The Return of the King's Youth, 1386–88

Christopher Fletcher

in Richard II

Published in print September 2008 | ISBN: 9780199546916
Published online January 2009 | e-ISBN: 9780191720826 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Historical Monographs

 The Return of the King's Youth, 1386–88

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  • Medieval and Renaissance History (500 to 1500)


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This chapter examines the process by which Richard II's youth, which had been absent from acceptable public discourse since January 1380, made its return in the Appeal lodged by the ‘Lords Appellant’ in February 1388. It examines how Richard's resistance to the activities of the new Continual Council, commonly known as the ‘Commission’, ultimately led his opponents to take recourse to the contestable assertion of his continuing youth. It compares this tactic with the way certain texts compiled around the same time, by Geoffrey Chaucer and the Dominican preacher, Thomas Wimbledon, associated the faults of youth, not with the malleability invoked by the Appellants, but with the ‘manly’ violence and attention to honour which the king's obstinacy more readily suggested. It places these developments in the context of related strategies pursued by Richard's opponents to excuse their actions, notably the invention of the supposed secret peace policy of 1387.

Keywords: Richard II; youth; Appellants; Continual Council; Commission; Thomas Wimbledon; Geoffrey Chaucer; violence; honour; malleability

Chapter.  11174 words. 

Subjects: Medieval and Renaissance History (500 to 1500)

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