On This Day

Richard II

King of England Richard II

Full Name: Richard of Bordeaux
Profession: King of England

Nationality:
England
English

Why Famous: Richard II ascended the throne of England on 22 June 1377, aged 10, when his father and predecessor Edward III died aged 64. Since he was minor, his early years were governed by a series of regency councils headed by powerful figures such as John of Gaunt.

In 1381 England was convulsed by the infamous Peasants' Revolt and the young king, then 14 year old, played a central role in the end of the revolt when its leader Wat Tyler was killed during a meeting with the king by soldiers loyal to him.

Richard governed with a strong belief in the authority of kings. In 1387 he faced a revolt by nobles known as the Lords Apellant who were unhappy with his relying on a small group of courtiers for advice. He regained control two years later, and in 1397 executed or exiled many of those who had rebelled against him, after which the period known as his 'tyranny' began. In 1399 he disinherited the son of John of Gaunt, Henry Bollingbroke, after Gaunt's death.

Henry invaded England and deposed Richard with relative ease. Richard is thought to have been starved to death during his captivity, though historical consensus is far from certain. Much of his reputation as a tyrannical and irresponsible king grows from William Shakespeare's play Richard II, though most historians do not agree with its interpretation. It is possible Richard had a personality disorder, variously described as narcissitic personality disorder or even schizophrenia, though there exists little reliable information on this point.

Born: January 6, 1367
Birthplace: Bordeaux, English principality of Aquitaine, England
Star Sign: Capricorn

Died: February 14, 1400 (aged 33)
Cause of Death: Suspected to have been starved to death in captivity in Pontefract Castle in Yorkshire on or around February 14, 1400

Articles and Photos

Married Life

  • 1382-01-20 King Richard II of England marries Anne of Bohemia and daughter of the Holy Roman Emperor at Westminster Abbey. Anne dies of plague in 1394.

Events in the Life of Richard II

  • 1377-06-22 Richard II succeeds Edward III as king of England
  • 1381-06-14 Richard II in England meets leaders of the Peasants' Revolt on Blackheath. The Tower of London is stormed by rebels who enter without resistance.
  • 1381-07-15 John Ball, a leader in the Peasants' Revolt, is hung, drawn and quartered in the presence of Richard II of England
  • 1397-04-17 Geoffrey Chaucer tells the "Canterbury Tales" for the first time at the court of English King Richard II
  • 1399-08-19 King Richard II of England surrenders to his cousin Henry
  • 1399-09-30 King Richard II of England abdicates

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