Friday, April 16, 2010

Those Revolting Welsh!

Despite obvs not being the sharpest crayon in the Plantagenet box, Richard II is one of Scarlet's fav kings.  Methinks the whole gay thing was just scurrilous rumor b/c the time for him to have brough a male fav front & center would've been in the yrs he had no queen, dontcha think?  Them English peeps were always muttering about taxes for those endless wars, but were they happy when they got a king whose primary objective was to NOT have wars?  Of course not, b/c the son of the mighty warriors Black Prince & Edward III should've been chasing Scots & Frenchies as soon as he was outta nappies!  Tis always the mighty warrior kings who get the good press.  Hey, is it his fault Daddy had the sicks practically Richard's whole life & Gramps was senile & didn't nobody think to learn him warrior stuff? 

Richard by all accounts was faithfully devoted to Anne of Bohemia despite the lack of heirs (there was no tearful trail of miscarriages, she just never conceived at all in 12 yrs) & there was no whisper of any GFs or bastards in the 6 yrs btwn her demise & his; fiercely loyal to those whom he felt returned the favor (didn't he legit Uncle John's bastards & invite his mistress duchess to court?); wanted peace & not war; was a huge patron of the arts (he pd Geoffrey Chaucer to pen The Book of the Duchess, a paen of praise to Auntie Blanche of Lancaster); modernized & remodled lots of the principal castles; his was the 1st English court in which English was actually spoken instead of that tiresome Norman French; & he was the 1st English king to create the sort of "cult of majesty" around the court that the Tudors would later use to such great advantage. 

Methinks Gaunt went to Castile to let the teenaged king try his wings sans prodding & greatly underestimated baby bro Gloucester's thirst for power, as well as his own son's.  Gaunt was like that.  Ya had to seriously screw up b4 Gaunt started looking at ya sideways.  That's the whole prob w/ guys who possess the trait of honor; tis inconceivable to em that everyone else doesn't think the same way, just like sociopaths think everyone else is as conscienceless as they are.  And Gaunt was Richard's greatest influence.  The deposition of Edward II was more of a palace coup, b/c he had clearly lost control & no one but the queen had the cojones to do anything about it, whilst the deposition of Richard II was more about wresting his assertion of control away.  Really, the only wrong thing he did whilst ruling sans regency was revenge himself upon the Lord Appellants, & he had the decency to wait until Uncle Gaunt was in a coma to do it (& yknow, if Dad was fading fast, why was Henry lollygagging at court getting into arguments w/ his BFF, anyway, hmmm?  Tis a fair ride from London to Leicester.). 

At any rate, what stands out the most is the image of the boy king having the balls to do what his regency council didn't....stare down a seething London mob face-to-face & more than once.  The kid had promise.  But this is why the Scots love a good regency LOL....warp em while they're young so they continue to do whatcha want.  The second Richard set his curly-toed shoe outside that boundary, he was jumped & he never even saw it coming, alas.

King Bolingbroke, who'd previously been a splendid warrior & worked on the continent as a mercenary in Lithuania under the Teutonic Knights, w/ the Hundred Years' War in a truce lull, turned into a sickly king. He was said to have contracted leprosy EEEUUUUWWW & didn't have any kidlets w/ the 2nd wife he took after becoming king, Joanna of Navarre.  Since she had 8 from her 1st DH the Duke of Brittany & Henry had 6 lickety-split w/ his 1st DW Mary de Bohun, twas curious that in 12 yrs they couldn't produce a one btwn em.  Henry obvs was a fashion plate (like Richard) his good self, as you can see.

Henry IV
holding a red rose of Lancaster
& apparently wearing a tablecloth ROFL
Dude, that is SO not a kingly hat!

