Colin Crosby Heritage Tours

Who Are All These Kings?: Louis

Louis was regarded by many as King of England for a short period in 1216, although he is rarely found in the history books.

He was the Dauphin, the eldest son of Philippe II of France, who had earlier been an intimate friend of Richard I. He was married to Henry II's granddaughter Blanche of Castile.

Towards the end of his reign, John, who has gone down in history as a very bad King indeed but who was probably better than most of his family, was facing rebellion from various quarters.

In 1215 John was forced to sign Magna Carta, which was designed to limit the power of the King and give more to the barons.

John swiftly repudiated this, saying that he had signed the charter under duress, and this time the barons declared Louis to be King of England.

Louis landed at Sandwich in May 1216 and marched unopposed on London.

In the meantime, however, John died at Newark Castle, leaving his nine year old son to succeed as Henry III.

William Marshal, the Regent, and Hubert de Burgh, Justiciar, were able to defeat the rebel barons with ease, winning battles at Lincoln and a naval one off Sandwich. They then bribed Louis to depart.

He later became Louis VIII of France.

I am intended to Terry Jones, distinguished historian and former member of the Monty Python team, for pointing out that Louis should be taken seriously as a King of England.