English Monarch. The son of John of Gaunt and Blanche of Lancaster, Henry, Duke of Lancaster had an on/off relationship with his cousin, King Richard II. He was one of the nobles who persecuted Richard's advisors and favorites, but his excellence as a soldier earned him Richard's favor. However, Richard's increasing suspicions led to Henry's banishment for 10 years. When Richard confiscated John of Gaunt's vast Lancastrian estates in 1399, Henry invaded England while the king was on campaign on Ireland and took the throne for himself, imprisoning Richard. Henry was crowned at Westminster Abbey on October 13. Henry's first wife, Mary Bohun, gave him 7 children before her death in 1394. His second wife and queen, Joan of Navarre, whom he married on February 7, 1403 was a very unpopular choice. The manner in which Henry took the throne set the stage for much of his reign. Incessant rebellions and revolts became very costly to crush, and his support dwindled. In 1405 he executed Archbishop of York Richard Scrope on charges of conspiracy, which alarmed his people and only compounded his unpopularity. The king's last two years were marked by failing health, and his son Prince Henry took over the reigns of government. Henry died in the Abbot of Westminster's house in the Jerusalem chamber, at the age of 46.
Bio by: Kristen Conrad