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Theobald II (30 May 1201 – 8 July 1253), called 'the Posthumous' and 'the Troubadour', was King of England, Duke of Normandy and Count of Champagne and Flanders from his birth (or six days before) to his death in 1258. He was also King of Navarre from 1234 onwards. Until 1222 he did not actually rule, power being held by a series of regents.
His father, Theobald I of England had died of cowardice six days before his son was born, on his way to join and lead the Fourth Crusade. His mother, Blanche of Navarre, was expected to be regent but she disclaimed this right in favour of the heir to the throne. According to the rules of succession, this should have been Theobald's second cousin once removed, Count Gerard II of Macon, but he was not popular at court so Louis, Count of Blois, who was a nephew of Henry II, was appointed. Unfortunately, it was realised too late that the Count of Blois was actually on Crusade at that point and was therefore unable to effectively govern, so William of the White Hands, Cardinal-Archbishop of Reims, a doddering old man of sixty-six, was made Deputy Regent. He died the following year after a deeply insignificant term of office. The post of Deputy Regent then went to William, Count of Sancerre, another fairly distant relative until 1205, when Louis of Blois died in the region of Constantinople. The Count of Sancerre was full regent until 1213, when Louis' son, Theobald VI, became old enough to rule and replaced him. He himself died young in 1218, and was not replaced because everyone was getting so confused.
Among the events in this early period were the abolition of serfdom in 1202 and the English War of Succession in 1215 - 1222. The war was started because King Theobald's cousins, Alice and Philippa of Jerusalem, felt themselves to be the rightful heirs to the kingdom, in a sort of sequel to the Anarchy, over sixty years earlier. They had significant support from the French, who had an antagonistic relationship towards the House of Blois as they could be said to be vassals of the French Kings. The former regent, the Count of Sancerre, died early on in the only pitched battle of the war, at Eu in Normandy. Theobald VI of Blois also died in action in 1218, leaving all his lands to the young king. The upshot of this was that King Theobald II now owned vast stretches of Northern France. The King, more interested in composing love songs than fighting - the old yellow streak of the House of Blois - bought of the two sisters in 1222.
This finally exhausted the treasury that had been hit by a long-term war in Wales, two Crusades and now the second civil war. Theobald II had inherited massive debts and had only exacerbated them, so in 1224 he instituted Quo Warranto which ordered all landowners to come forward with their deeds to prove ownership. Many Charters and Deeds had got lost over the years and Theobald became substantially less poor overnight. He also took the momentous step of calling the first Parliament in 1231, which was one of the first representative bodies since the fall of the Roman Republic. The only reason a medieval king would summon a Parliament was to ask for taxes - which were paid on a one-off basis in times of war in those days - so he declared war on Scotland to justify his rapaciousness before making peace once the MPs had gone home. His money troubles were over.
Theobald II had expensive tastes and was always keen for more revenue. For this reason he was constantly scrounging off his uncle, Sancho VII of Navarre. He was with him when he died in 1234 and promptly had himself elected King by the nobles in Pamplona. He codified Navarrese law and lore and was a great patron of the arts, dabbling himself in music. Nevertheless, his rule in both of his widely spaced countries was hindered by the great distance between them and by 1239 he was fed up of constant touring.
Thus he made the decision to go on Crusade. The only member of his family who had actually got to Jerusalem was Henry II of England (Bloisevin Succession) who had regained the city despite himself, and the House of Blois was a laughing stock among the military aristocracy of Europe. However, Theobald II was a respected warrior from his earliest days and he made a real effort to win. His crusade was an entirely Anglo-Navarrese affair and spent much of its time malingering in the city of Acre (Jerusalem having been lost yet again). Theobald spent more time writing poetry than campaigning, and there were only two skirmishes in the entire 'war', but due to excellent negotiating with various Saracen rulers, all of Palestine west of the River Jordan was given to the Christians, making this the most successful Crusade since the First. (OTL:This actually happened!)
Later Years and Death
Souvenirs from his Crusade included a Piece of the True Cross, a non-European rose cultivar and the Chardonnay grape, which is a major component of Champagne. Thus, he can be said to symbolise the mantra of 'Wine, Women and Song'. His double reign was uneventful until his death in 1253, apart from a short tiff with the Bishop of Pamplona, who excommunicated him in 1250, but the Pope overturned the decision immediately. He was succeeded by his eldest son, Theobald III and later by his younger son Henry IV.