Culture & Literature
Richard III & the Plantagenets

Richard III & the Plantagenets

Richard III and the Plantagenets

Born out of civil war, the House of Plantagenet ruled for over 300 years before its last king was slain at the Battle of Bosworth in 1485. Throughout that time, England was plagued by war, murder and intrigue as the Plantagenets fought to keep the crown. Meet the kings and queens who saw the House's rise and those who fought for everything in the Wars of the Roses before the Tudor dynasty came to power and stamped them out.

United Kingdom
Future Publishing Ltd
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$11.57(Incl. tax)

in this issue

1 min.
welcome to richard iii & the plantagenets

Born out of anarchy, the House of Plantagenet would end in civil war. In between, the dynasty was plagued by madness, embroiled in battles and divided down the middle into the Houses of York and Lancaster – the two players in the bloody Wars of the Roses. In Richard III & the Plantagenets, discover the kings and queens who fought to keep the crown in the family for over 300 years and meet the ones who died trying. Explore the Crusading monarchs and those who thought the throne of France was their birthright. Uncover Mad King Henry VI and find out how he triggered the clash between the red and white roses that would change England forever. At Bosworth in 1485 a new dynasty emerged, and the Tudors would do…

4 min.
the house of plantagenet

The first Plantagenet king of England, Henry II, was the son of Geoffrey Plantagenet, Count of Anjou, and his wife, Matilda, the daughter of Henry I of England. Though Henry fully expected to inherit his grandfather’s English crown, when the English king died it was his nephew, Stephen, who seized power. The result was a civil war that dragged on for more than a decade, as the Angevins battled Stephen’s House of Blois for the rule of England. Young Henry was just nine years old when he joined the military campaign and eventually, as the years wore on, conflict gave way to diplomacy and, eventually, accord. In return for an end to hostilities, Stephen agreed to name Henry as his rightful heir and the men sealed their agreement with a kiss…

1 min.
what’s in a plantagenet name?

In the 12th century, Geoffrey, Count of Anjou, and father of the future Henry II of England, was known by the nickname ‘Plante Genest’. Two explanations have been advanced for this unusual soubriquet, with the first being that he wore a sprig of broom (called planta genista), in his hat. The second is that he planted thick broom to better hide him during hunts. When Richard of York, 3rd Duke of York, wished to emphasise his status as Geoffrey’s rightful heir in the 15th century, he adapted the nickname to Plantagenet and made it his family name. As the years passed it became used as a blanket term for all of Geoffrey’s descendants, beginning with the House of Angevin.…

11 min.
henry ii

In 1128, Geoffrey Plantagenet, the future count of Anjou, seemed to be a perfectly respectable match for Matilda, the daughter of Henry I of England. The couple’s first son, Henry, arrived in 1133 and, on one reckoning, the succession was secure. Unfortunately, when Henry I died in December 1135 there was much grumbling about the prospect of a woman (Matilda) or an Angevin (Geoffrey) seizing the reins of power: their child, Henry, was not yet two years old. Many eyes turned to a rival candidate, Henry I’s nephew Stephen, and before too long the nation had descended into civil war. From 1139, Matilda spent nine years attempting to wrest the crown from Stephen. She encountered little success, but across the English Channel Geoffrey made excellent headway in Normandy, securing the ducal title…

1 min.
making a saint

In life, Thomas Becket was not averse to the trappings of power. During one trip to France in 1157, monkeys on horseback carried luggage crammed with expensive silks and furs, and 12 horses were required to transport Becket’s silver and plate. In death, Becket became the hair-shirt-wearing ascetic and the martyr: the seal of the archbishops of Canterbury would carry an image of Becket’s murder until the 16th century. Within three years of his death, Becket had been canonised and, by this time, stories of miracles associated with his intervention had become commonplace. Vials of ‘Saint Thomas Water,’ supposedly containing droplets of Becket’s blood, were snapped up by pilgrims to Canterbury. In 1220, Becket’s remains were translated to a new, opulent shrine, which would draw huge crowds until its destruction under…

1 min.
an ageing king

“You will know,” Peter began, “that the lord king has been red-haired so far,” but “the coming of old age and grey hair has altered that colour somewhat.” Henry was of average stature: “His height is medium, so that neither does he appear great among the small, nor yet does he seem small among the great.” The real magic lay in the eyes. They remained “white and plain while he is of calm spirit; but in anger and disorder of heart they shine like fire and flash in fury.” Henry was also a “man strong, agile and bold,” with “curved legs, a horseman’s shins, broad chest, and a boxer’s arms,” but he had his share of frailties. “Part of the toenail,” Peter reported, “is grown into the flesh of his foot,…