The Legacy of Edward III
Edward III appeared to be notoriously loyal to his wife, Philippa of Hainault and only took his mistress, Alice Pierres after Philippa died.
When Edward III died, his grandson, Richard II came to the throne. Richard's father, Edward, the Black Prince, was Edward III's oldest son. Edward's second son was Lionel, his 3rd son was John of Gaunt and his fourth son was Edmund of Langley (these are the boys who survived infancy.) These naughty boys paint the backdrop for England's war to come "The Wars of the Roses."
For simplicity's sake: The Wars of the Roses was a British civil war between 1455-1485 between the houses of Lancaster and York for the throne. Now, getting there wasn't so simple. Let's take a look at Naughty Boy #1 – Richard II.
Richard was ten when he came to the throne. Ten and clueless. His father had been groomed for the throne as was Richard's elder brother. His father and brother died before Edward III did, leaving Richard the heir to the throne upon his grandfather's death. (Edward the Black Prince married his first cousin, Joan, and died of dysentery, from be all the warring he did. Ewww.)
As for Richard, no one groomed him to be king one day. The nobles didn't trust John of Gaunt to be regent so they came up with the idea of councils to assist Richard in ruling. (John of Gaunt, by now, is the eldest of Edward III's children alive.)
The councils did the trick, and Richard assumed full authority when he turned 18. Richard was a good looking guy, tall, over six feet, but described as being effeminate in his features. He married Anne of Bohemia when they were 15 in 1382. Initially, the marriage was unpopular. Anne had no dowry and Richard had to pay HER family to marry her. Anne won over the people and by the time she died, they called her Good Queen Anne. Interestingly, Anne had no children. She died in 1394. In 1396 Richard married Isabella of France. She was only 6! Needless to say they didn't have sex. Toward the end of his Richard turned into a tyrant and was accused of gross mismanagement of the throne. Richard abdicated and died before Isabella reached child bearing age.
So why didn't Richard have kids? The answer is lost to history. Perhaps he was sterile? I'm sure he did his duty by Anne. Perhaps Anne couldn't have them? History does not tell of us any other lovers Richard might have had male or female. When Richard died, Isabella when to France and married Charles, Duke of Orleans. She died in childbirth. Things that make you go um… Needless to say, Richard didn't have any kids.
So who is NEXT in line?
Naughty Boy #2 – Lionel of Antwerp
Lionel was born in Nov 1338 in Antwerp, the 2nd son to survive infancy of Edward III. He married his first wife, Elizabeth in 1352 and they had a daughter, Philippa. Lionel spent a lot of time in Ireland "taming the marshes." Elizabeth died after having Philippa so Lionel set out to find another wife and he did – an Italian, Violette. He went to Italy and married her. Shortly after the marriage he died. It was rumored her dad poisoned Lionel.
Lionel's only heir was Philippa, a GIRL! Heaven forbid. She might have been "of age" when Richard abdicates, but the nobles hardly give her a thought. After all – she's a GIRL. Sadly, they overlook Lionel's heir because of her sex. Those naughty nobles. Philippa goes on to marry Edmund Mortimer and they become known in Ireland.
Naughty Boy #3 – John of Gaunt
Unlike Richard II, John can't keep it in his pants. He was born in Ghent, hence, Gaunt, the English translation. Gaunt was excluded from being Richard's Regent because of his dealings with Alice Pierrers before his father died, but John was always loyal to Richard.
John had sex with one of his mother's ladies-in-waiting and fathered a child by her in 1359. It was a girl who was named Philippa. Then John married his first wife, Blanche. His eldest son was Henry Bolinbroke, his heir. John was named the 1st Duke of Lancaster. When Blanche died, John married a lady named Constance from Castille. He fathered a daughter with Constance, but while married to Constance, John had a passionate affair with a lady named Katherine Sywnford and they had four kids named the Beauforts. After Constance died, John married Katherine, but their kids were born out of wedlock. They were legitimatized after John and Katherine married but excluded from the throne. Keep an eye of the Beauforts – they'll come back to haunt the throne.
Naughty Boy #4 – Edmund of Langley, 1st Duke of York
Edmund's wife was Isabella of Castille – Constance's sister. Ewwww. He had two boys – Edward and Richard with Isabella. Edward died heroically in the Battle of Agincourt. Richard fathered a couple of children and then died a traitor's death when it was discovered he had plotted to kill Henry V. Anyway it's one of Richard's boys who marries Anne Mortimer, Philippa Moritmer's granddaughter. (Remember Philippa – Lionel's only daughter?) Richard York (Edmund's grandson) and Anne Mortimer have a son named Richard – the 3rd Duke of York.
Edmund dies where he's born, poor thing. He's actually not very naughty, he's just the founder of the house of York, which of course is important when we get to the Wars of the Roses.
The real interesting guy in this whole mess is John of Gaunt because of his healthy libido.
What resonates? Richard II invented the handkerchief.
NEXT: Oh what a tangled web we weave when we USURP the throne – Henry IV.