**Henry II:**The king of England, Henry is the husband of Eleanor of Aquitaine and the father of Richard, Geoffrey, and John. He also has taken Alais Capet as his mistress. In his fifties, Henry is nearing the years when most men of that age died; however, he still has remarkable vigor and wit, as well as physical prowess. His clear favorite for his successor is his son, John, but his main desire is to keep his kingdom together after his death.
**Alais Capet:**The sister of Philip Capet, Alais is of the royal blood of France and would thus, through a contracted marriage with Richard, ally the two strong countries of France and England. She was raised as a child by Eleanor, and is the mistress of Henry. She is no less a pawn in the machinations of Henry and Eleanor than are their sons.
**John:**The youngest of the three sons of Henry and Eleanor, John is described as pimply and an immature boy. He is, however, his father’s choice for the crown, and he uses this knowledge in taunting his two brothers.
**Geoffrey:**The middle son of Henry and Eleanor, Geoffrey has no one fighting for his right to any throne, and he usually accepts his fate, but his does rankle him that he usually is not considered—in any matters of the heart or family. He is described as the most cerebral of the three boys.
**Richard:**The oldest of the three sons of Henry and Eleanor, Richard in later life becomes known as Richard the Lion Heart. He is his mother’s choice for the next king, and is probably the best warrior of the three sons.
**Eleanor of Aquitaine:**The wife of Henry II and mother of Richard, Geoffrey, and John, Eleanor is a strong and powerful woman in her own right. She is still beautiful and still in many ways in love with her husband, although he keeps her in prison most of the time. She is a danger to Henry because of her strength and intelligence; and she champions the fight for Richard to be the next king.
**Philip Capet:**The king of France, Philip is also the brother of Alais. He is young, but has already become a strong monarch, although no match for Henry. His desire is to marry Alais to Richard and have Richard crowned king, thus cementing a relationship between the two countries.