WI Richard II isn't deposed (2024 ed)

So we did have a thread discussing this idea a few years ago, which is worth checking out here, but it also focused a lot on who would eventually succeed the young king.

For this new thread, I'm more interested in some other questions -- first, what would be the latest PoD that could realistically achieve this? (Hard limit is Richard coming of age, so the Wart Tyler Uprising and last active campaigns of the Caroline War happen as OTL). Second what would Richard's longer reign actually be like, compared to Henry IV's OTL reign? Third, would this prevent (what OTL calls) the Lancastrian Phase of the Hundred Years War, thus ending the Anglo-French conflict in Richard's reign; if so, does this mean that the 15th Century is now significantly more peaceful for England, now that they aren't dealing with a host of civil wars and wars in France? If so, then four, how does this more peaceful century affect the development of England, and change history overall?

Thanks.
 
Richard II can probably stay afloat even with a POD into the 1390s—Gaunt's return in 1389 helped stabilize things, and Richard II was able to use his full resumption of power in 1389 as an excuse to scapegoat the previous issues in the 1380s as being due to bad advice / councilors. Prior to Richard's despotic turn in 1397, things were actually going alright in England and the situation had somewhat stabilized: he reconciled with his adversaries, was able to lower taxes, and he successfully managed to negotiate a truce with France in 1396—England suffered no loss of it's holdings in Aquitaine, Richard II was betrothed to Isabella of Valois, and it was agreed that the truce would stand for twenty-eight years. He was also successful in his Irish policy in imposing control over Irish chieftains and expanding English control beyond the Pale, though this would be undone by his deposition.

I think our primary issue is Richard II's character in general: in 1389 he was willing to forgive those who he felt had wronged him, but he wasn't someone who could just let bygones be bygones: he could forget so to speak, but couldn't forgive. His arrests of Gloucester, Arundel, and Warwick in 1397 was likely because he felt that his situation was now stable enough that he could dispense with those who had played a role in the period of 1386-88 and eliminate them as a potential threat against his power, throne, and crown. In reality, Richard II's actions in the period of 1397-99 painted a target on his back and led to his deposition. IIRC, Gaunt and other magnates played a role in Richard II's movement against those who had supported the appellants because they had financial motives to do so: all were rewarded with new grants and titles, the men who would become known as Richard II's "duketii." This included Henry Bolingbroke, who received the Duchy of Hereford and Thomas de Mowbray, who was made Duke of Norfolk. Other grants included: John, Richard II's half brother, received the Duchy of Exeter; Thomas Holland received the Duchy of Surrey; Edward of Norwich received the Gloucester's French title, the Duchy of Aumale; Gaunt's son John Beaufort received the Marquisate of Somerset and Dorset; John Montague received the Earldom of Salisbury; and Thomas le Despenser, great-grandson of Hugh le Despencer received the Earldom of Gloucester.

Despite this collusion, Richard II's dealings against these men likely further emboldened him to act against John of Gaunt and Henry Bolingbroke—their great wealth, influence, and royal heritage meant they were possible candidates to succeed Richard II so long as he didn't have an heir. Why he rewarded them and immediately chose to turn against them—that's something I unfortunately cannot answer. Mowbray and Bolingbroke's quarrel meant that both were exiled by the king, and Richard II likely further ruined his image when Parliament was summoned in 1398 to declare all acts of the Merciless Parliament to be void. They also announced that no restraint could legally be put upon the king: parliamentary was delegated to a committee of twelve lords and six commoners, chosen from Richard's circle of friends. This essentially put him in a position where he could rule without calling parliament.

Gaunt's death was another nail: his death allowed Richard II to extend Bolingbroke's exile term to life, and to expropriate his lands and properties. Bolingbroke was in Paris, and the French had no desire to move against England's peace policy.

Politics abroad may have also played a role in Richard's downfall: In June 1399, the Duke of Orléans gained control over the French government, as Charles VI at that time was suffering another period of madness. A policy of peace with England did not suit Orléans political ambitions, and because of this he was the one who allowed Bolingbroke to leave France for England: setting into motion Richard II's collapse. Bolingbroke's return allowed him to quickly gain control over the situation, as Richard II had alienated far too many people.
 
