Men are so simple and yield so readily to the desires of the moment that a deceiver will never lack victims for his deceptions. — Machiavelli

Story of the English - Helene Guerber




A Tiny Queen

These religious troubles were not all. War arose, and the king's uncles had to carry it on. But as they were quite selfish, you will not be surprised to hear that one of them, Lancaster, took the money which Parliament gave him for the war in France, and used it in securing the throne of Castile in Spain for his daughter.

Besides the war in Castile and France, there was a war with Scotland, the principal battle being won by Douglas and the Scots against the English under Percy Hotspur. This battle took place at Otterburn, and it gave rise to a ballad which was sung for several centuries the "Ballad of Chevy Chase."

The Duke of Gloucester, one of the king's uncles, had used his power very unwisely, and had, besides, angered the king by putting to death his tutor, although Queen Anne knelt before Gloucester three hours, imploring him to spare the good man's life. Richard was naturally indignant, and shortly after this turned to his uncle in full council, and abruptly asked: "How old am I?"

"Your majesty is in your twenty-second year," answered Gloucester.

"Then I am old enough to reign," cried the king, and he dismissed the council.

Gloucester, deprived of the regency, now plotted against the king, who therefore sent him a prisoner to Calais. Here the duke died, and it is generally supposed that he was secretly put to death by Richard's order.

When good Queen Anne died, leaving no children, Richard decided to marry again, and after much thought he selected Isabella, daughter of the King of France. When he made this choice known, one of his courtiers objected that the princess was too young, as she was only eight years old. But the king answered, "The lady's age is a fault which every day will remedy," and sent an embassy to France to ask her hand in marriage.

Isabella was so little that every one wondered how she would behave. The men were brought before her, and when the ambassador had knelt and kissed her hand, he said: "Madam, if it please God, you shall be our lady and queen."

Baby as she still was, little Isabella gravely answered: "Sir, if it please God and my father that I be Queen of England, I shall be well pleased, for I am told I shall be a great lady."

The grandest outfit you ever heard of was made ready for this little queen, who was escorted to England by the embassy, and solemnly crowned at Westminster Abbey. She was so sweet and little that every one loved her; and the king used to visit her every day in her nursery, where he actually played dolls with her. He was so kind to the little queen that she loved him dearly, and she never forgot her playfellow, who was a good-hearted man, although a weak and worthless king.

The Duke of Lancaster was dead by this time, and his son, Henry of Bolingbroke, had been exiled by the king. Richard now thought it would be a good chance to seize this cousin's property; so he took possession of it, just before leaving for Ireland, where war awaited him.

Henry of Bolingbroke, or Lancaster, as he is called, now begged the Duke of Brittany to help him regain his estates. The duke consented, and while Richard was in Ireland, Henry landed in England. He was soon joined by a large force, and, seeing that the people were tired of their weak king Richard, Henry began to think of taking the throne himself.

Richard, hearing of his cousin's arrival, came back to England as fast as winds and waves would allow him; but he no sooner landed than his army deserted him. He then took refuge in Flint Castle; but Henry of Lancaster came there to get him, and by false promises persuaded him to go to London and there resign his crown.

The weak Richard offered no resistance to his cousin's entreaties, and after he had given up his crown to Henry, he withdrew to Pontefract Castle, where he died in the year 1400, having been put to death, some say, by his cousin's order. Little Queen Isabella showed more spirit than he, for she refused to recognize Henry as king, and scorned to marry his son when she became a widow at twelve. After being kept a prisoner for some time, and being deprived of her attendants and jewels, she was finally allowed to go back to her father's court.



Contents

Front Matter
Review

Early Times
The Druids
The Britons
Caesar in Britain
Queen Boadicea
The Great Walls
The Great Irish Saint
The Anglo-Saxons
Brave King Arthur
The Laws of the Saxons
The Story of St Augustine
Three Great Men
The Danish Pirates
King Alfred and the Cakes
Alfred conquers the Danes
A King's Narrow Escape
The King and the Outlaw
The Monasteries
An Unlucky Couple
St Dunstan
King Canute and the Waves
A Saxon Nobleman
Lady Godiva's Ride
The Battle of Hastings
The Conquest
Lords and Vassals
Death of William
The Brothers' Quarrels
Arms and Armour
The "White Ship"
Matilda's Narrow Escapes
Story of Fair Rosamond
Thomas a Becket
Murder of Thomas a Becket
Richard's Adventures
Richard and the Saracens
The Faithful Minstrel
Death of Richard
The Murder of Arthur
The Great Charter
The Rule of Henry III
A Race
Persecution of the Jews
The Conquest of Wales
A Quarrel with France
The Coronation Stone
The Insolent Favourite
Bruce and the Spider
Death of Edward II
The Murderers punished
The Battle of Crecy
The Siege of Calais
The Age of Chivalry
The Battle of Poitiers
The Peasants' Revolt
Richard's Presence of Mind
A Tiny Queen
Henry's Troubles
Madcap Harry
A Glorious Reign
The Maid of Orleans
The War of the Roses
The Queen and the Brigand
The Triumph of the Yorks
The Princes in the Tower
Richard's Punishment
Two Pretenders
A Grasping King
Field of the Cloth of Gold
The New Opinions
Death of Wolsey
Henry's Wives
The King and the Painter
A Boy King
Lady Jane Grey
The Death of Cranmer
A Clever Queen
Elizabeth's Lovers
Mary, Queen of Scots
Captivity of Mary Stuart
Wreck of the Spanish Armada
The Elizabethan Age
Death of Elizabeth
A Scotch King
The Gunpowder Plot
Sir Walter Raleigh
King and Parliament
Cavaliers and Roundheads
"Remember"
The Royal Oak
The Commonwealth
The Restoration
Plague and Fire
The Merry Monarch
James driven out of England
A Terrible Massacre
William's Wars
The Duke of Marlborough
The Taking of Gibraltar
The South Sea Bubble
Bonny Prince Charlie
Black Hole of Calcutta
Loss of the Colonies
The Battle of the Nile
Nelson's Last Signal
The Battle of Waterloo
First Gentleman of Europe
Childhood of Queen Victoria
The Queen's Marriage
Wars in Victoria's Reign
The Jubilee