Richard, the son of
Edward the Black Prince and
Joan, Fair Maid of Kent, was born January 6 1367 at Bordeaux.
In 1377 ten-year-old Richard succeeded his grandfather, Edward III, to the English throne - his father having died the previous year On July 16th 1387, Richard II was crowned at Westminster. He proved to be ineffectual, the real power lay with his uncle, John of Gaunt.
Richard was devoted to his first wife, Anna of Bohemia. Her death after twelve years of marriage urged him to have Sheen Palace, where she died, destroyed. His second wife, Isabel of France, was only nine when they married. Richard had no children and this created a crisis in succession.
In 1399 Henry of Bolingbroke, the Lancastrian son of John of Gaunt, won support from the nobles who were outraged by new tax demands. Bolingbroke arrested Richard II and imprisoned him in Pontefract Castle. Speculation about Richard's death in the castle has continued down the generations. Some say he lost the will to live and starved himself to death, others say that he was murdered.
He died on January 6 1400 and was succeed by Henry of Bolingbroke.
Isabelle of France died September 13 1409 and was buried in the Abbey of St Saumer, later body was moved to Paris.
Pontefract Castle. © Pontefract Museum.