I always thought Mowbray was an odd duck. He's the reason why Bolingbroke gets exiled, assumed he would get pardoned by Richard, and then up and dies in Venice. Just sort of vanishes off-screen.

 
Bolingbroke's return allowed him to quickly gain control over the situation, as Richard II had alienated far too many people.
This brings up a troubling thing for Richard, in that preventing what happened OTL is not necessarily the same thing as Richard being in the clear - Edward II managed to avoid being actually kicked off the throne longer than Richard did (measuring from when Richard came of age), but he still got kicked off the throne.

Somehow or another Richard is going to have to act in a way that avoids bringing that up, not merely keep his hands of the Lancaster lands and ignore Bolingbroke until 1407.

Not to say that is utterly and totally impossible, just...complicated for a man with Richard's weaknesses. I doubt even if he does leave well enough alone for a ten year exile that he's going to be thrilled to see Henry again or vice-versa.
 
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Despite this collusion, Richard II's dealings against these men likely further emboldened him to act against John of Gaunt and Henry Bolingbroke—their great wealth, influence, and royal heritage meant they were possible candidates to succeed Richard II so long as he didn't have an heir. Why he rewarded them and immediately chose to turn against them—that's something I unfortunately cannot answer. Mowbray and Bolingbroke's quarrel meant that both were exiled by the king...

Gaunt's death was another nail: his death allowed Richard II to extend Bolingbroke's exile term to life, and to expropriate his lands and properties.
I always thought Mowbray was an odd duck. He's the reason why Bolingbroke gets exiled, assumed he would get pardoned by Richard, and then up and dies in Venice. Just sort of vanishes off-screen.
What if the Bolingbroke-Mowbray Duel did end up happening? Alternatively, what if it was Bolingbroke who died shortly into his exile, while Mowbray lived longer? If John of Gaunt's only legitimate son is dead, and not only are all of said son's offspring are still minors at this point, but they're under the charge of the king himself. In this situation, does John of Gaunt's death pose as much of an issue for Richard's image (either because he feels safe leaving the lands to the younger Henry, or doesn't suffer the same blowback in appropriating said land, or some combination thereof)?

And if the Bolingbroke question is thus affected, how much of Richard's other "despotic" acts around this time -- the vengeance on Gloucester, Arundel, and Warwick; the revoking of the Merciless Parliament's acts; etc -- actually setting him up for deposition? Could Richard not only rule for longer TTL, but actually move England toward a more "absolutist" monarchy that he seems to have had in mind?
 
I always thought Mowbray was an odd duck. He's the reason why Bolingbroke gets exiled, assumed he would get pardoned by Richard, and then up and dies in Venice. Just sort of vanishes off-screen.
IIRC, he ended up in Venice as part of his condition of exile. Richard essentially told him that he could go on a pilgrimage and offered up the options of Jerusalem, Germany, Bohemia, or Hungary. It was offered as a way for Mowbray to save a bit of face: he was forbidden from traveling elsewhere or communicating with Bolingbroke (though how Richard II would have stopped him was beyond me). I'm not sure what choice Mowbray made, but I'm presuming he was going to go to Jerusalem, as when he was in Venice he entered into negotiations with the Signoria to purchase a boat. There would be no other reason for him to be there: the other options of Germany, Bohemia, and Hungary were right there. Not that either of these choices would really help- even if Mowbray lives beyond 1399, he's too far away to play any sort of vital role in Richard II's deposition compared to Bolingbroke who was cooling his heels in Paris.

Not to say that is utterly and totally impossible, just...complicated for a man with Richard's weaknesses.
Yes, I'd say his character in general is a bigger issue. Some of these problems can be surmounted... but Richard II strikes me as someone who wanting to root out everyone who had acted against him previously. He can't just let sleeping dogs lay.

