Henry IV and That Hat….!

Yes, that’s The Hat – the tall black thing that’s twice as high as its wearer’s head!

Henry Bolingbroke (Duke of Lancaster, soon-to-be the usurper Henry IV) was in mourning for his father John of Gaunt when he returned to England from exile and stole the throne of his first cousin, Richard II. I won’t go into all the details because what I’m about to write is rather, um, facetious.

Apparently on Tuesday, 30th September 1399, once the unfortunate Richard was in Henry’s clutches, the Archbishop of Canterbury read a proclamation to the lords and commons in Westminster Hall stating that Richard gave up his throne willingly, because he knew he was so very unworthy of wearing the crown.

There it is again, looming at the back on the right like a brimless stovepipe

Yes, that really sounds like Richard II. He longed to surrender everything to his so-noble cousin. Or, was it more that Henry’s mourning hat terrified him?

I know, I know, medieval notions of fashion are rather removed from ours, but have you seen that dreadful titfer? How anyone could see it and not fall about sniggering is beyond me. Richard was definitely worthy of wearing his crown (it was his by right) but Henry the Hound fully deserved that hat! Two cousins, very different headgear. Very different men.

 

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