Today is a sad day...or a happy day if you are a Lancastrian. On this date in 1399, Richard II was forced to abdicate the throne of England in favor of his cousin, Henry of Bolingbroke, son of John of Gaunt. Bolingbroke became King Henry IV. Some years before, Richard got into a snit about Henry and had him exiled. Then he confiscated all the Lancaster lands when John of Gaunt, his uncle, died. That was a lot of land and Henry and pretty much most of the ruling class by then had had it up to here with Richard. He'd already had bouts with Parliament and lost power and ground with the Lords Appellant fifteen years earlier. And he didn't learn then.
It's always big news when a crown changes hands. Henry was not in direct line when it came to heirs, though Richard didn't have a child. One has to wonder what the everyday man thought of such things. He, of course, would hear what the new regime wanted him to hear about the new king, but it was no secret that Richard's reign...had issues.
Lancaster never got to see his son take the throne but he left behind quite a legacy. In his household, Lancaster had the court poet Geoffrey Chaucer as a loyal friend and servant. Was it because he liked the man or liked his sister-in-law more, for the duke entertained Katherine Swynford as his mistress for many, many years, and even married her a year after Constance died. Does this sound familiar? (This wasn't his first mistress. When he was a young man he took one of the queen's [his mother's] ladies-in-waiting as a mistress, Marie de St. Hiliare, and had a daughter with her, named Blanche Plantagenet). All told, he had about 14 children both legitimate and ill-, with nine living into adulthood. His illegitimate children from Katherine Swynford were made legitimate by King Richard when John finally married her but they were barred from inheriting the throne. But their eldest son John later had a granddaughter, Margaret Beaufort, whose son became Henry VII and took the throne from the last Plantagenet. So never say never.
This fellow, a little reminiscent of Henry VIII when you think about it, is Henry IV.