What if the Bolingbroke-Mowbray Duel did end up happening? Alternatively, what if it was Bolingbroke who died shortly into his exile, while Mowbray lived longer? If John of Gaunt's only legitimate son is dead, and not only are all of said son's offspring are still minors at this point, but they're under the charge of the king himself. In this situation, does John of Gaunt's death pose as much of an issue for Richard's image (either because he feels safe leaving the lands to the younger Henry, or doesn't suffer the same blowback in appropriating said land, or some combination thereof)?
I suppose the duel could happen- Parliament had sanctioned it, after all: Richard II merely chose to exile them at the last minute. Bolingbroke dying instead of Mowbray would definitively give Richard II some more longevity- Mowbray in Venice is too far away to do anything. He'd have to actively disregard Richard II's orders and return. Now, would Mowbray do so? Even IOTL when Richard II blocked his inheritance of the Brotherton estates from Margaret of Norfolk in March 1399, Mowbray merely continued his journey onward.

Bolingbroke dying does pose an interesting question re: the Gaunt inheritance. Bolingbroke dying would only leave Gaunt's male heirs through his Katherine Swynford: John, Henry, and Thomas Beaufort. They were legitimized in 1397, but without succession rights. Would they even have any right to lay claim to Gaunt's estates: I suppose perhaps part of it, but certainly not the Duchy of Lancaster? The Beaufort position was pretty nebulous in general: legitimated and legitimate, but without royal succession rights. If they can't succeed to the throne, Richard II could probably argue that they can inherit lands / titles made by royal grant (royal dukedoms and associated lands / territories, ect). The Beaufort sons had benefited in the period of 1397, too, with lands and titles—who knows, it may be possible to buy them off.

And if the Bolingbroke question is thus affected, how much of Richard's other "despotic" acts around this time -- the vengeance on Gloucester, Arundel, and Warwick; the revoking of the Merciless Parliament's acts; etc -- actually setting him up for deposition? Could Richard not only rule for longer TTL, but actually move England toward a more "absolutist" monarchy that he seems to have had in mind?
I think the removal of Bolingbroke or a figure for the opposition to rally around will definitely lift up Richard II's sails and give him some more steam—but whose to say what his actions might be beyond 1399. Assuming Bolingbroke dies in the period between 1397-99, you are likely still looking at a change of government in France where Orléans takes over the regency for Charles VI. Given his own ambitions and lacking a useful stooge as it were in Bolingbroke, he may decide that war against England suits his political ambitions just as well.
 
Politics abroad may have also played a role in Richard's downfall: In June 1399, the Duke of Orléans gained control over the French government, as Charles VI at that time was suffering another period of madness. A policy of peace with England did not suit Orléans political ambitions, and because of this he was the one who allowed Bolingbroke to leave France for England: setting into motion Richard II's collapse. Bolingbroke's return allowed him to quickly gain control over the situation, as Richard II had alienated far too many people.
I think the removal of Bolingbroke or a figure for the opposition to rally around will definitely lift up Richard II's sails and give him some more steam—but whose to say what his actions might be beyond 1399. Assuming Bolingbroke dies in the period between 1397-99, you are likely still looking at a change of government in France where Orléans takes over the regency for Charles VI. Given his own ambitions and lacking a useful stooge as it were in Bolingbroke, he may decide that war against England suits his political ambitions just as well.
Now that I check it, didn't Louis of Orleans not really come into power until the death of Phillip the Bold in 1404? And even then, it brought him into conflict with Phillip's son, John the Fearless?

I can't imagine that ending the truce with England is in France's interest so long as they're so politically divided. Which is not to say the truce necessarily has to last its full 28 years, only that it might be tricky to get anything going before 1410 or so; and by then, who knows what kind of shape England will be in.
 
Yes, I'd say his character in general is a bigger issue. Some of these problems can be surmounted... but Richard II strikes me as someone who wanting to root out everyone who had acted against him previously. He can't just let sleeping dogs lay.

That's not a quality that's going to make his ambitions any easier to achieve, to say the least. At best it means once anyone crosses him once, or even seems to cross him, he's going to spend time and energy past the point someone like his grandfather would have thought the point had been made sufficiently clear.
 