Henry IV is the 1st king who gave his coronation address in English rather than in French.  Peeps could now cease rolling their Rs & loosening their front teeth w/ their tongues for doing it so much LOL  His 1st issue was, of course, what to do w/ Richard.  Spare kings are magnets for rebellion & within a cpl mos there was one called the Epiphany Rising.  Richard's BD was January 6th (he turned 33 in 1400, a Capricorn just like Jesus who demised at the same age :O), which besides being Twelfth Night & a reason to sing We Three Kings off-key, was the feast of the Epiphany in the Catholic calendar.  Twas the cleverest thing about the plot as twas quickly uncovered & broken up.  What was allegedly Richard's corpse was displayed in St Paul's Cathedral so peeps could see he was really demised following his alleged Valentine's Day death at Pontefract.  In later yrs there were reports of a priest named Richard Maudelyn (maudlin?  HA HA if fake name for real Richard) who was the demised king & hiding out in Scotland.  Some peeps said twas just Richard's bastard.  Who knows.  Birth certificates hadn't been invented yet.

Then the last Welsh rebellion reared up in splendid style & was unimaginatively called the Welsh Revolt.  This was led by Owain Glyndwr, who wasn't your average Welsh princeling rebel type.  He read law in London at the fabled Lincoln's Inn & saw military service under the English in the meh Scots & Frenchie campaigns of Richard's reign, & his wife, Margaret, was from an English Welsh Marcher family.  Whilst serving in the army he caught Bolingbroke's eye & actually served as his squire & fought at the battle of Radcot Bridge.  Then right after his former master seized the throne, a Marcher peep called Grey of Ruthin seized a chunk of Glyndwr's Welsh lands.  He stormed off to London to argue the legalties & Henry dismissed the case & let the seizure stand.  Betcha if he'd known how much trouble this decision was gonna cause he might've hmmm'd it over a bit longer b/c it wasn't long b4 this atop other minor incidents made the Welsh of Powys bare their teeth & hike up the standard, determined to win indepedence for Wales entirely.  They were sick of these English peeps running amuck & always winning cases.

The king apptd Henry Percy AKA Harry Hotspur, the Earl of Northumberland's heir, to truck in there & shut em down.  Peeps hated Welsh campaigns b/c the hilly, marshy terrain made it tough to maintain a decent supply line & the Welsh invented guerrilla warfare.  They had no compunctions about climbing trees w/ their great Welsh longbows (which won the day at Crecy & had em all chuffed) & picking the English off one at a time b4 fading into the forest.  Twasn't EZ to subdue the Welsh no siree. 

After a cpl yrs of skirmishes Henry decided to pass what was called Penal Laws against Wales.  This made even more peeps go pffft & join Glyndwr.  Grey de Ruthin got himself captured by Glyndwr, no doubt making him soil his dainties, but Glyndwr played fair & held him hostage for a huge ransom.  Then Glyndwr scored big by capturing Edmund Mortimer, the Earl of March & Henry's cuz.  Henry said meh keep him not paying this time, b/c of course the Mortimers had just as good a claim to the throne as he did, & he'd set precedent for removal by shoving Richard off it.  Potential threats could rot in Wales.  Mortimer was not amused & ended up marrying one of Owain's daughters & allying w/ the Welsh. 

Henry was spitting tacks when Owain had the nerve to hold a nice coronation ceremony for himself as Prince of Wales.  WHO DOES THIS PEEP THINK HE IS TO JUST WALTZ AROUND GRABBING A THRONE & GETTING CROWNED? he roared.  Peeps had to cover their lips w/ their hankies (which Richard kindly invented as there wasn't any tissues yet & twas hard on those jewel-encrusted sleeves to wipe one's nose on em all the time) so Henry wouldn't see em smirk w/ o the irony LOL

Then Henry had quite the shock b/c the Percys thunk Mortimer got a raw deal & THEY allied themselves w/ Glyndwr!  The Percys were trounced at the battle of Shrewsbury; Hotspur was kilt & his father, also a Henry Percy, fled to Scotland where he harassed the borders real good for a while & then was kilt himself at the battle of Branham Moor.  Henry ordered his head posthumously removed & brung to London for display so peeps could see what happened to peeps who rebelled against their rightful king.  LMFAO are we getting the irony here, children?

