Richard II

King of England Richard II

Full Name: Richard of Bordeaux
Profession: King of England


Biography: Richard II ascended to the throne of England on 22 June 1377, aged 10, when his predecessor and grandfather Edward III died at age 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 years 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 narcissistic personality disorder or even schizophrenia, though there exists little reliable information on this point.

Born: January 6, 1367
Birthplace: Bordeaux, English principality of Aquitaine, Kingdom of France
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.
  • 1396-10-31 Richard II of England (31) marries Isabella of Valois (6) in a dynastic marriage

Historical Events

  • 1377-06-22 10-year-old Richard of Bordeaux succeeds his grandfather Edward III as Richard II, king of England
  • 1377-07-16 Richard II aged 10 crowned King of England at Westminster Abbey, succeeding his grandfather Edward III
  • 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
  • 1385-04-15 At war with Castile, John I of Portugal instructs his ambassadors to negotiate an alliance with Richard II of England and to raise loans to pay his troops
  • 1387-09-23 One of the most extravagant medieval English feasts ever recorded held for Richard II and John of Gaunt in London. Included 14 salted oxen, 120 sheep, 1200 pigeons and 11,000 eggs
  • 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's (supposed) abdication read out in the House of Commons by the Archbishop of Canterbury. In reality deposed by his cousin and successor Henry IV
  • 1399-10-13 Henry of Bolingbroke is crowned King Henry IV of England in Westminster Abbey, a few weeks after deposing Richard II

Biographies and Sources

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