On this day in 1400 Richard, formerly Richard II of England. died. The exact cause of his death is the subject of speculation to this day.
Richard had started his reign on a high following the Peasants’ Revolt, however from there onwards it had been on a downwards slop. Eventually dissatisfaction with his reign led to him being deposed on the October 1st 1399 and his first cousin, Henry Bolingbroke was crowned on October 13th, becoming King Henry IV. Having become King, Henry agreed to let Richard live. Henry had Richard taken from the Tower of London to Leeds and then onto Pontefract Castle.
In the months that followed Henry stripped titles from the earls of Huntingdon, Kent, Rutland and Salisbury and Lord Despenser – titles that Richard had given during his reign. Unhappy at the removal of their status they planned to murder Henry and reinstate Richard to the throne in what is known as the Epiphany Rising.
The plans to put Richard back on the throne went sideways when Edward of Norwich, who had been part of the group planning the uprising in December, switched sides and informed the King of the plot in January 1400. With his safety secured, Henry IV became aware of the high risk of keeping Richard alive and so when Richard died on the 14th February rumours spread that he was killed, by what means it was unknown.
To show that he had not been murdered but that he was indeed dead, his body was put on public display in St Paul's Cathedral on February 17th. There was no sign of violence on his body and it is believed that he died from starvation – of his own choice of forced on him is open to speculation. From London Richard’s body was taken quietly to a Dominican Priory at Kings Langley, Hertfordshire and buried in March. Richard’s body would later be returned to London in 1413 and buried in Westminster Abbey alongside his first wife, Anne of Bohemia. This was apparently an effort by Henry V to atone his fathers supposed murderous acts and to silence the ongoing rumours that Richard II was still alive.
Thee scenes were built by James Pegrum as part of a series of models on the Kings and Queens of England. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to see them first.
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