King Richard II

Image credit: National Portrait Gallery, London

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The second son of Edward, Prince of Wales and Joan, Countess of Kent, Richard became King of England, aged ten, on 22 June 1377 following the death of his grandfather, Edward III. He was criticised for misusing royal patronage and between 1386 and 1389 parliament gave government control to a group of noblemen. Eight years of stability followed but in 1397 the King took revenge, charging many noblemen with treason. In June 1399 Henry Bolingbroke, whom Richard had previously exiled, invaded England. He claimed the throne as Henry IV on 30 September. Richard died in captivity on 14 February 1400. His reign became the subject of Shakespeare's play The Tragedy of King Richard the Second.

National Portrait Gallery, London



King Richard II


16th C


oil on panel


H 60.3 x W 45.7 cm

Accession number


Acquisition method

Transferred from the British Museum, 1879

Work type



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