Our next monarch is Henry V, who reigned from 1413 to 1422. If you’re familiar with Shakespeare’s “Henry V” play, then you’ve already been introduced to this legendary king. Henry emerged as a hero during the Hundred Years’ War, leading his troops to several major victories against France. His greatest claim to fame is the battle of Agincourt, where his small army defeated a massive French cavalry.

Upon his return to London, he was lauded as the “lord of England, flower of the world, soldier of Christ,” as Smithsonian Magazine highlighted. According to historian Juliet Barker, Henry’s legacy was well deserved. “The big thing about Henry V was that he was not just a seasoned warrior, but he was also a really charismatic man and he was able to inspire his troops,” Barker told NPR. “And unlike many other monarchs, he actually fought there in person. … And his men knew that he would live and fight with them, or he would die with them.”

Henry captured more French territory in 1417. In the wake of this victory, he signed a treaty with France and married into the French royal family. In 1422, Henry died of dysentery and left behind his strong reputation. These days, however, historians view him more critically due to his brutality on the battlefield. This king ranks seventh on our list, partly due to his lasting popularity. Henry V lives on through film and media, having been portrayed by the likes of Laurence Olivier, Timothée Chalamet, and more.


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