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Louis VIII (September 2, 1187 – November 8,1226), nicknamed The Lion was King of France from 1223 to 1226. From 1216 to 1217, he invaded and claimed the Kingdom of England. Louis participated in the Albigensian Crusade in southern France, driving it to its successful and deadly conclusion. He was the only surviving son of King Philippe II of France by his first wife, Isabelle of Hainaut, from whom he inherited the County of Artois.

In 1215, the English barons rebelled against the unpopular King John in the First Barons’ War. Following a request from some of the rebellious English barons, the prince sailed to England despite discouragement from his father Philippe II and Pope Innocent III.

The barons offered the throne to Prince Louis, who landed unopposed on the Isle of Thanet in eastern Kent, England, at the head of an army on May 21, 1216.

There was little resistance when the prince entered London, and he was proclaimed King Louis of England at Old St Paul’s Cathedral with great pomp and celebration in the presence of all of London. Even though he was not crowned, many nobles, as well as King Alexander II of Scotland on behalf of his English possessions, gathered to give homage.

On June 14, 1216, Louis captured Winchester and soon controlled over half of the English kingdom. But just when it seemed that England was his, King John’s death in October 1216 caused many of the rebellious barons to desert Louis in favour of John’s nine-year-old son, the new king, Henry III.

With the Earl of Pembroke acting as regent, a call for the English “to defend our land” against the French led to a reversal of fortunes on the battlefield. After his army was beaten at the Battle of Lincoln on May 20, 1217 and his naval forces were defeated at the Battle of Sandwich on August 24, 1217, Louis was forced to make peace on English terms. In 1216 and 1217, Prince Louis also tried to conquer Dover Castle, but without success.

The principal provisions of the Treaty of Lambeth were an amnesty for English rebels, a pledge from Louis not to attack England again, and 10,000 marks to be given to Louis. In return for this payment, Louis agreed he had never been the legitimate King of England.

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