Friend of a King, Murdered by His Knights – 1117

Thomas Becket

Thomas Becket, born in 1117, was the best friend and chief administrator for Henry II, son of Queen Maud and Geoffrey of Anjou. When the See of Canterbury became empty in 1162, Henry convinced Thomas Becket to become the new Archbishop.

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Henry assumed that Becket would be sympathetic to his battles with the church. However, Becket (who once was Henry’s drinking buddy) had a change of character upon becoming Archbishop. He strictly observed church law and wore a hair shirt under his clothes. He also opposed Henry in the battles between church and state.

After opposing Henry in an issue involving the authority of church , Becket went to France. The two old friends were eventually reconciled and Becket returned to England. However, he infuriated Henry when he excommunicated the bishops who had supported Henry during his exile. Four knights went to Canterbury where they murdered Becket in front of the main altar of the cathedral.

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