chapter  2
32 Pages

Military and political apprenticeship, 1399–1413

Despite the full weight of Lancastrian propaganda and the careful stage-management of Richard’s ‘voluntary’ abdication, it remained apparent that Henry IV had no real right to the crown of England beyond naked force and Parliament’s determination to thrust it upon him at any cost. And surely enough, the manner of his ‘triumph’ in September 1399 would continue to dog him for at least the fi rst six years of his rule. Henry began, it is true, with much sympathy over his ill treatment at Richard’s hands. He was also undeniably head of the richest family in England, with four male heirs to bolster him. But he was not the fi rst king to prove more successful at winning a crown than wearing one, and when the challenges duly arrived they focused unfailingly upon the legitimacy of his rule. In consequence, his heir’s fi rst contact with the art of government would occur in the tensest possible atmosphere.