Now that I check it, didn't Louis of Orleans not really come into power until the death of Phillip the Bold in 1404? And even then, it brought him into conflict with Phillip's son, John the Fearless?
Charles VI lapsed into another fit of insanity c. 1393, I believe. A regency council was formed then, headed by Queen Isabeau and including the major princes. This marked a period where Orléans influence began to increase—though you are correct that he squabbled with the Duke of Burgundy until his death in 1404. Orléans in particular disputed the regency and custody over the royal children. Orléans was considered to have the advantage in the feud (being Charles VI's brother, rather than his uncle, as the Duke of Burgundy was) but Orléans was intensely unpopular: he had a reputation as a womanizer, and one of the rumors of the period alleged that Orléans and Isabeau were involved in an affair—which at this specific period of time was considered incestuous, given that Isabeau was married to Charles VI and was Orléans' sister-in-law. Burgundy named himself regent in this period c. 1393, but it had no official sanction from either Charles VI (who obviously couldn't consent). The 1390s in France were in general a messy period, where Orléans and Burgundy did whatever they could to kneecap each other.

This period was especially chaotic: Orléans would kidnap the royal children, only for Burgundy to go and recover them. Orléans were immediately embark out again to seize the royal children, and this went on ad infinitum until John the Fearless was definitely named guardian of the Dauphin Louis and other royal children by royal decree. Unsure of the exact year of this decree... but it would've been sometime after 1404 when Philip the Bold died, and likely before Orléans own assassination in 1407.

Aside from these "custody" isuses, both fought over a variety of issues such: both fought over the royal treasury, as both desired to appropriate siphon off funds for their own uses: for Orléans, to fund his lifestyle; for Burgundy, to support his policy in the Low Countries. Orléans was officially named regent in 1402 by Charles VI, but his misrule and unpopularity meant that Burgundy reassumed the position in 1404 before his death. Many looked upon Burgundy more favorably, as he was sober and seemed intent on governing, compared to Orléans who had a reputation as a irresponsible spendthrift.

It's hard to say why Orléans played a role in Bolingbroke's release in 1399 and not the Duke of Burgundy—but it may have been another squabble where Orléans though Bolingbroke's release might help his own cause and harm Burgundy's.

I can't imagine that ending the truce with England is in France's interest so long as they're so politically divided. Which is not to say the truce necessarily has to last its full 28 years, only that it might be tricky to get anything going before 1410 or so; and by then, who knows what kind of shape England will be in.
Indeed, I do not suspect it will last the whole period. If not France when they get their things together, then perhaps Richard II: especially if he decides that he needs a war and a quick victory. His marriage to Isabella of Valois would also give him an interest in the goings-on. I do not expect Richard II to pull a Henry V and use his marriage as a way to claim the French crown, but he could get into some wrangling over what he is 'owed' from the marriage. Isabella's dowry was paid, but who is to say that Richard II might not try and push things further, especially where it concerns Aquitaine. A proposal in 1393 would've expanded the English holdings in Aquitaine, but it was contingent upon Richard II paying homage to France. He could attempt a renegotiation or lay claim to those further territories down the line.

That's not a quality that's going to make his ambitions any easier to achieve, to say the least. At best it means once anyone crosses him once, or even seems to cross him, he's going to spend time and energy past the point someone like his grandfather would have thought the point had been made sufficiently clear.
Exactly so. And even if he attains more power than any English sovereign before him, his position will still be reliant upon needing allies and supporters: the magnates are the ones who gather troops for foreign expeditions, who play a role in the administration of the kingdom and sit upon the council, ect. Expending time and political capital on petty feuds only alienates those who might be ardent supporters. Even the most loyal supporter might eventually get tired of looking over their shoulder, wondering if they are the next one because they've made the wrong step or glance.
 
@DrakeRlugia On "what [Richard's] actions might be beyond 1399" -- I think, to a large extent, we can look to his preceding reign to get an idea, with the understanding that starting around 1397 he was showing more and more interest in consolidating power around his personal rule. Does that much seem fair?

Actually, let's add two more details -- first, that Isabelle of Valois gives Richard a son circa 1409 (around the same time she gave her second husband a daughter OTL); second, that Richard lives at least another decade, but still dies before he turns 50 (so sometime 1410 to 1416); combined, this means he's succeeded by his son as a minor, aged anywhere from a couple months, to seven years.

What do we think of this much?
 
