chapter  6
15 Pages

Becoming a virgin king

Richard II and Edward the Confessor
ByKatherine J. Lewis

Richard II’s devotion to Edward the Confessor has been examined by several scholars over the last few years. It has been interpreted within the context of Richard’s pious practices and wider religious interests, and his investment in Edward as a model of the peace-loving king.1 This chapter offers an additional dimension by speculating that Richard’s interest in Edward may also have been a matter of political expediency and that it can tell us something about the anxieties surrounding his status as both king and man. This is to be understood not in general terms, but within the specific context of the mid-1390s, the period which witnessed the death of Richard’s first wife Anne of Bohemia in 1394 and his remarriage to the 6-yearold Isabella of France, in the midst of growing concerns about the succession.