Henry IV of England
Henry was born at Bolingbroke Castle in Lincolnshire. His father, John of Gaunt (1340-1399) (created 1st Duke of Lancaster in right of his wife), was the fourth son (third to survive to adulthood) of King Edward III and enjoyed a position of considerable influence during much of the reign of his nephew King Richard II (1377-1399) whom Henry eventually deposed.
Henry's relationship with his stepmother, Katherine Swynford, was a positive one, but his relationship with the Beauforts varied. In youth he seems to have been close to all of them, but rivalries with Henry and Thomas Beaufort proved problematic after 1406. Ralph Neville, who had married Henry's half-sister Joan Beaufort, remained one of his strongest supporters, and so did his eldest half-brother John Beaufort, even though Henry revoked Richard II's grant to John of a marquessate. Thomas Swynford, a son from Katherine's first marriage to Sir Hugh Swynford, was another loyal companion. Thomas was Constable of Pontefract Castle, where King Richard II is said to have died.
Henry consulted with Parliament frequently, but was sometimes at odds with the members, especially over ecclesiastical matters. On Arundel's advice, Henry obtained from Parliament the enactment of De heretico comburendo in 1401, which prescribed the burning of heretics, an act done mainly to suppress the Lollard movement. In 1410, Parliament suggested confiscating church land. Henry refused to attack the Church that had helped him to power, and the House of Commons had to beg for the bill to be struck off the record.
A suitable-looking impostor was found and King Richard's old groom circulated word in the city that his master was alive in Scotland. "Southwark was incited to insurrection" by Sir Elias Lyvet (Levett) and his associate Thomas Clark, who promised Scottish aid in carrying out the insurrection. Ultimately, the rebellion came to naught. The knight Lyvet was released and his follower thrown into the Tower.
Henry had four sons from his first marriage, which was undoubtedly a clinching factor in his acceptability for the throne. By contrast, Richard II had no children and Richard's heir-presumptive Edmund Mortimer was only seven years old. The only two of Henry's six children who produced children to survive to adulthood were Henry V and Humphrey, Duke of Gloucester. Henry IV's male Lancaster line ended in 1471 during the War of the Roses, between the Lancastrians and the Yorkists, with the deaths of his grandson Henry VI and Henry VI's son Edward, Prince of Wales. The descendants of Henry IV's son Humphrey, Duke of Gloucester, include Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon, queen consort of George VI and mother of Elizabeth II, and the Queen's current daughters-in-law Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, and Sophie, Countess of Wessex.