Henri was born in the County of Champagne on July 29, 1166. He was the eldest son of the Count of Champagne and his wife, Princess Marie of France. Marie was the daughter of King Louis VII of France by his first wife, Eleanor, Duchess of Aquitaine. His father's sister Adela followed Eleanor as wife of Louis VII and became Queen of France, while his younger brother Theobald married Eleanor of Aquitaine and Louis VII’s other daughter Alix. In short, young Henri was very "well connected" to the French royal house, and through his grandmother to the Plantagenets as well.
Worst of all, however, the throne of Jerusalem came with a serious catch: Henri could only become King of Jerusalem if he married Queen Isabella, Conrad’s widow. What was more: she was already pregnant by Conrad; if she bore a son, Henri would eventually have to surrender his crown to Conrad’s posthumous son rather than see his own offspring on the throne. It did not sound like a very good proposition to the young Count of Champagne.