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@DrakeRlugia On "what [Richard's] actions might be beyond 1399" -- I think, to a large extent, we can look to his preceding reign to get an idea, with the understanding that starting around 1397 he was showing more and more interest in consolidating power around his personal rule. Does that much seem fair?
No, I most definitely agree. The period after 1389 and prior to 1397 was centered around stabilizing the kingdom after the tumultuous problems of the 1380s (Peasant's Revolt of 1381, conflict with France, the Lords Appellant, ect). As Richard II assumed personal control over the government, he needed room to breathe.

Actually, let's add two more details -- first, that Isabelle of Valois gives Richard a son circa 1409 (around the same time she gave her second husband a daughter OTL); second, that Richard lives at least another decade, but still dies before he turns 50 (so sometime 1410 to 1416); combined, this means he's succeeded by his son as a minor, aged anywhere from a couple months, to seven years.

What do we think of this much?
Alright—so in 1409 the queen finally delivers a bonny boy for Richard II: let's say the young prince is named Edward, in honor of the king's father the Black Prince. After nearly thirty years of worry, the succession is secured (or rather, secured for Richard II's line; it's not as if there any shortage of candidates).

For maximum chaos, Richard II dying in 1410 would definitely be something... but let's be generous and give him until 1416, so he dies when he's 49. He leaves behind a twenty-seven year old widow (we'll say that Isabella survives, rather than dying in childbirth as she did IOTL) and six year old Edward, who would now become Edward IV.

Much like Henry VI of OTL, there will be a need for a regency. Given that Isabella has resided in England as a young girl, she might be viewed with less suspicion than her sister Catherine was IOTL. Catherine was allowed no real say in Henry VI's upbringing and was excluded from any role in the government, as the English nobles didn't trust her. Catherine had also newly arrived to England: unsure when she arrived, but she was crowned in February of 1421, and Henry V returned to France in June 1421. Henry VI was born in December 1421, and in August 1422 Henry V was dead. Catherine, a foreign bride / princess in a foreign country, really didn't stand a chance: she had absolutely no time to build up a network of support or alliances, and why would have she? In 1422 Henry V was the hero king who had succeeded in claiming the crown of France. No one could've expected he was going to fall ill and die. Isabella would be in a different situation; having been in England since 1397 and largely raised and educated there, I think she'd be viewed quite differently: she seems to have been of a firm character, considering that IOTL as a girl of eleven in 1400, she defiantly refused Henry IV's offer that she marry his son and adopted mourning for Richard II.

Isabella, as Queen Dowager would also be the most natural choice to exercise / head the regency—and it's not as if Richard has any brothers as Henry V; the closest relatives would the Richard's half brothers, the Hollands: both Thomas and John are dead by 1416, but have sons who are alive in the period: Thomas, the Duke of Surrey and John, the 2nd Duke of Exeter. Surrey was a loyal ally to Richard II, and the 1st Duke of Exeter was executed in 1400 for conspiring against Henry IV to restore Richard II to the throne.

Richard II may perhaps leave a will detailing his wishes, especially if his dying so to speak is prolonged rather than sudden. But I think he will definitely entrust the regency to Isabella rather than a council or Lord Protector; at most, he may recommend in his will who she should use / retain as councilors. I suspect both the Dukes of Surrey and Exeter might feature on such a list.
 
Alright—so in 1409 the queen finally delivers a bonny boy for Richard II: let's say the young prince is named Edward, in honor of the king's father the Black Prince. After nearly thirty years of worry, the succession is secured (or rather, secured for Richard II's line; it's not as if there any shortage of candidates).

For maximum chaos, Richard II dying in 1410 would definitely be something... but let's be generous and give him until 1416, so he dies when he's 49. He leaves behind a twenty-seven year old widow (we'll say that Isabella survives, rather than dying in childbirth as she did IOTL) and six year old Edward, who would now become Edward IV.

