The Royal House Of Lancaster


The Royal House of Lancaster was the ruling royal house of England and Wales between 1399 and 1471 by way of three monarchs, all of whom were called Henry.
The house was a branch of the Plantagenet Dynasty (1154 - 1399) which was descended from King Edward III and Phillipa of Hainault's son, John of Gaunt and his wife Blanche of LancasterThey had eight children and their third born child and first son, Henry Bolingbroke, became the future King Henry IV who became the first monarch of the House of Lancaster.   


Henry of Bolingbroke was born on the 13th of April 1367 at Bolingbroke Castle in Lincolnshire. He was the third child and first born son of John of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster and Aquitaine and his wife Blanche of Lancaster.
Henry was not in line to become successor to the throne at the time of his birth, but was chosen after King Richard II was deposed by his regent, Henry's father, John of Gaunt, leading many to believe that Henry was an usurper to the throne. 
Henry was crowned king at the age of ten at Westminster Abbey on the 13th of October 1399.   
Henry's reign is probably best remembered for the Epiphany Risings of 1400, which was an attempt to restore King Richard II back on the throne, the Percy Rebellion between 1402 and 1408, which was an attempt to overthrow him, and the Glyndwr Risings in Wales between 1400 and 1415, which was a revolt by the Welsh prince Owain Glyndwr against English control. 
King Henry IV married twice and fathered seven children, one of whom would become a future king of England. 

In the latter few years of his life Henry was to suffer from continuing attacks of what is thought to have been epilepsy.
These attacks became more frequent and severe and probably resulted in a weakened heart. 
He died from one of these attacks on the 20th of March 1413 at the Palace of Westminster in London at the age of 46.
He was later interred at Trinity Chapel in Canterbury Cathedral. 


Henry's first wife was Mary de Bohun (1368 - 1394) whom he married on the 27th of July 1380 at Arundel Castle in Sussex. 
Mary de Bohun was born sometime in 1368 and was the second daughter of Humphrey de Bohun, the 7th Earl of Hereford and his wife Lady Joan Fitzalan.
Her elder sister Eleanor had married Thomas of Woodstock, who in an effort to keep his sister -  in -  law's inheritance for him self, had encouraged the young Mary to become a nun. His brother, John of Gaunt, had Mary abducted from the convent and hastily married to his son Henry.
Mary married Henry when she was just twelve years old but John of Gaunt had planned that the marriage go unconsummated until Mary was sixteen, however the young couple had different plans, resulting in Mary giving birth to their first child, a boy who only lived for a few days, at the age of only fourteen.
Their second son was born two years later when Mary was just sixteen, this second son was to become the future King Henry VI.
At the time of their marriage Henry was not in line for the throne of England, therefore Mary never became queen as she died five years before her husband took the crown. They had seven children during their fourteen year marriage, before Mary died in childbirth with her seventh child at Peterborough Castle in Northamptonshire on June the 4th 1394 at the age of  just twenty six.
Mary was later interred at the St Mary de Castro Church in Leicester.  

Henry and Mary's union produced seven children, they were;

Edward, who lived for only a few days and was interred at Monmouth Castle in Wales.  
Henry of Monmouth, Prince of Wales (1386 - 1413) Future King of England. Married Catherine of Valois. See below. 
Thomas Lancaster 1st Duke of Clarence. (1387 - 1421). Thomas was born in November 1387. He married Margaret of Holland in 1411 with whom he had no issue, but it is said he had one illigitimate son Sir John Clarence.  
Margaret was the daughter of Thomas Holland and Alice Fitzalan and the widow of John Beaufort with whom she had borne six children. 
Thomas was killed on the 22nd of March 1421 at the Battle of  Bauge in France at the age of 34. He had led the English defensive against the French and the Scots along side his son Sir John. He was slain by Sir John Carmichael of Douglasdale. His son Sir John Clarence accompanied his father's body back to Canterbury in England for burial where he was interred at Canterbury Cathedral
John, Duke of Bedford. (1389 - 1435) John Lancaster 1st Duke of Bedford was born on the 20th of June, 1389. From 1422 he had been the King's regent in France, where he was Governor of Normandy until 1432. Whilst there he founded the University of Caen.  
It was John Duke of Bedford who in 1431 had Joan of Arc tried and executed.
John married Anne of Burgundy the daughter of John, Duke of Burgundy and Margaret of Bavaria at Troyes in France in 1423. Anne died in childbirth, along with their infant, in Paris in 1432 at the age of 27. They had no other children.
On the 14th of November 1433 John married Jaquetta of Luxembourg the daughter of Peter I, Count of St Pol, Conversano and Brienne and Margaret de Baux of Andria. Jaquetta was widowed two years later in 1435 with the couple having had no children.
John died at his home, the Castle of Joyeux Repos in Rouen, France, on the 14th of September 1435 at the age of 46.
He was later interred at the Cathedral at Rouen. 
Despite being married twice he died without issue although he did leave one illegitimate daughter by an unknown mistress, Lady Mary Plantagenet
Two years after being widowed, Jaquetta married Sir Richard Woodville with whom she had sixteen children, one of whom would become the wife of the future King Edward IV whereupon she became Queen Consort Elisabeth. 

