Bolingbroke and his flute….!

Henry IV – effigy

I feel it’s time to take another pop at a Lancastrian King Henry. On this occasion it’s Henry IV, the warlike Lancastrian usurper who murdered his cousin Richard II and stole the crown. A process that led to the Wars of the Roses. So definitely not one of my favourite kings.

When it comes to Henrys IV and VII, I’m always game for a giggle at their expense, and something about Henry IV has now tickled my fancy, as the saying goes. You know those moments when something makes you snigger, which then bursts into a guffaw? That’s what’s happened here.

It seems that Henry Bolingbroke was something of a musician, and he and his first wife, Mary de Bohun, liked a cosy evening together with her singing and him playing a flute. A flute? Perhaps an “f” was erroneously added to lute? A lute would have been more acceptable to me, because he could sit/stand there looking dignified as he played. But oh, what a picture that flute created in my evil Yorkist mind. Do you think he danced a little jig as well? Do you think she trilled a “Hey nonny nonny no” or two? Did he have ridiculously long pointy shoes?

I don’t know why I find this scenario so hilarious, I just do. It probably shows that I’m beyond redemption. With apologies to all those who play the flute. I emphasise that it’s just the thought of Henry IV playing one while his wife sang that just curls my toes up with mirth.

PS: If you wish to know the source of this fluting tale, I’m afraid I can’t help. I came upon it somewhere that said the original source wasn’t known. Hey, I expect it was a yarn told by Henry’s devilishly errant parrot! Remember him?


  1. I’m with you all the way there Vicountess, you paint a quite hilarious image and the graphic pictures it perfectly.
    I have to say though, it was the ‘Hey nonny nonny no’ that finished me off!
    I think this will be an image that will come to my mind at odd moments, and make me giggle, so thank you for that.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. You have to bear in mind there was no Netflix or TV back then so this was probably the ultimate crack. Mary probably preferred it to his usual talk about fighting in Prussia, or how he jousted with Sir Sydney Boringgit.

    Liked by 1 person

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