Edward III’s oldest son, Edward the Black Prince, died before his father. His father died a year later and the crown passed to Edward’s very young son, Richard II, who was only ten. His uncle John of Gaunt and a series of councils ruled in his minority. When he grew up, Richard was not considered a very good king. He was increasingly at odds with his nobles. Richard executed a number of them and heavily fined their supporters. John’s son, Henry of Bolingbroke was exiled by Richard in 1397, and when John died in 1399, Richard disinherited Henry from his father’s vast wealth and properties. Henry returned to England and overthrew Richard who died in prison in 1400. Henry was the first Lancastrian king and the seeds of the Wars of the Roses were planted.
So Query… What if the Black Prince had lived to claim the throne? With his father’s presence to shape his life, would Richard II have been a stronger, better king, gaining the throne as a mature adult instead of as a child? Would Henry of Bolingbroke ever have had the opportunity to claim the throne as the eldest descendent of Edward III from the male line of the family, instead of the female line of his cousin Mortimer and the House of York? Would the Wars of the Roses have even begun?
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