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Thomas Becket

c.1118-1170. Archbishop of Canterbury from 1162. Born of a well-to-do Norman family in London and educated in England and France, he received in 1141 a position in the court of Archbishop Theobald of Canterbury and was sent to university for legal training. After serving for a time as archdeacon of Canterbury, he became chancellor to Henry II. The king and his minister became good friends and spent their time, not only in government work, but also in drinking and carousing. When Theobald died in 1162, Henry appointed Thomas archbishop of Canterbury. Since at the time Becket was still in minor orders, it was necessary to ordain him priest and consecrate him bishop on the same day. As primate of England, Becket was transformed from a stalwart supporter of royal policy to an ardent champion of the church. He resigned his position with the king's government because he considered it a conflict of interest and adopted a pious lifestyle. Henry was disgusted and angry with this turn of events