What did King Henry II say that prompted the knights to go to Canterbury?

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The famous words uttered by King Henry II represent the final stage in the turbulent relationship between the king and his archbishop, Thomas Becket. While in a rage, Henry is reported to have said, "What sluggards, what cowards have I brought up in my court, who care nothing for their...

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The famous words uttered by King Henry II represent the final stage in the turbulent relationship between the king and his archbishop, Thomas Becket. While in a rage, Henry is reported to have said, "What sluggards, what cowards have I brought up in my court, who care nothing for their allegiance to their lord? Who will rid me of this meddlesome priest?"

While Henry's exact words have been lost to history, four of his knights: Reginald FitzUrse, Hugh de Morville, William de Tracey and Richard le Breton, interpreted them as a royal command and immediately set out to confront Becket at Canterbury Cathedral. They arrived there on December 29 1170 and after a brief conversation, in which Becket refused to submit to King Henry, the four knights drew their swords and killed him.

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