Portrait of Henry IV (1367-1413), King of England, Lord of Ireland (1399-1413), Duke of Aquitaine (1399-1400), Duke of Lancaster and Lord High Steward (1399)
Henry IV (15 April 1367 – 20 March 1413), also known as Henry Bolingbroke, was King of England and Lord of Ireland from 1399 to 1413, and asserted the claim of his grandfather, Edward III, to the Kingdom of France. Henry was born at Bolingbroke Castle in Lincolnshire. His father, John of Gaunt, was the fourth son of Edward III and the third son to survive to adulthood, and enjoyed a position of considerable influence during much of the reign of Henry's cousin Richard II, whom Henry eventually deposed. Henry's mother was Blanche, heiress to the considerable Lancaster estates, and thus he became the first King of England from the Lancaster branch of the Plantagenets and the first King of England since the Norman Conquest whose mother tongue was English rather than French. John of Gaunt died in February 1399. Without explanation, Richard cancelled the legal documents that would have allowed Henry to inherit Gaunt's land automatically. Instead, Henry would be required to ask for the lands from Richard. After some hesitation, Henry met with the exiled Thomas Arundel, former Archbishop of Canterbury. Henry and Arundel returned to England while Richard was on a military campaign in Ireland. With Arundel as his advisor, Henry began a military campaign, confiscating land from those who opposed him and ordering his soldiers to destroy much of Cheshire. Henry initially announced that his intention was to reclaim his rights as Duke of Lancaster, though he quickly gained enough power and support to have himself declared King Henry IV, imprison King Richard (who died in prison under mysterious circumstances). Henry's coronation, on 13 October 1399, may have marked the first time since the Norman Conquest when the monarch made an address in English.
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