Richard II was the son of Edward the Black Prince, and ascended to the throne when he was only ten years
old. The first crisis of his administration involved Wat Tyler's Rebellion., but
that was quickly resolved. A much thornier problem had to do France, and whether or not to follow up
the English victories in the Hundred Years War. The English had recently suffered setbacks
and what was at one time, a highly popular war was no longer universally embraced. There were strong
differences of opinion among the Barons on this and many other issues, and the richest and most powerful
man in the country, John of Gaunt, was a divisive figure with many loyal followers and bitter enemies.
He was not, however, popular with the common people, partly due to his wealth, partly due to his
policies of taxation, and partly due to his lack of military leadership in the Hundred Years War.
Richard, being somewhat young and ignorant of these matters, made early mistakes which cost him
the support of many of his barons.
|KING RICHARD II OF ENGLAND|
The second crisis of Richard's administration was a baron's revolt that occurred when he
replaced several powerful ministers with his own favorites. The difficulties were not resolved
until John of Gaunt, who had been absent for four years, returned to England and intervened on
Richard's behalf. For almost ten more years he ruled in relative peace, largely by
acquiescing to the demands of his barons. He sought peace both in Ireland and France, but this
did not bring him popularity in an age when military accomplishments were highly valued.
His first wife died childless, so in 1396 he negotiated an unpopular peace treaty with
France, and married a French princess. This led to another revolt among the barons, but his
kingship was not at first threatened. On the death of John of Gaunt, however, he sent his cousin Henry
Bolingbroke, son of his deceased uncle, into exile, and confiscated his property. Bolingbroke raised an army in France
with the object of restoring his property, but he was encouraged by several disgruntled
barons to assume the throne. Richard II was thereby deposed and died in prison shortly afterward.
Key events during the life of Richard II of England:
||Birth of Richard II
||Ascends to the throne
||Wat Tyler's rebellion.
||Marriage to Anne of Bohemia
||Barons's first revolt against Richard.
||John of Gaunt returns to England
||Peace with France, and marriage to Isabella of Valois
||Death of John of Gaunt; Henry Bolingbroke is exiled.
||Richard II is deposed by Bolingbroke, and later killed.
|John of Gaunt
||Third son of Edward III, and father of Henry Bolingbroke. Extremely influential 14th century noble.
||Leader of a peasant rebellion during reign of Richard II. He was killed during talks.
||Son of John of Gaunt. Assumed the throne after Richard II was deposed.
|Anne of Bohemia
||First wife of Richard II. Died childless.