This is an assessment of the dramatic events of 1399, when Henry of Bolingbroke invaded England, deposed King Richard II, was crowned King Henry IV, and later instigated Richard's murder in the Tower. Henry has generally been thought of as ambitious, treacherous and cruel, in unappealing contrast to the sensitive, cultured and handsome Richard. The author questions the truth of this portrayal. How was Henry viewed by his contemporaries? What was the real relationship between the two princes? And what led to Henry's invasion and victory at a time when people believed in the divine right of kings? The book traces the relationship between the two princes right back to their early boyhood, and sets out to show how early rivalry led to envy, jealousy and suspicion, until the very existence of the other became a threat that had to be ended. Yet beneath all the tensions there remained between the cousins a sympathy which left Henry conscious-stricken for the rest of his life.
Table of Contents
The royal cousins; princes and playmates: betrayal; vengeance and murders; the five lords march; "to depose the King"; Richard fights back; knights of love and war; the pilgrim; the mask of the King; the over-mighty subject; Richard's revenge; the King in glory; battle to the death; banished; the return; the usurper; death of a king.