Would King Henry II’s children be considered legitimate


His wife Eleanor of Aquitaine had her marriage to King Louis VII of France annulled on the grounds of consanguinity. Her daughters by him were declared legitimate and not bastardized because the parties involved were married in good faith. She then married Henry Duke of Normandy who later became King Henry II of England. However he was even more closely related to her than Louis. I also heard that they did not bother to obtain a Papal dispensation. Were their children, including the later Kings Richard and John legitimate like Eleanor’s daughters or were they bastards? Because if so it affects their legitimacy as Kings of England, as well as the monarchs that came after them.


The method of computation changed through time so you would need to know about that to answer the question.



I know that at that time, marriage was forbidden to the 7th degree of consanguinity and the method of calculation was counting up the generations. Henry II and Eleanor of Aquitaine were within 7 degrees. However as I said, her children of her previous annulled marriage were declared legitimate because of them being married in good faith because of this.

Canon 1137 of The Code of Canon Law states that “The children conceived or born of a valid or putative marriage are legitimate.” Canon 1061 of the Code of Canon Law states that “An invalid marriage is called putative if it has been celebrated in good faith by at least one of the parties, until both parties become certain of its nullity”. A putative marriage is a marriage in which at least one of the parties considered valid at the time of the marriage even though it was later declared invalid and annulled. Therefore an annulment has no bearing on the status of the legitimacy of the children within the Church.“

Would that apply to the children of Henry and Eleanor’s marriage?


By man or by God? I don’t think any child is “illegitimate” in the eyes of its Creator.


^^^ This. Also, don’t we, living in the 21st century, have enough problems of our own, that we need to be dredging up consanguinity and legitimacy issues from nine centuries ago.



Exactly!!! :wink:


I disagree. The question is good enough, for people who are interested.

I wouldn’t dismiss it out of hand just because it doesn’t interest me.


Of course, all children are made equal in the image of God, however the Code of Canon law, and the Church throughout history does make distinctions between legitimate children born in wedlock and born out of wedlock as I shown in my previous comment where I shown what the code of Canon law says about legitimacy. Legitimacy is a factor when it comes to inheritance especially in the Middle Ages.

Whether the children of Henry II and Eleanor of Aquitaine were legitimate or bastards affects the entire succession to the English throne after Henry II up to the present day. Under different legitimate succession, England might have remained Catholic with the Church of England never splitting from Rome.

So again I am wondering if according to Canon law, the children of Henry II were from a putative invalid marriage and therefore legitimate according to Canon law as shown in my previous comment, or if they were bastards and should not have inherited England’s throne.


I understand your interest. If you are trying to bring down the monarchy and restore the Roman Catholic faith in England, I wish you good luck!:wink:


I suspect the OP has discovered something about his own ancestry that suggests he has a better claim to the English throne than “Queen” Elizabeth II, who has usurped the title rightfully belonging to King @JacobHarrison.


I am actually trying to trace who the rightful heir to the throne is so that England can become Catholic again. There are multiple alternate successions to the English throne so I am trying to narrow it down by first figuring out if Henry II’s children were legitimate. They would be as long as his invalid marriage was at least putative.

According to Canon 1061 “An invalid marriage is called putative if at least one party celebrated it in good faith, until both parties become certain of its nullity.”

Would that apply to Henry II and Eleanor of Aquitaine’s marriage based on the information I posted about their marriage?


You’ll need to give due weight to the Declaration of Right in 1689. From that point onward any earlier illegality, illegitimacy, palace coup, bastardy, crookedness, or any other “alternate succession,” no longer counts. The slate was wiped clean. At that moment, the throne was in the gift of Parliament, and Parliament freely gave it to Mary II, reigning jointly with her husband, William III.


Good luck, even us Brits have a hard time working out these trivial puzzles. By law and declaration HM Queen Elizabeth II is sovereign; even the Catholic Church recognises that (for example in the prayers offered for the Sovereign after the EF Mass). For some reason there’s always someone from a republic claiming to be the rightful heir to the British throne.


@BartholomewB has it just right. Succession to the British throne is determined by Act of Parliament. Relevant are the Act of Settlement, the Bill of Rights, the Abdication Act and the Succession to the Crown Act.

Alternatively, as far as England is concerned, you could try to locate the rightful heirs to the House of Wessex. When you’ve found them you’ll have to call a meeting of the Witan, of course. I wish you luck! :slight_smile:


but how do you propose to put who you believe to be the rightful heir, on that throne?


Perhaps the Spanish would agree to put an armada together? :slight_smile:


If they did, it would be at least the fifth or sixth since THE Armada, with none of the later ones having sny more success than the first.

And somehow I can’t see King Felipe wanting to boot Cousin Liz off the throne any time soon. The Spanish and British royals seem to have put aside the unseemly squabbling over lines of succession over the last 400-odd years :smiley:


get those chargers armoured up!


but seriously, harry for king! although wills is making a dashing prince of himself these days.
we have charles to get to first… poor guy… still waiting…


This is really a matter of civil law in the respective countries in regards to their own rules of succession and illegitimacy. Nothing really in religious doctrine on this kind of query.

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