The Black Prince

(Edward the Black Prince)


Black Prince
Edward the Black Prince, the eldest son of Edward III of England is so called because he died before his long lived father, and therefore never became King Edward IV of England, although he was regarded during his life as a worthy successor to his father. He was a great English military hero during his age, known for both his martial exploits and many chivalrous deeds. His appellation was due to a distinctive costume of black armor that he wore.

The Black Prince first distinguished himself when he accompanied his father on a campaign in France when only sixteen. His father had him lead a division of the army that bore the brunt of the French attack, and he achieved great renown for his handling of the situation. He was subsequently made a knight of the Garter and was from that point, very popular with the English people.

When the Prince came to manhood he began to reside in Gascony, the English province in Western France. From this base he made several raids into central France, the most famous resulting in the great English victory at Poitiers. The famous battle served to increase the reputation of the Black Prince for several reasons. First it was a great military victory against great odds. Secondly the Prince conducted himself with great chivalry and courage, both before and after the battle. The English gains of Poitiers were formalized in the treaty of Bretigny which brought a brief period of peace between England and France.

In later years, the Black Prince became involved in several wars indirectly related to the English-French conflict. He took the side of Pedro the Cruel, a recently deposed king of Castile. Although the Black Prince won a great victory for Pedro at the Battle of Navarrete, he was never properly paid and did not achieve the gains he hoped for England. He had further trouble in governing England's newly won regions of France because of some rebellious and treacherous Barons, and his problems were made worse because of the no longer vigorous policies of his aging father. Eventually he became too ill to govern in France and had to return to England, where he died after an extended illness. He was greatly mourned, because the English people had expected that he would ascend to the throne and win more glorious victories for England.

Key events during the life of The Black Prince:

Birth of Edward, the Black Prince, eldest son of Edward III of England.
The Black Prince distinguishes himself at the Battle of Crecy, though only sixteen.
Black Plague ravages England and Europe, and delaying the ongoing War with France.
  The Black Prince resides in Gascony, the large province in Western France ruled by England.
The English, under the Black Prince are victorious at Poitiers. King John of France, taken prisoner.
Treaty of Bretigny is signed, giving over several regions of France to England. Led to 9 years of peace.
At the Battle of Navarrete the Black Prince wins a victory for the treacherous Pedro the Cruel.
Birth of Richard II, eldest son of the Black Prince.
The Black Prince besieges the town of Limoges in Aquitaine, and massacres 3000 of its rebellious citizens.
  Black Prince becomes ill and returns to England.
Death of the Black Prince, one year before his father, Edward III.

Other Resources

Story Links
Book Links
Quarrels  in  Richard II  by  Jacob Abbott
Battle of Crecy  in  Stories from English History  by  Alfred J. Church
Great Battle of Poitiers  in  Stories from English History  by  Alfred J. Church
Edward, the Black Prince  in  Old Time Tales  by  Lawton B. Evans
Edward the Black Prince  in  Famous Men of the Middle Ages  by  John H. Haaren
First Period of the Hundred Years' War in  The Story of the Middle Ages  by  Samuel B. Harding
Story of the Black Prince  in  Tales from Canterbury Cathedral  by  Mrs. Frewen Lord
Battle of Poitiers  in  The Story of France  by  Mary Macgregor
Edward III of Windsor—The Battle of Poitiers  in  Our Island Story  by  H. E. Marshall
Black Prince at Poitiers  in  Historical Tales: English  by  Charles Morris
Black Prince  in  Stories from English History  by  Hilda T. Skae
Edward the Black Prince  in  Ten Boys from History  by   Kate Dickinson Sweetser
Edward the Black Prince  in  Great Englishmen  by  M. B. Synge
Black Prince, Hero of Crecy  in  European Hero Stories  by  Eva March Tappan

Image Links

Edward III and the Black Prince
 in Stories from English History

The Black Prince at the dead body of the King of Bohemia
 in Famous Men of the Middle Ages
Coin with the likness of Edward the Black Prince in armor
Coin with the likness of Edward the Black Prince in armor
 in Back Matter

The King made the Black Prince a Knight of the Order of the Garter.
 in Our Island Story

Warwick's messenger asking for aid to be sent to the Black Prince
 in Stories from English History

The French King brought prisoner to the Black Prince after Poitiers
 in Stories from English History

The Black Prince at Crecy.
 in Ten Boys from History

Tomb of the Black Prince, in Canterbury Cathedral. (His helmet, shield, and shirt of mail are shown
 in European Hero Stories

Short Biography
Edward III Reigned for nearly 50 years. Invaded France, and won the Battles of Crecy and Calias.
Philippa of Hainault Wife of Edward III and mother of 13. Intervened at siege of Calias in favor of citizens.
Pedro of Castile King of Castile with reputation as dishonorable, murderous tyrant. Eventually deposed by half-brother Henry Trastamara.
Philip VI of France King of France at the beginning of the Hundred year War. Defeated by Edward III at Calais
King John of France King of France, defeated at the battle of Poitiers. Died while imprisoned in England awaiting a ransom.