Henry IV of England and his claim to the English Throne

European Royal History

From The Emperor’s Desk: in my recent post I discussed how Henry Bolingbroke became King Henry IV of England. Historians consider him a usurper and although he did have a strong hereditary claim to the throne his assumption of the crown was more of a right by conquest than him being the legal heir to King Richard II.

When Richard II was forced to abdicate the throne on September 29, 1399, Henry was next in line to the throne according to Edward III’s entailment of 1376. That entailment clearly reflects the operation of agnatic primogeniture, also known as the Salic law. At this time, it was by no means a settled custom for the daughter of a king to supersede the brothers of that king in the line of succession to the throne.

Indeed, it was not an established belief that women could inherit the throne at all by right:…

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