King Richard the Second

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In , the king himself led a punitive expedition to the north , [28] but the effort came to nothing, and the army had to return without ever engaging the Scots in battle. The threat of a French invasion did not subside, but instead grew stronger into Richard was deeply perturbed by this affront to his royal prerogative, and from February to November went on a "gyration" tour of the country to muster support for his cause. On 20 December they intercepted de Vere at Radcot Bridge , where he and his forces were routed and he was obliged to flee the country.

Richard gradually re-established royal authority in the months after the deliberations of the Merciless Parliament. The aggressive foreign policy of the Lords Appellant failed when their efforts to build a wide, anti-French coalition came to nothing, and the north of England fell victim to a Scottish incursion. He outlined a foreign policy that reversed the actions of the appellants by seeking peace and reconciliation with France, and promised to lessen the burden of taxation on the people significantly.

With national stability secured, Richard began negotiating a permanent peace with France. A proposal put forward in would have greatly expanded the territory of Aquitaine possessed by the English crown. There were some misgivings about the betrothal, in particular because the princess was then only six years old, and thus would not be able to produce an heir to the throne of England for many years. Although Richard sought peace with France, he took a different approach to the situation in Ireland. The English lordships in Ireland were in danger of being overrun, and the Anglo-Irish lords were pleading for the king to intervene.

His army of more than 8, men was the largest force brought to the island during the late Middle Ages. The period that historians refer to as the "tyranny" of Richard II began towards the end of the s. The timing of these arrests and Richard's motivation are not entirely clear.

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Although one chronicle suggested that a plot was being planned against the king, there is no evidence that this was the case. After a heated quarrel with the king, he was condemned and executed. As the time for the trial drew near, Nottingham brought news that Gloucester was dead. It is thought likely that the king had ordered him to be killed to avoid the disgrace of executing a prince of the blood. Arundel's brother Thomas Arundel , the Archbishop of Canterbury, was exiled for life. While recruiting retainers for himself in various counties, he prosecuted local men who had been loyal to the appellants.

The fines levied on these men brought great revenues to the crown, although contemporary chroniclers raised questions about the legality of the proceedings. These actions were made possible primarily through the collusion of John of Gaunt, but with the support of a large group of other magnates, many of whom were rewarded with new titles, who were disparagingly referred to as Richard's "duketti".

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A threat to Richard's authority still existed, however, in the form of the House of Lancaster , represented by John of Gaunt and his son Henry Bolingbroke, Duke of Hereford. The House of Lancaster not only possessed greater wealth than any other family in England, they were of royal descent and, as such, likely candidates to succeed the childless Richard. According to Bolingbroke, Mowbray had claimed that the two, as former Lords Appellant, were next in line for royal retribution.

Mowbray vehemently denied these charges, as such a claim would have amounted to treason. Rather than allowing Bolingbroke to succeed, Richard extended the term of his exile to life and expropriated his properties. In Richard summoned a packed Parliament to Shrewsbury — known as the Parliament of Shrewsbury — which declared all the acts of the Merciless Parliament to be null and void, and announced that no restraint could legally be put on the king. It delegated all parliamentary power to a committee of twelve lords and six commoners chosen from the king's friends, making Richard an absolute ruler unbound by the necessity of gathering a Parliament again.

In the last years of Richard's reign, and particularly in the months after the suppression of the appellants in , the king enjoyed a virtual monopoly on power in the country, a relatively uncommon situation in medieval England. A new form of address developed; where the king previously had been addressed simply as " highness ", now "royal majesty ", or "high majesty" were often used.

It was said that on solemn festivals Richard would sit on his throne in the royal hall for hours without speaking, and anyone on whom his eyes fell had to bow his knees to the king. Richard's approach to kingship was rooted in his strong belief in the royal prerogative , the inspiration of which can be found in his early youth, when his authority was challenged first by the Peasants' Revolts and then by the Lords Appellant. Edward's court had been a martial one, based on the interdependence between the king and his most trusted noblemen as military captains.

To avoid dependence on the nobility for military recruitment, he pursued a policy of peace towards France. He was then free to develop a courtly atmosphere in which the king was a distant, venerated figure, and art and culture, rather than warfare, were at the centre. As part of Richard's programme of asserting his authority, he also tried to cultivate the royal image. Unlike any other English king before him, he had himself portrayed in panel paintings of elevated majesty, [78] of which two survive: the over life-size Westminster Abbey portrait of the king c. Among Richard's grandest projects in the field of architecture was Westminster Hall , which was extensively rebuilt during his reign, [82] perhaps spurred on by the completion in of John of Gaunt's magnificent hall at Kenilworth Castle.

