Henry II's reign marked the high point of English rule in France during the twelfth century. On his succession to the English throne in 1154, Henry already held extensive continental lands. In 1151, his claim to Normandy was formally recognized. Henry inherited the provinces of Anjou, Maine and Touraine in western France from his father Geoffrey, and secured the vast Duchy of Aquitaine on his marriage in 1152 to Eleanor of Aquitaine.
At the height of his power in 1160, Henry's Angevin empire stretched from the Scottish borders, south to the Pyrenees, and to the Vexin, just 20 miles north-west of Paris. Almost constant warfare, however, prevented further expansion. French fortunes began to improve and Henry spent the remainder of his reign struggling to hold the territories he had accumulated.