Much like Henry VI of OTL, there will be a need for a regency. Given that Isabella has resided in England as a young girl, she might be viewed with less suspicion than her sister Catherine was IOTL. Catherine was allowed no real say in Henry VI's upbringing and was excluded from any role in the government, as the English nobles didn't trust her. Catherine had also newly arrived to England: unsure when she arrived, but she was crowned in February of 1421, and Henry V returned to France in June 1421. Henry VI was born in December 1421, and in August 1422 Henry V was dead. Catherine, a foreign bride / princess in a foreign country, really didn't stand a chance: she had absolutely no time to build up a network of support or alliances, and why would have she? In 1422 Henry V was the hero king who had succeeded in claiming the crown of France. No one could've expected he was going to fall ill and die. Isabella would be in a different situation; having been in England since 1397 and largely raised and educated there, I think she'd be viewed quite differently: she seems to have been of a firm character, considering that IOTL as a girl of eleven in 1400, she defiantly refused Henry IV's offer that she marry his son and adopted mourning for Richard II.

Isabella, as Queen Dowager would also be the most natural choice to exercise / head the regency—and it's not as if Richard has any brothers as Henry V; the closest relatives would the Richard's half brothers, the Hollands: both Thomas and John are dead by 1416, but have sons who are alive in the period: Thomas, the Duke of Surrey and John, the 2nd Duke of Exeter. Surrey was a loyal ally to Richard II, and the 1st Duke of Exeter was executed in 1400 for conspiring against Henry IV to restore Richard II to the throne.

Richard II may perhaps leave a will detailing his wishes, especially if his dying so to speak is prolonged rather than sudden. But I think he will definitely entrust the regency to Isabella rather than a council or Lord Protector; at most, he may recommend in his will who she should use / retain as councilors. I suspect both the Dukes of Surrey and Exeter might feature on such a list.
Oh man, the Regency of Isabella of Valois TTL sounds so much more stable than the OTL Regency Period of Henry VI; on top of that, Richard II has been spending the latter part of his reign bringing England closer to an absolutist style monarchy, a legacy this stabler regency is not likely to screw up too much; meaning that, when TTL Edward IV assumes personal rule, he's going to be one of the most powerful monarchs in Europe.

If we give him a nice, long reign -- say, have him live to 1471 (age 62, for the sake of historical parallel) -- we've changed England's history quite a bit. Can we make any inferences to how England might look different on the ground by the late 15th Century, or how European history as a whole is changed by this?

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We have some great short term stuff here -- on the rest of Richard II's reign and the regency following his death -- but I'm still very curious if and how we've managed to change history at a more fundamental level here. The OTL 15th Century was a period of pretty much constant civil wars and wars in France for England, and they didn't really get to enjoy anything like stability until the Tudor Dynasty (though Edward IV's latter reign came close); how is the development of England and wider European history changed if this is not the case?

One quite important change -- without the Lancastrian Renewal of the HYW, and thus no Battle of Agnicourt, there are going to be a lot more French knights and nobles alive in the mid 15th century, which, according to one source I've come across at least, means that the French monarchy is going to have a harder time consolidating power around itself (thus hindering the development of the French State).
 
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I guess, England-wise, a lot hinges on whether Richard and Isabella manage a son before he dies or not. Because if they don't, you could see the Mortimers, Lancasters and Beauforts fighting for the crown just a generation later, depending on when Richard dies and who is around when he does...
 
I'd really love to see a fleshed out TL about Richard II of England. We've seen several about his older brother, Edward of Angouleme, but not much about him that doesn't end in him being deposed or killed.
 
I guess, England-wise, a lot hinges on whether Richard and Isabella manage a son before he dies or not. Because if they don't, you could see the Mortimers, Lancasters and Beauforts fighting for the crown just a generation later, depending on when Richard dies and who is around when he does...
Let's assume, for this thread, that they do.
I'd really love to see a fleshed out TL about Richard II of England. We've seen several about his older brother, Edward of Angouleme, but not much about him that doesn't end in him being deposed or killed.
Well, it's an ASB SI, but here you go.
 
What's the idea?
Basically throw Richard II in Pontefract for a decade or so until he dies, with basically no consequences after the Epiphany Rising. (i.e., Make Richard II into Henry VI.) I genuinely think it leads to a more stable reign for Henry IV because the Percys aren't going to rebel here, allowing Henry to go all-in on Wales.
 
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