Fifteen life-size statues of kings were placed in niches on the walls, and the hammer-beam roof by the royal carpenter Hugh Herland , "the greatest creation of medieval timber architecture", allowed the original three Romanesque aisles to be replaced with a single huge open space, with a dais at the end for Richard to sit in solitary state.

The court's patronage of literature is especially important, because this was the period in which the English language took shape as a literary language. The policy of rapprochement with the English crown did not suit Louis's political ambitions, and for this reason he found it opportune to allow Henry to leave for England. Meeting with Henry Percy, 1st Earl of Northumberland , who had his own misgivings about the king, Bolingbroke insisted that his only object was to regain his own patrimony. Percy took him at his word and declined to interfere. Edmund of Langley, Duke of York , who was acting as Keeper of the Realm, had little choice but to side with Bolingbroke.

On arrival, he was imprisoned in the Tower of London on 1 September. Henry was by now fully determined to take the throne, but presenting a rationale for this action proved a dilemma. Bolingbroke's father, John of Gaunt, was Edward's third son to survive to adulthood.

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According to the official record, read by the Archbishop of Canterbury during an assembly of lords and commons at Westminster Hall on Tuesday 30 September, Richard gave up his crown willingly and ratified his deposition citing as a reason his own unworthiness as a monarch. On the other hand, the Traison et Mort Chronicle suggests otherwise. It describes a meeting between Richard and Henry that took place one day before the parliament's session.

The king succumbed to blind rage, ordered his release from the Tower, called his cousin a traitor, demanded to see his wife and swore revenge throwing down his bonnet, while Henry refused to do anything without parliamentary approval. Henry had agreed to let Richard live after his abdication. He is thought to have been starved to death in captivity in Pontefract Castle on or around 14 February , although there is some question over the date and manner of his death. Henry IV's government dismissed him as an impostor, and several sources from both sides of the Border suggest the man had a mental illness, one also describing him as a "beggar" by the time of his death in , but he was buried as a king in the local Dominican friary in Stirling.

Here Richard himself had prepared an elaborate tomb, where the remains of his wife Anne were already entombed.

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Contemporary writers, even those less sympathetic to the king, agreed that Richard was a "most beautiful king", though with a "face which was white, rounded and feminine", implying he lacked manliness. The popular view of Richard has more than anything been influenced by Shakespeare 's play about the king, Richard II. Shakespeare's Richard was a cruel, vindictive and irresponsible king, who attained a semblance of greatness only after his fall from power. Shakespeare based his play on works by writers such as Edward Hall and Samuel Daniel , who in turn based their writings on contemporary chroniclers such as Thomas Walsingham. Richard's mental state has been a major issue of historical debate since the first academic historians started treating the subject in the 19th century. One of the first modern historians to deal with Richard II as a king and as a person was Bishop Stubbs. Stubbs argued that towards the end of his reign, Richard's mind "was losing its balance altogether".

Galbraith , who argued that there was no historical basis for such a diagnosis, [] a line that has also been followed by later historians of the period, such as Anthony Goodman and Anthony Tuck. One of the primary historiographical questions surrounding Richard concerns his political agenda and the reasons for its failure. His kingship was thought to contain elements of the early modern absolute monarchy as exemplified by the Tudor dynasty. For one, the absence of war was meant to reduce the burden of taxation, and so help Richard's popularity with the Commons in parliament.

However, this promise was never fulfilled, as the cost of the royal retinue, the opulence of court and Richard's lavish patronage of his favourites proved as expensive as war had been, without offering commensurate benefits. In medieval common law the appeal was criminal charge, often one of treason. He was made Marquess of Dorset ; marquess being a relatively new title in England up until this point. Rutland, heir to the Duke of York , was created Duke of Aumale. Montacute had succeeded his uncle as Earl of Salisbury earlier the same year.

Despenser, the great-grandson of Hugh Despenser the Younger , Edward II 's favourite who was executed for treason in , was given the forfeited earldom of Gloucester.

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The precedence could indeed be seen to invalidate the English claim to the French throne, based on succession through the female line, over which the Hundred Years' War was being fought. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. For Shakespeare's play, see Richard II play. For other uses, see Richard II disambiguation. Portrait at Westminster Abbey , mids. Westminster Abbey , London. Anne of Bohemia m. Isabella of Valois m. Oxford Dictionary of National Biography.

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The marriage had been agreed upon as of 2 May ; Saul , p. Law Quarterly Review. McKisack , p. See also Levey, pp.

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It is documented in the royal collection from and accompanied Blanche, daughter of Henry IV, to her Bavarian marriage.