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Richard II

Conflicts with the Barons

In 1382, Richard married Anne of Bohemia, to whom he became very much devoted. In the following years the king began to assert his independence from the barons who had dominated the government, gathering about him a new court party, led by Robert de Vere, earl of Oxford, and Michael de la Pole, earl of Suffolk (see Pole, family). He had a bitter quarrel with John of Gaunt, his uncle, while on an expedition to Scotland in 1385. The following year, however, when Gaunt went to Spain, Richard found himself at the mercy of a resentful baronial party led by another of his uncles, Thomas of Woodstock, duke of Gloucester. In the so-called Wonderful Parliament (1386) that group forced the king to dismiss Pole from the chancellorship and imposed on him a baronial council.

Richard did not submit for long. He obtained (1387) a statement from the royal judges declaring the proceedings of the Parliament to have infringed his prerogative and raised an army in N England. However, his supporters were defeated in battle at Radcot Bridge (1387), and the king, threatened with deposition, had to submit to the proceedings of the Merciless Parliament of 1388. His friends, Pole, de Vere, and others, were "appealed" (i.e., accused) of treason by five lords appellant—Gloucester; the earl of Arundel; Thomas de Beauchamp, earl of Warwick; Thomas Mowbray, later 1st duke of Norfolk; and the duke of Hereford (later Henry IV)—and those that did not escape the country were executed.

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The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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