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HomeHistorical BooksRICHARD II'S MANY CHALLENGES – Historic Britain Weblog

RICHARD II’S MANY CHALLENGES – Historic Britain Weblog


Coronation of Richard II from Jean de Wavrin Chroniques d’Angleterre BL Royal 14 E IV f. 10: Wikipedia

Because the previous biblical saying goes, “Woe to thee, O land, when thy king is a little one”. The stresses on the nation are straightforward to see, however nobody appears to speak about how tough it was to BE that little one. Rising up and not using a (or at the very least, an energetic) father will need to have been compounded by all of the expectations heaped upon that little head. In Richard’s case, he wasn’t even the first-born son. His elder brother, Edward, had died on the age of 5 simply earlier than his household’s return to England in 1371; Richard was not fairly 4. There have been to be no extra youngsters, so the strain was on.

Each Edward, the Black Prince and the ailing Edward III had actual considerations in regards to the succession. Primogeniture, as we all know it, was not but the regulation of the land. Younger Richard had three uncles, and John of Gaunt, the subsequent brother after Edward had already made loads of enemies. So not solely did the Black Prince on his deathbed oblige everybody to swear to help his son, King Edward is alleged to have put collectively an entail delineating the succession alongside male strains. He declared Richard the subsequent inheritor and bypassed the descendants from his second son Lionel (already useless) by means of the daughter. In accordance with historian Michael Bennett, due to Gaunt’s unpopularity the entail was stored secret from most of the people. What number of copies had been made was unknown, for a badly burned authentic (from the Cotton Library hearth of 1731) wasn’t even found till the 20th century. Absolutely all of Edward III’s descendants knew about it.

Richard was ten years previous when he was topped king. Apparently as a result of so many individuals feared that Gaunt would seize the crown for himself, there was no regency. The enterprise of presidency was performed by a Continuous Council, at the very least till the Peasants’ Revolt broke out in 1381. By then Richard was fourteen, and he out of the blue discovered himself thrust right into a place of management. Gaunt was in Scotland, the subsequent uncle Edmund Langley was on his technique to Portugal, and the youngest uncle Thomas of Woodstock was in Wales. The chancellor, Archbishop Sudbury, instantly resigned his submit—not that he was match for the job within the first place. There was no military to name on—solely the troopers manning the Tower of London. Richard needed to face the marauding rebels on his personal, and with a few false begins alongside the way in which, he in the end handle to avoid wasting London from their depredations. He had proved himself worthy of the title Plantagenet.

Froissart, Richard II assembly with the rebels of the Peasants’ Revolt of 1381: Wikipedia

One would suppose that his braveness would have impressed his elders. Not a whit. Guarantees had been made alongside the way in which that couldn’t be stored, and Richard was in charge for making them—not that anyone else had a greater thought. The king was dragged alongside as the federal government reasserted itself, holding judgement on the rebels who felt themselves betrayed. Many ringleaders had been hanged and the king was held accountable. His second of glory was fleeting and now he was on the defensive.

Richard stored his few associates and advisors shut, making them the goal of jealous and unscrupulous magnates. Probably the most unscrupulous of all was Richard’s uncle Thomas of Woodstock, made Duke of Gloucester in 1385. The brand new title—which he felt he deserved—did nothing to counteract his conviction that the king was badly suggested. As quickly as John of Gaunt left the nation to pursue the crown of Castile, Gloucester went on the offensive. Gathering collectively a robust faction led by himself, the Earl of Arundel, and the Earl of Warwick, Gloucester “appealed” (accused) Richard’s favorites, initiating a authorized process to drive them from the king’s presence. (Even he couldn’t assault the king immediately.) The trio grew to become generally known as the Lords Appellant, and had been quickly joined by Henry Bolingbroke and Thomas Mowbray. Gaining steam, their scheme was extravagantly profitable, culminating within the Cruel Parliament of 1388. By the point the mud settled, eight of Richard’s associates and favorites had been put to dying, three had fled the nation, and over forty others had been ejected from court docket. The king was on their own, and friendless. Aside from his queen.

Nonetheless, Richard trusted in his particular eminence. He was an anointed king, in any case, and no person may take that from him. After licking his wounds for a 12 months, he got here again stronger and wiser, declaring his majority and taking his place again on the head of the federal government. The Lords Appellant may do nothing towards him, and so they had just about misplaced curiosity anyway. Their job was executed.

For the subsequent seven years, England was quiet and affluent. As professor Hutchison would say, political executioners had been unemployed. However out of the blue, with out warning, Richard launched a brutal revenge towards the Lords Appellant, throwing his authorities right into a tailspin. What occurred? Why spoil a great factor? Historians have been baffled ever since. Maybe the dying of his queen eliminated any restraint over his dangerous tendencies. Some suppose the king went insane; others puzzled if he was planning his revenge all alongside and simply waited for the appropriate second. It’s potential that the Duke of Gloucester was fomenting hassle once more. He received his “simply desserts”, and it’s potential that Richard would have gotten away together with his personal retribution besides that he didn’t cease there.

Arrest of the Duke of Gloucester
Arrest of the Duke of Gloucester BL, Harley 4380, f. 181v Inventive Commons License

For the final three years of his reign, King Richard exhibited an unimaginable paranoia, fearing retaliation at any second and virtually holding the entire populace chargeable for his earlier humiliation. This era of his reign is normally known as his Tyranny. He collected over 600 Cheshire archers as his private bodyguard (who terrorized the nation wherever they went). He imposed fines on complete communities and slapped them with “clean charters” to be stuffed in at his discretion in the event that they prompted any hassle. He initiated compelled loans to pay for his upcoming marketing campaign to Eire (although he was not the primary nor the final king to take action). As soon as he exiled Henry Bolingbroke and took possession of the Lancaster endowments, he went too far. For the second time in his life Richard discovered himself alone and deserted—apart from a handful of supporters. This time there could be no coming again. The king’s experiment with absolute monarchy was a failure, to not be revived till Henry VIII utilized it to “perfection”.

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