Humphrey, Duke of Gloucester. (1390 - 1447). Humphrey Lancaster 1st Duke of Gloucester was born on the 3rd of October 1390. Gloucester was the regent for Henry VI and was well respected both by the royal family and members of the government.
He married Jacqueline Of Hainaut, daughter of William VI Count of Hainaut and Margaret of Burgundy in 1422.
Jacqueline gave birth to a stillborn child in 1424 and they had no other children.Their marriage was annulled in 1428 and Jacqueline died in 1436 after being completely disinherited.
It was also in the year of his divorce from Jacqueline that Humphrey commissioned the building of The Palace of Placentia in Greenwich Park in London, which became the birthplace of many of the Tudor royals, including Henry VIII, Mary Tudor and Elisabeth I.
At around 1430 Humphrey married his long term mistress Eleanor Cobham, daughter of Sir Reynard the third Duke of Cobham and Eleanor CulpepperThe couple aleady had two illegitimate children from their affair, Arthur Plantagenet and Antigone Plantagenet the future Countess of Tankerville. 
In 1441 Eleanor admitted to and was subsequently imprisoned for witchcraft and sorcery in an attempt to kill the king. Apparently she had been caught with a wax effigy of the king into which she was sticking pins.
Their marriage was annulled and Eleanor was imprisoned in Peel Castle on the Isle of Man, where she lived until her death in 1452 at the age of 50.
This led to Gloucester falling from favour with Margaret of Anjou, who became elemental in Gloucester's arrest for treason. After having lived a life of popularity from other royals, the government and the general masses Humphrey died from a stroke, supposedly brought on by the shock of having been arrested for treason, on the 20th of February 1447 at Bury St Edmunds in Suffolk. He died three days later on the 23rd of February at the age of 56. He was interred at St Albans Abbey, Hertfordshire.
The Duke of Gloucester was an ancestor of Elisabeth Bowes - Lyon, Queen Consort to King George VI and mother of Queen Elisabeth II, making the present royal family a direct line from King Henry IV.  

Blanche of England (1392 - 1409). Blanche of England was born at Peterborough Castle in Northamptonshire in 1392.
She married Louis III, Elector of Palantine in 1402, at Cologne Cathedral in Germany.They had one son, Rupert (Ruprecht) Prince of Palantine, who was born on the 22nd of May 1406 at Heidelburg in Germany.
Whilst pregnant with her second child Blanche contracted a fever and died on the 22nd of May, 1409 in Haguenau, Alsace, at the age of 17.  
She is buried at St Mary's Church, Neustadt in Palantine. Her son Rupert died aged 19 in 1426, unmarried and without issue.  

Philippa of England (1394 - 1430). Phillipa of England was born at Peterborough Castle on the 4th of June 1394. It was during her birth that her mother Mary passed away. 
When she was 12 years old she married Eric of Pomerania, King of Denmark, Norway and Sweden on the 26th of October 1406She became his Queen regent, where she took upon the job of overseeing all three countries during her husband's many absences. She was considered more efficient at many issues of state than her husband and eventually began to take charge even when her husband was not abroad. 
She gave birth to a stillborn boy sometime in 1429 and the couple had no other children.  
Philippa died on the 7th of January 1430 whilst away on official business at the age of 35. She was interred at the Cloister Church in Vadstena in Linkoping, Sweden.