Alnwick Castle in Northumberland,
home of the Percys

Then the eldest of Henry's 4 sons by Mary de Bohun (she produced a kid a yr from age 14 on & was demised from it by 20), Henry of Monmouth, who was just 16, piped up & said, hey, Dad, this whole slash & burn thing ain't working as usual, how 'bout we send some ships round the bend here & do a nice blockade so THEY can't get supplies from those meddling Frenchies? 

The king was so pleased w/ this clever idea that he gave into Henry Jr's whinging to fight.  Monmouth got a Welsh arrow in the face for his trouble.  Betcha tis why his official portrait is in profile LOL he's showing the good side.  Meh chicks dig scars esp on military peeps, & he lived to show it off, but um OUCH.  This strategy began to pay off & soon the English were taking castles left & right.  Edmund Mortimer was kilt & his wife Catrin, 3 daughters, 2 SILs, & his MIL all went to the Tower, never to be seen or heard from again.  And do ya see anyone investigating THAT?  Noooo, they just pick on my Richard!

Glyndwr was hunted down like a dog but he was always a step ahead of the English & never captured despite ginormous amts of coin offered for info as to his whereabouts, & then suddenly he was poof begoned!  Didn't no one know where he went.  Twas assumed he demised & had a seecrud funeral, but there was always rumors w/ no TV & internet to keep the peeps occupied & some said he lived out his days pretending to be a chaplain in the household of his surviving daughter Alys, who married an English sheriff peep from Herefordshire (that used to border Powys till they started map-changing).  The Welsh sighed & settled down & been a part of England ever since w/ no more fussing.

Henry married off his younger daughter Philippa to Eric, King of Denmark, Norway, & Sweden (yup he had em all) & his elder daughter Blanche to Louis, Elector of the Palatine.  They were bad queens b/c they didn't do their heir duty.  Jeez, I wonder if introducing the name "Philippa" into Scandinavia has anything to do w/ Pippi Longstocking?  ROFL  Son #2, Thomas, was married to the widowed heiress Margaret Holland, & tho she had 6 kids they never had any, either.  He was the Duke of Clarence & so his bastard son John was styled "the Bastard of Clarence" LOL  Son #3, John, Duke of Bedford, was married to Anne of Brittany, who gave it the old college try for like 10 yrs & then demised in childbirth when she finally got pregnant, the kid along w/ her.  After that he married the fetching young 17 yo Jacquetta of Luxembourg, daughter of the Count de la St Pol, but no kidlets there.  Son #4, Humphrey, Duke of Gloucester (see? toldja),

contemporary sketch of Humphrey, Duke of Gloucester
obvs w/ a bad hair day, judging by the hat LOL

was married 1st to Jacqueline, Countess of Hainault, but he greased the Pope's palms & got an annulment to marry his GF, Eleanor Cobham.  Yup, no kids, & Eleanor got banished for allegedly practicing witchcraft against Humphrey's nephew king.  So Henry banged out 6 brats in as many yrs, but only managed to get one lousy grandchild out of it eventually.

The most exciting occurrence in Henry IVs reign was the conflict btwn him & his eldest son. Prince Hal, as he was called, was supposedly a nice roisterer who cared naught about being trained for proper kingship yet constantly opposed his father & demanded greater power, despite the odd clever brainfart. He didn't want to get married & breed up heirs, just party.  Meh I got 3 baby bros, let THEM breed, he shrugged. Twas said Henry feared for the realm after his own demise w/ Prince Hal in charge. Twas so interesting a father/son conflict that Shakespeare had to write Henry V in 2 parts so there ya go, don't take my word for it.

Then Henry demised, putting an end to his lacklustre tenure, & weren't peeps surprised at what happened when there was Henry V....

1 comment:

  1. This is hysterically funny, and surprisingly easy to read when you are looking for a quick memory update on who married whom and had what kids who became what.
    Really cleverly done, IMHO.