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27 Jul

Simon de Montfort, 6th Earl of Leicester (1208 – 1265)

Simon de Montfort, 6th Earl of Leicester was the youngest son of Simon de Montfort, 5th Earl of Leicester. In 1229 he made an arrangement with his two surviving brothers and gave up his rights in France in return for cession of their rights in England. Thus Simon de Montfort started competing for the English inheritance which he received in 1230. In 1238 he married Eleanor, sister of Henry III of England and was formally invested with the Earldom of Leicester one year later. However, shortly afterwards he came into conflict with Henry III and decided to go on the Crusade in the Holy Land.

In Jerusalem he was asked to stay as governor but he returned to France in 1242 and joined King Henry’s campaign in Poitou. The campaign was a failure and Simon retired to his English estates until he was called by Henry III to govern Gascony in 1248. He resigned as governor of Gascony on Henry’s request in 1252 and was sent on several diplomatic missions to Scotland, France in Italy. Few years later Simon came in quarrel with Henry for the second time and led the rebellious barons in the civil war against Henry. In the Battle of Lewes in 1264 Simon defeated the royalist forces, captured Henry, called the first directly-elected parliament in Medieval Europe and became de facto ruler of England. However, shortly afterwards Simon de Montfort came into conflict also with the barons which resulted his defeat and death in the Battle of Evesham in 1265.

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