Henry's second marriage was to Joan of Navarre (1370 - 1437), whom he married at Winchester Cathedral on the seventh of February 1403. Joan was crowned queen consort two weeks later on the 26th of February. 
Joan was born in Pamplona in Spain sometime in 1370 and was the daughter of King Charles of Navarre and his wife Joan of France. 
At the time of her marriage she was also the widow of  John, the fifth Duke of Brittany, who died in 1399, with whom she'd had nine children although she bore King Henry no heirs at all.  

In 1419 she was charged, tried and then imprisoned for trying to poison King Henry and was incarcerated at Pevensey Castle in Sussex for four years. After her release she went to live out the rest of her life at Nottingham Castle
Joan died at Havering in London on the 10th of June 1437 at the age of 67 and was later interred at Trinity Chapel in Canterbury Cathedral in Kent, alongside King Henry.  


Henry was born on the 16th of September 1386 to his sixteen year old mother Mary and his twenty one year old father Henry Bolingbroke, at Monmouth Castle in Wales. 
Henry of Monmouth became King Henry V upon the death of his father in March 1413. He was crowned King of England at Westminster Abbey on the 9th of April of that same year.
Henry is probably best remembered for his many successful military campaigns against the Welsh and the French, commonly known as the Hundred Years War (1337 - 1453), the most famous of which was the Battle of Agincourt in 1415. 
Henry also instigated an act of parliament which put into place the use of passports for foreign travel.
King Henry V died on the 31st of August 1422 in Chateau de Vincennes in France at the age of thirty four. He was Buried at Westminster Abbey



On June the second 1420, when Henry was just fourteen years old, he married Catherine of Valois (1401 - 1437) at Troyes Cathedral in France.  
Catherine was born on the 27th of October 1401 in Paris, France and was the daughter of King Charles VI of France and his wife Isabelle of Bavaria.  
Catherine was also the younger sister of Isabella of Valois, the second wife of Plantagenet king, Richard II

Catherine and Henry were married for only two years before Henry's death in 1422.  
They had one son, Henry, who was born at Windsor Castle on the 6th of December 1421, who would later become King Henry VI. 

Queen Catherine was widowed in 1422 at the age of twenty one.  
She went on to marry nobleman Owen Tudor (1400 - 1461) the son of Maredudd ap Tudur / Meredith Tudor and his wife Margaret ferch Dafydd / Lady Margaret Davidin a secret ceremony sometime in 1431.  
It is believed that Katherine and Owen had five children, although there are only birth and death records for two of them, they were;  Edmund Tudor (1431 - 1456), Jasper Tudor (1431 - 1495), Edward TudorOwen TudorMargaret Tudor. 
Catherine died in London on the 3rd of January 1437 at the age of thirty five and as the wife of a former king and mother of the present king, was interred at Westminster Abbey in London

Henry was born on the sixth of December 1421 at Windsor Castle. 
Henry became King of England upon the death of his father on the 31st of August 1422 at the age of just nine months old. Two months later he would also become the disputed King of France until 1453, an agreement which was instigated by the signing of the Treaty of Troyes of 1420 after the death of his Grandfather King Charles VI.  
Both countries were ruled by regent councils until the king came of age, in those days it was sixteen, although he was actually crowned on the sixth of November 1429, when he was just seven years old, at Westminster Abbey in London.
Henry grew up into a studious and pious young man, which left him totally unsuited for the tasks that lay ahead of him. He also suffered from bouts of melancholy and temporary bouts of insanity, making him an unpredictable and unstable man, leading to his wife, Margaret of Anjou, to assume control of the kingdom, which eventually contributed to his downfall and the collapse of the Royal House of Lancaster, as she was the principal antagonist in the War of the Roses fought between the houses of York and Lancaster.   
Due to further depression after the death of his young son Edward, Henry was imprisoned in the Tower of London where he died (some say he may have been murdered) on the 22nd of May 1471.  
He was later buried in St Georges Chapel in Windsor Castle. 
His death saw the collapse of the House of Lancaster and paved the way for a new royal dynasty, that of the Royal House of York, by way of the newly crowned King Edward VI.  
However, for all Henry's incompetence he did leave the country three lasting legacies.  He founded both Eton College in Berkshire and King's College in Cambridge and completed the building of Syon Abbey at Twickenham Park in Middlesex, a work which was originally undertaken by his father.  


