Monday, September 2, 2013

For the Glory of England

The changing nature of kingship in fourteenth century England. To quote:
In September of 1399, Henry of Bolingbroke stood before Parliament in Westminster and was proclaimed king, becoming Henry IV of England (r. 1399-1413). Henry had recently staged a rebellion and forced his cousin, King Richard II (r. 1377-99), to abdicate the throne. As Richard had no children, Henry needed only to wait for his cousin’s death to become king. But Richard had not been living up to the traditional image of a powerful king; he preferred peace to war and had formed unpopular ideas about the absolute authority of the monarchy. When Henry took the crown for himself, he derived his new authority not solely through might of arms but with the legal backing of Parliament. Over the course of the fourteenth century, a new image of kingship emerged; a strong king was one who led his subjects on and off the battlefield, and balanced royal authority with guidance from Parliament. (Read more.)