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King Henry IV
Henry IV was born in April 1367 and was the only son of John of Gaunt, the son of Edward III, and Blanche, the daughter of Henry Grismond, Duke of Lancaster. Known as Henry of Bolingbroke after his birthplace in Lincolnshire, he was made a knight of the Garter in 1377. In 1380, at the age of 13, he married Mary de Bohun, the youngest daughter and coheiress of Humphrey, the last Earl of Hereford. They had four sons and two daughters before her death at the age of 24, in 1394. As the Earl of Darby, Henry entered the House of Lords in 1385. In 1387 he supported his uncle Thomas, Duke of Gloucester, in his opposition to Richard II. (Gloucester was also Richardís uncle, and Henry was the Kingís First cousin.)
While taking part in the "Merciless" Parliament of 1388, Henry regained the favor of the King and in 1390 departed on the Crusade to Lithuania and then to Jerusalem. Visiting the kings of Bohemia and Hungary and the Archduke of Austria and then Venice in 1392-1393, he went only as far as Rhodes and then returned to England as a popular hero. He soon entered the government; he served on the Council while Richard was absent in Ireland in 1395 and for his efforts was made Duke of Hereford in 1397.
Henry soon quarreled with the Duke of Norfolk, each accusing the other of arranging the murder of the Duke of Gloucester and calling for a trial by battle. Both men were banished from the realm. Norfolk for life and Henry for 10 years wit...