At the age of twenty three Henry married the fifteen year old Margaret of Anjou on the 23rd of April 1445 at a ceremony held in Titchfield in Hampshire.  
Margaret was born on the 23rd of March 1430 at Pont - a - Mousson in Lorraine, France. She was the daughter of Rene I of Naples and his wife Isabella, Duchess of Lorraine. 
By all accounts Margaret was a beautiful, gregarious and passionate woman when she arrived in England in order to marry King Henry VI on the 23rd of April 1445, but on realising her new husband's shortcomings, Margaret set about running the country in his place. She was the cause and principle figure in a series of dynastic civil wars known as the War of the Roses, between the Royal House of York and the Royal House Lancaster. 
Henry and Margaret had one son, Edward of Westminster, who was born on the 13th of October 1453. By the time his son was born Henry had suffered a complete mental breakdown, becoming totally unaware of everything around him, leaving the running of the country to Richard, Earl of Warwick and George, Duke of Clarence.
It was Margaret's decision in 1455 to form a Great Council without Yorkist representation, that went on to spark thirty years of civil war that decimated the nobility of the time and caused the deaths of thousands of men including her only son Edward.
Throughout her marriage Margaret found herself living with a man who had more interest in religion and education than in her.  After the birth of her son in 1453 rumours were rife about who the father of the prince really was, considering the King to be neither interested nor even physically capable of sexual relations.

These facts pleased Yorkist leaders, as to deny the young prince his royal lineage would pave the way for a Yorkist to be next inline for the throne. However, so fervent was Margaret's desire to be a good Queen in the place of her inept husband and her pride in the name of the Royal House of Lancaster patently obvious, that these unfounded rumours were eventually quashed.

With the subsequent death of both her son and husband in a matter of days and a new Yorkist King upon the throne of England, Margaret slipped into a decline. She was arrested and first imprisoned in Wallingford Castle, before being moved to the Tower of London.  
However her life was spared when the French king, Louis XI, ransomed his country's former subject enabling her to spend her last seven years in relative peace and harmony in her homeland of France.
She died on the 25th of August 1482 at the age of fifty two and was buried at Angers Cathedral beside her parents. 
However, even in death Margaret was unable to rest in peace, as it is believed that her tomb was ransacked and her remains were scattered by French revolutionaries during the civil unrest of 1789.  

Henry and Margaret's only child was Edward of Westminster, the Prince of Wales who was born on the 13th of October 1453 at the Palace of Westminster in London, amid much speculation as to his lineage. He was invested as the Prince of Wales at Windsor Castle in 1454.
Edward married Anne Neville at the age of 17 on the 13th of December 1470 at Angers Cathedral, France.
Anne was the daughter of Richard Neville, the 16th Earl of Warwick and his wife Anne de Beauchamp.
The Prince of Wales along with his mother and new bride arrived back in England after the couple's marriage celebrations amid great civil unrest.  
Under his mother's influence the inexperienced prince rode into battle under the banner of the House of Lancaster at the Battle of Tewkesbury in Gloucestershire, where he was killed on the 4th of May 1471 aged just seventeen. Rumour has it that the young prince was probably singled out and murdered by Yorkist supporters of the Duke of Clarence.  
He was buried at Tewkesbury Abbey in the town where he fell. 
The Prince of Wales' wife, Anne Princess of Wales, was born at Warwick Castle on the 11th of June, 1456. During her short life she was to became the Princess of Wales by her first husband and Queen Consort by her second.   
Anne was widowed within months of marrying the young Edward, Prince of Wales at the age of just fifteen. Within the year she had married Richard, Duke of York and within another year she had given birth to a son, Edward of Middleham, born at Middleham Castle in Wenslydale.
Her husband went on to became King Richard III of England in 1483 with Anne becoming Queen Consort and their son became the Prince of Wales at an investiture at York Minster in the same year.
Their son was known to be a sickly child and his life was cut short at the age of just eleven, when he died in April 1484, leaving King Richard III without an heir.  
Anne died of tuberculosis soon after her son on the 16th of March 1485, at the age of just twenty eight.
For some reason Anne's final resting place in Westminster Abbey was never marked at the time of her death and it wasn't until 1960 that an inscribed brass plaque, befitting her status as a former Queen of England, was placed upon her tomb. 


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