chapter  4
THE BIRTH OF PARLIAMENT: THE REIGN OF HENRY III 1216–72 4.1 THE MINORITY
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Few in 1216 could have predicted that Henry III’s reign, chiefly remembered for the Barons’ War of 1264-65 and the ‘Model Parliament’ summoned by his opponents, would occupy 56 largely peaceful years. Henry ascended the throne in a time of crisis. A substantial part of the country, including all the Channel ports except Dover, was in rebel hands. Royal administration had largely collapsed. To forestall any attempt by Louis of France to seize the throne, Henry was hastily crowned at Gloucester in the absence of both Archbishops, with a circlet provided by his mother, since the regalia had been lost when his father’s baggage train was overwhelmed by the tide crossing the Wash a few days before his death. It is a tribute to the wisdom and capability of the executors of John’s will, acting effectively as a council of regency, and a reflection of the opprobrium in which John had been held, that the civil war was brought to an end within a year.