Henry III was the elder son of King John of England and succeeded his father to the throne in 1216 at the age of nine and during a civil war. He was first crowned with a piece of his mother's gold jewelry (necklace or bracelet; stories vary) because his father's crown had been swept away when the royal baggage train crossed a river. First William Marshal and then Hubert de Burgh served as his regent and within two years managed to subdue the rebelling barons. Henry was recrowned in 1220, but did not really rule by himself until 1227. He was not a particularly strong king; his taxes were high, his foreign policy ill-advised, and he put his and his wife's family members in high positions. On the other hand, he was pious and supported the arts; he had Westminster Abbey rebuilt and personally helped carry the remains of Edward the Confessor, his hero, to their new resting place.

Henry's brother-in-law Simon de Montfort led a rebellion against the king, and fighting went on until 1264 when the king and his son and heir Edward were captured and imprisoned. Henry was forced to summon a Parliament to make decisions for him, but Edward managed to continue fighting against the rebels and in 1265 Simon de Montfort was killed. Without him, the barons were more willing to make peace, but the terms rendered Henry a figurehead with his brother and his son holding the power. He died on 16 November 1272 at the age of 65, and was succeeded by his son Edward I, though Henry's wife Queen Eleanor acted as regent for two years until Edward was able to return from the Crusades.

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