Henry V: the caring king

Fretting about the dispossessed and trying to save heretics from the flames aren't acts often associated with one of England's great military heroes. But Henry V did a lot more than put hapless Frenchmen to the sword on the battlefield. As Malcolm Vale reveals, the hero of Agincourt was also a sovereign with a softer side...

Portrait of King Henry V. (Photo by Universal History Archive/UIG via Getty Images)

This article was first published in the September 2016 issue of BBC History Magazine 

Henry was genuinely worried about the plight of the poor

Henry V was an exceptionally hard-working king. He spent as much, if not more, of his time dealing with the burdensome affairs of church and state as he did on military matters. Henry’s direct intervention in the business of ruling, his speaking voice, and his decisive – often abrupt – manner are spelt out in the surviving documents. Some of these are endorsed with his signature, or ‘sign manual’, in the form ‘RH’ (Rex Henricus or Roy Henry).

Want to read more?

Become a BBC History Magazine subscriber today to unlock all premium articles in The Library

Unlock now