DEAD: Richard II

DEAD: ON THIS DATE

Richard II (aged 33)

14th-century King of England and Duke of Aquitaine

Richard II (6 January 1367 – c. 14 February 1400), also known as Richard of Bordeaux, was King of England from 1377 until he was deposed in 1399. Richard, a son of Edward the Black Prince, was born in Bordeaux during the reign of his grandfather, Edward III. His father was Prince of Aquitaine. Richard was the younger brother of Edward of Angoulême, upon whose death Richard, at three years of age, became second in line to the throne after his father. Upon the death of Richard’s father prior to the death of Edward III, Richard, by primogeniture, became the heir apparent to the throne. With Edward III’s death the following year, Richard succeeded to the throne at the age of ten.

DEATH: When parliament met to discuss Richard’s fate, the bishop of St Asaph read thirty-three articles of deposition that were unanimously accepted by lords and commons. On 1 October 1399, Richard II was formally deposed and on 13 October, the feast day of Edward the Confessor, Henry Bolingbroke, Duke of Lancaster, was crowned Henry IV of England. Henry had previously agreed to let Richard live after his abdication. This all changed when it was revealed that the earls of Huntingdon, Kent and Salisbury and Lord Despenser, and possibly also the Earl of Rutland – all now demoted from the ranks they had been given by Richard –were planning to murder the new king and restore Richard in the Epiphany Rising. Although averted, the plot highlighted the danger of allowing Richard to live. He is thought to have starved to death in captivity on or around 14 February 1400, although there is some question over the date and manner of his death. His body was taken south from Pontefract and displayed in the old St Paul’s Cathedral on 17 February before burial in King’s Langley Priory on 6 March.

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