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Henry IV of England

Henry IV (April 3, 1367 - March 20, 1413) was born at Bolingbroke Castle in Lincolnshire - hence the other name by which he was known, "Henry Bolingbroke". His father, John of Gaunt was the third surviving son of King Edward III of England. After supporting his cousin, King Richard II of England, in some early difficulties, Bolingbroke was exiled and disinherited in 1398. Returning the following year on September 30, 1399 he deposed Richard and took the throne, rising from Henry, Duke of Lancaster to King Henry IV. Henry's coronation, on October 13, 1399 is notable as the first time following the Norman Conquest that the monarch made an address in English.

In 1380 Henry married Mary de Bohun; they had two daughters and four sons, one was the future Henry V of England. One of their daughters, Philippa in 1406, married Eric of Pomerania, king of Denmark, Norway and Sweden. Mary died in 1394, and in 1403 Henry married Joanna of Navarre, the daughter of Charles d'Albret, King of Navarre. She was the widow of John IV of Brittany, with whom she had four daughters and four sons, but she and Henry had no children.

Henry's reign was marked by widespread rebellion, including the revolt of Owen Glendower who declared himself Prince of Wales in 1400, and the rebellion of Henry Percy, 1st Earl of Northumberland. The king's success in putting down these rebellions was due partly to the military ability of his eldest son, Henry, who would later become King Henry V of England.

In 1406, English soldiers captured the future James I of Scotland as he was going to France. James remained a prisoner of Henry for the rest of Henry's reign.

Henry IV was overcome by various illnesses, including epilepsy. In 1413, he died in the Jerusalem Chamber in the house of the Abbot of Westminster of a skin disease that resembled leprosy. He was buried in Canterbury Cathedral. His body was well embalmed, as an exhumation some centuries later established.

Preceded by:
Richard II
List of British monarchs Succeeded by:
Henry V