Lancastrian King: Henry IV

Henry was born on the 3rd April 1367, at Bolingbroke Castle in Lincolnshire, to parents John of Gaunt, son of King Edward III and Blanche of Lancaster.

Henry’s cousin, King Richard II, son of Edward the Black Prince, grandson of Edward III, became King of England in 1377, aged ten.

In 1380, Henry married Mary de Bohun and was blessed with four sons and two daughters: 

Henry, (Prince Hal) the Duke of Monmouth, who became Henry V, John the Duke of Bedford, Thomas the Duke of Clarence, Humphrey the Duke of Gloucester, Blanche of England and Philippa of England.

Henry joins the “Lords Appellants,” in 1386 who outlawed many of Richard’s closest associates, thus forcing the King to accept their counsel.  By 1388, many of Richard’s friends and adviser’s had either been executed or exiled.

Richard would be looking for revenge, against the members of the Lords Appellants, waiting for his chance, to take his revenge.

In 1389, Richard having reached the age of twenty-two, declared he be of age to run his kingdom, his people without counsel.

In 1390, Henry joined the Teutonic Knights, they who modelled themselves on the Knights Templar.  They had been created to provide hospitals and aid to pilgrims in the Holy Land.

In 1392-93, he went on pilgrimage to Jerusalem, before returning to the political court of King Richard II.

Mary de Bohun, his wife died in 1394.

In 1398, one Henry Bolingbroke, questioned Richard’s rule and Thomas de Mowbray, the 1st Duke of Norfolk, interpreted it as treason.  A duel of honour was to take place at Gosford Green in Coventry.  Richard stepped in, stopping the duel, banishing Henry Bolingbroke to France for ten years, and seizing his lands, as for Thomas de Mowbray, he was exiled for life.

In 1398, Richard took his revenge by exiling Henry.  When Henry’s father, John of Gaunt died in 1399, Richard seized the family estates … These actions horrified many of Richard’s people, in his government.

Henry had been deprived of his inheritance, and Richard had thrown down the gauntlet; if you want your inheritance, you would have to come before me, and ask for your inheritance.

Henry returned to England with Thomas Arundel, the former Archbishop of Canterbury, exiled from England, for his involvement with the Lords Appellant, whilst Richard was in Ireland.

Henry Bolingbroke, landed at Ravenspur in Yorkshire, with an army of French troops, a gift of the French King.

King Richard II, was captured by the Earl of Northumberland, and handed over to Henry.  Richard confessed before Parliament, of being unworthy to reign as England’s King, and surrendered his crown in August 1399 to Henry Bolingbroke.

Henry IV ascended to the English throne on the 30th September 1399, and was crowned King of England on the 13th October at Westminster Abbey.

Henry’s first issue to be dealt with, as the new reigning monarch; what was to become of the now deposed Richard II.  He was imprisoned at Pontefract Castle in Yorkshire, and died on the 14th February 1400 of starvation, and buried at Westminster Abbey.

Henry had to quash the Welsh rebellion in 1400, and his success was primarily achieved by his eldest son; Henry of Monmouth.

On the 7th February 1403, King Henry IV married Joanna of Navarre; she bore him no children.

On the 21st July 1403, at the Battle of Shrewsbury, Henry quashed the rebellion of Henry Percy, the 1st Earl of Northumberland.

In 1405, Henry IV was struck down by an illness, and historians believe it could have been leprosy.  His eldest son became Regent and effectively ruled England in his name in 1410.

As Henry’s health began to deteriorate, a power struggle had evolved between Thomas Arundel, Henry’s half brothers and his son, Prince Henry.

The struggle led to arguments about France, and the Civil War.  Prince Henry wanted war with France, whilst his father favoured on the side of peace.

In 1411, Henry resumed his position as England’s King, until he was taken ill once again.  His eldest son Henry, stepped into the breach once again in 1413.

King Henry IV died on the 20th March 1413 in Westminster, and was buried at Canterbury Cathedral.

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