Richard II

Revenge and Downfall

The lords appellant ruled the country until 1389, when Richard quietly reasserted his authority. Aided by Gaunt, who returned from Spain later in 1389, Richard ruled in comparative peace for the next seven years. After Anne's death, he went (1394) to Ireland to settle troubles there and in 1396 married an eight-year-old French princess, Isabella, to obtain a truce in the war with France.

In 1397–98, Richard suddenly took his revenge on the lords appellant: Gloucester, Arundel, and Warwick were themselves "appealed" of treason and respectively murdered, executed, and banished; Norfolk and Hereford too were banished after a mysterious quarrel between them. The king became increasingly despotic in his methods of government, strengthening his personal army, imposing heavy taxes and fines, and possibly even planning to supersede Parliament.

On the death (1399) of John of Gaunt, he confiscated the Lancastrian estates, to which the exiled duke of Hereford was heir. While Richard was on another expedition in Ireland, Hereford landed in England and rapidly gathered support. Richard hurriedly returned from Ireland, but his cause was lost. He was forced to abdicate, and Hereford was crowned king as Henry IV in Sept., 1399. Richard was imprisoned in Pontefract Castle and there died, very possibly murdered, in 1400.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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