Archbishop of Canterbury.

Henry made Anglo-Saxon common law, rather than the revised Roman law, the supreme law of the land in England. In addition, Henry introduced trial by jury and circuit courts. In his later years, Henry's sons often rebelled against him.