Richard II’s reign began and ended at the Tower. His magnificent coronation procession set out from the Tower to Westminster Abbey in 1377.
In 1399, it was at the Tower that he was pressured to sign away the crown to his cousin, Henry, son of the powerful John of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster.
Richard used the fortress as a place of refuge in times of political crisis. However, in 1381, while he was riding out to Mile End to talk to the leaders of the Peasants’ Revolt, rebels surged into the Tower seeking ‘traitors’.
Some went to the royal lodgings, sat on the king’s bed and asked Richard’s mother, the famously beautiful Joan of Kent, to kiss them! Joan fainted.
Archbishop Simon Sudbury, one of the architects of the hated Poll Tax, was rather less fortunate – he was dragged from the Tower and murdered on Tower Hill.
Also famous for...
Being the son of the ‘Black Prince’
Richard’s father, Edward, died young and never himself became king.
Deposed in 1399, he was replaced by his cousin Henry Bolingbroke, the first Lancastrian king.