Military history

DRAMATIS PERSONAE:
ENGLAND, 1422–1450

Henry V: victor of Agincourt. He reigned for only nine years, 1413–22, but is arguably England’s greatest king.

Henry VI: Henry V’s baby son and successor.

John, Duke of Bedford: Henry V’s elder surviving brother, Regent of France in 1422. A highly capable commander. He dies in 1435.

Humphrey, Duke of Gloucester: Henry V’s younger surviving brother, would-be Regent of England, who has the lesser title of Protector. His conflicts with the King’s Council and, in particular, his attempts to destroy its pre-eminent member, his uncle, Cardinal Beaufort, poison the King’s minority.

Henry Beaufort, Bishop of Winchester and then Cardinal: servant successively to Henry IV and Henry V, being ultimately trusted by neither. Beaufort is a brilliant administrator, banker and fundraiser for Henry V’s wars. He is completely unscrupulous on behalf of himself and his Beaufort relations.

Charles VI, King of France: Henry VI’s maternal grandfather, a sufferer from schizophrenia who dies in late 1422, making Henry VI the King of France.

Catherine de Valois, Queen of England: Henry VI’s mother.

The Dauphin, later King Charles VII of France: Charles VI’s legitimate heir, whom he disinherited in favour of his son-in-law, Henry V.

Joan of Arc: a teenage shepherdess and prophetess and the heroine of the siege of Orleans.

Richard Beauchamp, 13th Earl of Warwick: faithful servant to the House of Lancaster, tutor to the child King Henry VI.

William de la Pole, Earl, then Marquess, then Duke of Suffolk: from his position as Steward of the King’s household, Suffolk progressively gains prominence and then dominance over the king’s administration, from the onset of Henry VI’s majority in 1437.

James Fiennes, Baron Saye and Sele; Adam Moleyns, Bishop of Chichester; William Ayscough, Bishop of Salisbury: members of Suffolk’s governing clique, all killed by mobs in 1450.

Jack Cade: the leader of the uprising against London in 1450.

Edmund Beaufort, Duke of Somerset: the last Lieutenant-General of Normandy, before its loss in 1450. A nephewof Cardinal Beaufort and a close relation to Henry VI. After the death of Suffolk in 1450, he and Richard, Duke of York are the country’s principal political figures.

Richard, Duke of York: following the death of Gloucester in 1447, the most senior royal Duke. York seeks to bring Somerset to account for what he regards as the latter’s cowardly, negligent and dishonourable loss of Normandy.

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