Henry Bolingbroke was very close in age to his cousin, Richard II, and they were playmates and companions from childhood. Richard was son of the eldest of Edward III's son, the Black Prince, while Henry was the son of Edward's third son, John of Gaunt. John of Gaunt was the richest and most powerful noble in England for the last half of the 15th century, but his children were not thought to be in line for the throne. Even if Richard failed to produce an heir, another cousin, Edmund Mortimer, (son of the second son of Edward III) was in line before the offspring of John of Gaunt. Furthermore, John of Gaunt had married into the very wealthy Lancaster family, and was therefore as rich and influential as the king. Gaunt had been regent for much of Richard's minority, and helped him, rather than opposed him, during his struggles with the Barons.
Although most of the barons accepted Henry as king, there were numerous rebellions. The most desperate was that of the Percys of Northumberland, but Henry put them down at the Battle of Shrewsbury with the help of his son Prince Henry, later Henry V. One of the causes of Richard's unpopularity had been his reluctance to continue the war in France. Henry was aware of this, and planned to resume hostilities, but he was kept busy putting down rebellions and also suffered from declining health. His son, however, had all the marks of a great soldier, and began his sensational reconquest of France soon after his fathers death in 1413.
|Henry Bolingbroke born to John of Gaunt and Blanche Lancaster.|
|Marriage to Mary De Bohun.|
|Birth of Henry V.|
|Death of John of Gaunt, Bolingbroke disinherited and sent into exile.|
|Bolingbroke returns to claim inheritance and deposes Richard II.|
|Bolingbroke puts down rebellion of Percy at the Battle of Shrewsbury.|
|Some power devolved to prince Henry, after declining health.|
|Death of Henry IV. Henry V ascends to the throne.|
|Little Queen in||Richard II by Jacob Abbott|
|Which was the King? in||Fifty Famous People by James Baldwin|
|Hotspur and Glendower in||Stories From English History, Part Second by Alfred J. Church|
|Henry IV of Bolingbroke—The Battle of Shrewsbu in||Our Island Story by H. E. Marshall|
Henry of Bolingbroke: King Henry IV.
in Richard II
|Son of the Black Prince. Reigned after Edward III. Deposed by Henry Bolingbroke.|
|John of Gaunt||Third son of Edward III, and father of Henry Bolingbroke. Extremely influential 14th century noble.|
|Led a victorious army of longbowmen against France at Agincourt.|
|Henry Hotspur Percy||Famous warrior of his age. Arch rival of the Scottish Douglases. Helped to depose Richard II in favor of Bolingbroke.|