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Richard II
Richard II

Richard II (1367-1400) was 10 years old when he succeeded his grandfather, Edward III, as king. He was the son of Edward, the Black Prince, and a nephew of John of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster. From the beginning of Richard's reign, Gaunt was the real ruler. Gaunt taxed the people so heavily that a rebellion under Wat Tyler broke out in 1381. Richard showed considerable spirit and courage in putting down the rebellion.

Richard was a tyrant. He was guilty of great extravagance and of playing favourites. Because of his conduct, he won the hatred of all classes. The breaking point came when he seized the estates of his cousin, Henry Bolingbroke, John of Gaunt's son, in an attempt to ruin the House of Lancaster. Bolingbroke rallied an army and in 1399 forced Richard from the throne. Bolingbroke then became King Henry IV. Richard died in prison. He was probably murdered.