Who’s Who – Henry IV

A guide to the key figures referenced in the Henry IV episode:

The Royal Family

Henry IV – The King (formerly Henry Bolingbroke)!

John of Gaunt – Henry’s father and a loyal servant of Richard II until his death in 1399, which prompts Henry to invade the country.

Prince Henry – eldest son of Henry IV, also known as Henry of Monmouth and will later become the legendary Henry V.

The Dead (featured in the last episode but relevant to this one too!)

Edward III – the shared grandfather of Henry IV and Richard II.

Richard II – the former king and Henry’s cousin, whose deposition by Henry in 1399 will define Henry IV’s reign and reputation.

Lords Appellant – a group of powerful nobles who acted against Richard II before suffering his vengeance later in the reign, of whom Henry IV was a junior member.

Thomas Mowbray (1st Duke of Norfolk) – another junior Lord Appellant, whose careless conversation with Henry in 1398 led to their both being exiled.

The Rebels

Owain Glyndwr – legendary Welsh figure who leads a highly successful rebellion against English rule in Wales and causes Henry serious difficulties.

Earl of Northumberland (Henry Percy, 1st Earl) – powerful noble who initially supported Henry’s IV’s rebellion in 1399 but would turn against him later in the reign

Harry Hotspur (Sir Henry Percy) – son of Northumberland and a headstrong warrior. Initially fought against Glyndwr but changed sides and fought Henry IV at Shrewsbury in 1403.

Richard Scrope – Archbishop of York who plotted against Henry, leading to his rather scandalous downfall.

The Others

Thomas Arundel – Archbishop of Canterbury who proved Henry’s greatest ally throughout the reign. Remembered chiefly for introducing the burning of heretics.

William Shakespeare – Elizabethan playwright who wrote two plays set in Henry IV’s reign and one about Richard II

Uncle (Edmund) Mortimer – uncle to the young Edmund Mortimer who was Henry’s main rival for the throne. Uncle Mortimer rebelled against Henry.

Family Fortunes – Wars of the Roses

We haven’t quite got there yet, but we’re moving towards the Wars of the Roses, the dynastic struggle between the Houses of Lancaster and York (with a bit of Tudor thrown in at the end). It all stems from the many children of Edward III and this is it’s shaping up…

The Lancastrians – descended from the first marriage of the third son of Edward III, John of Gaunt. Henry IV was the first Lancastrian king and his son, Henry V, is the next king.

The Mortimer’s – descended from Edward III’s second son, Lionel of Antwerp. Lionel’s only child was a daughter, so Henry claimed his male descent was superior. The young Edmund Mortimer is 22 on Henry’s death and the strongest rival to the throne.

The Yorkists – descended from Edward III’s fourth son, Edmund of Langley (Duke of York). A fairly junior place in the royal dynasty until York’s son marries Anne Mortimer, descended from Lionel of Antwerp, thus merging two royal dynasties into the powerful House of York. Their son, Richard Duke of York, will be a major player in the Wars of the Roses.

The Beaufort’s – descended from John of Gaunt’s third marriage. As he married after the birth of these children, their legitimacy was questioned and Henry IV barred them from the succession. Nevertheless, a powerful and semi-royal family, with John Beaufort (1st Duke of Somerset) heading the family at the end of Henry’s reign.

The Neville’s – powerful noble family who joined the royal elites when Ralph Neville married Joan Beaufort, a daughter of John of Gaunt.

The Tudor’s – still at this stage a powerful but slightly obscure Welsh family. They fight with Glyndwr during Henry IV’s reign, but will soon be playing a more prominent role in English affairs.