WILLIAM MARSHAL—THE GREATEST KNIGHT. One thing that may have contributed to the survival—and success—of Magna Carta was the role of William Marshal, generally acknowledged at the time as the greatest knight. This wikipedia entry on him quotes Stephen Langton (Archbishop of Canterbury who was a moving force in creating Magna Carta) that Marshal was the “best knight that ever lived.” This wikipedia entry on Magna Carta says: “The preamble to Magna Carta includes the names of the following 27 ecclesiastical and secular magnates who had counselled John to accept its terms. The names include some of the moderate reformers, notably Archbishop Stephen Langton, and some of John’s loyal supporters, such as William Marshal, Earl of Pembroke.”

After King John died, it was Marshal who was named protector of the nine-year-old King Henry III, and regent of the kingdom, and it was while he was regent that Magna Carta was reissued in 1216 and 1217. It was Marshal who in 1217 at the age of around 70 “prosecuted the war against Prince Louis [[the crown prince of France and pretender to the English throne) and… rebel barons with remarkable energy. In the [critical] battle of Lincoln he charged and fought at the head of the young King’s army, leading them to victory.”

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