Henry VI

Henry was the only child of Henry V and Catherine de Valois and was born at Windsor Castle on 6th December 1421. He became king when he was just eight months old and is remembered for his scholastic foundations at Eton and King's College, Cambridge. Bouts of insanity and warfare between rival branches of the royal family (the Lancastrians and the Yorkists) troubled his reign. He was deposed in 1461 and then briefly restored in 1470.


On 22nd April 1445 he married Margaret of Anjou, daughter of Rene, Duke of Anjou and titular King of Naples and Sicily.


Henry was crowned at Westminster Abbey when he was only eight years old. The ceremony on 6th November 1429 formerly vested him with the powers of kingship which had been exercised in his name since 1st September 1422. Archbishop Chichele performed the ceremony. His queen Margaret of Anjou was crowned in 1445.


He died on 21st May 1471 while imprisoned in the Tower of London and was buried at Chertsey Abbey and later moved to St George's chapel, Windsor. It had been Henry VII's intention to bring the body to Westminster and establish a shrine but this came to nothing and the new Lady Chapel at the Abbey became the burial place of Henry VII. A modern statue has been erected in an empty niche in the eastern part of this chapel to commemorate Henry VI.

Further reading

Queens Consort of Westminster Abbey

Oxford Dictionary of National Biography 2004

Henry VI by Bertram Wolffe, 1981


6th December 1421


21st May 1471


6th November 1429

Painting of Henry VI hands clasped, holding a gold crucifix on a chain around his neck
King Henry VI by Unknown English artist

© National Portrait Gallery, London [Creative Commons CC BY-NC-ND 3.0]

White stone statue of Henry VI wearing a crown, cloak and imperial robes
Henry VI modern statue

This image can be purchased from Westminster Abbey Library

Image © 2024 Dean and Chapter of Westminster