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Henry V
Count Palatine of the Rhine
Henry in the Weingarten Stifterbüchlein, c. 1510
Bornc. 1173
Died(1227-04-28)28 April 1227
Braunschweig, Saxony
BuriedBrunswick Cathedral
Noble familyGuelph
(m. 1193; died 1204)
(m. 1209)
FatherHenry the Lion
MotherMatilda of England

Henry V, the Elder of Brunswick (German: Heinrich der Ältere von Braunschweig; c. 1173 – 28 April 1227), a member of the House of Welf, was Count Palatine of the Rhine from 1195 until 1212.


Henry was the eldest son of Henry the Lion, Duke of Saxony and Bavaria and Matilda,[1] the eldest daughter of King Henry II of England and Eleanor of Aquitaine.

After his father's deposition by his first-cousin[2] the Hohenstaufen emperor Frederick Barbarossa, he grew up in England. When the family returned to Germany in 1189, young Henry distinguished himself by defending the Welf residence of Braunschweig against the forces of the emperor's son King Henry VI. Peace was established the next year, provided that Henry and his younger brother Lothar (d. 1190) were held in hostage by the king. He had to join the German forces led by Henry VI, by then emperor, on the 1191 campaign to the Kingdom of Sicily and participated in the siege of Naples. Taking advantage of the Emperor falling ill, Henry finally deserted, fled to Marseille, and returned to Germany, where he falsely proclaimed Henry VI's death and tried to underline his own abilities as a possible successor. This partly led to the withdrawal of Henry VI and the captivity of Empress Constance.

Though he was banned, he became heir to the County Palatine of the Rhine through his 1193 marriage to Agnes of Hohenstaufen, a cousin of Emperor Henry VI and daughter of Conrad of Hohenstaufen, Count Palatine of the Rhine, the younger half-brother of the late Emperor Frederick Barbarossa. He and Emperor Henry VI reconciled shortly afterwards, and upon Conrad's death in 1195, Henry was enfeoffed with his County Palatine. A close ally of the emperor, he accompanied him on the conquest of Sicily in 1194/95 and on the Crusade of 1197.[3]

After the sudden death of the emperor in 1197, Henry's younger brother Otto IV became one of two rival kings of the Holy Roman Empire. At first he supported him, but switched sides to Philip of Swabia in 1203. Having divided the Welf allodial lands with his brothers Otto and William of Winchester, Henry then ruled over the northern Saxon territories around Stade and Altencelle and also was confirmed as count palatine by King Philip. When the German throne quarrel ended with Philip's assassination in 1208, Henry again sided with Otto IV. In Imperial service, he tried to ward off the territorial claims by the Rhenish Prince-archbishops of Cologne, Trier and Mainz, though to no avail.

After he inherited further significant properties in Saxony from his brother William in 1213, Henry ceded the Palatinate to his son Henry the Younger and moved north. After his son's early death the next year, he left his Welf properties to his nephew, William's son Otto the Child, who became the first Duke of Brunswick-Lüneburg in 1235. Henry died in 1227 and is entombed in Brunswick Cathedral.

Marriage and children

In 1193, Henry married Agnes of Hohenstaufen (1177–1204),[4] daughter of Count Palatine Conrad. They had the following children:

Around 1209, he married Agnes of Landsberg (d. 1248), daughter of the Wettin margrave Conrad II of Lusatia.[1]



  1. ^ a b Lyon 2013, p. 243.
  2. ^ Barbarossa was the son of Judith of Bavaria, sister of Henry X, Duke of Bavaria, father of Henry the Lion
  3. ^ Nicholson 2001, p. 129.
  4. ^ Schutz 2010, p. 239.


Henry V, Count Palatine of the Rhine House of WelfBorn: ? 1173 Died: 28 April 1227 German nobility Preceded byConrad Count Palatine of the Rhine 1195–1213 Succeeded byHenry VI