House of Lancaster

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Lancaster, house of

(lăng`kəstər), royal family of England. The line was founded by the second son of Henry III, Edmund Crouchback, 1245–96, who was created earl of Lancaster in 1267. Earlier (1254) the prince had been made titular king of Sicily when the pope offered that crown to Henry III in order to keep Sicily and the Holy Roman Empire separated. However, the English barons refused financial support for the Sicilian wars, and the title was withdrawn (1258). Later Edmund fought for his brother, Edward I, in Wales and Gascony. His nickname "Crouchback," or crossed back, refers only to the fact that he went on crusade to Palestine in 1271 and, hence, was entitled to wear the cross. Edmund's son Thomas, earl of Lancaster, 1277?–1322, led the baronial opposition to his cousin Edward IIEdward II,
1284–1327, king of England (1307–27), son of Edward I and Eleanor of Castile, called Edward of Carnarvon for his birthplace in Wales. The Influence of Gaveston
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. He was one of the lords ordainers and from 1314 to 1318 was virtual ruler of England. He tried unsuccessfully to drive the Despensers (see Despenser, Hugh leDespenser, Hugh le
, d. 1265, chief justiciar of England. He joined the barons in their struggle against Henry III and received various offices, becoming chief justiciar in 1260. He lost this office in 1261 but was restored to it in 1263.
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) from England, was defeated at the battle of Boroughbridge, and was beheaded for treason. Thomas's brother, Henry, earl of Lancaster, 1281?–1345, was chief adviser to the young Edward IIIEdward III,
1312–77, king of England (1327–77), son of Edward II and Isabella. Early Life

He was made earl of Chester in 1320 and duke of Aquitaine in 1325 and accompanied his mother to France in 1325.
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 in getting rid of the dominance of the queen mother, Isabella, and her paramour, Roger de Mortimer, 1st earl of March. His son, Henry, duke of Lancaster, 1299?–1361, was made duke in 1351 for his excellent service as a military commander in the early part of the Hundred Years War. When he died without male heirs, his daughter Blanche married the fourth son of Edward III, John of GauntJohn of Gaunt
[Mid. Eng. Gaunt=Ghent, his birthplace], 1340–99, duke of Lancaster; fourth son of Edward III of England. He married (1359) Blanche, heiress of Lancaster, and through her became earl (1361) and duke (1362) of Lancaster.
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, who inherited the Lancaster lands in her right, and was made duke of Lancaster in 1362. His son Henry deposed (1399) Richard II and ascended the throne as Henry IVHenry IV,
1367–1413, king of England (1399–1413), eldest son of John of Gaunt and grandson of Edward III; called Henry of Bolingbroke. He founded the Lancastrian dynasty.
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. In order to appear legitimate, Henry devised the fiction that his ancestor Edmund Crouchback had actually been Henry III's elder son but had been disinherited because he was a hunchback. Later Lancastrian kings were Henry VHenry V,
1387–1422, king of England (1413–22), son and successor of Henry IV. Early Life

Henry was probably brought up under the care of his uncle, Henry Beaufort.
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 and Henry VIHenry VI,
1421–71, king of England (1422–61, 1470–71). Reign
Early Years

The only son of Henry V and Catherine of Valois, he became king of England when he was not yet nine months old.
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. The latter was deposed by the house of YorkYork, house of,
royal house of England, deriving its name from the creation of Edmund of Langley, fifth son of Edward III, as duke of York in 1385. The claims to the throne of Edmund's grandson, Richard, duke of York, in opposition to Henry VI of the house of Lancaster (see
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 in the course of the long dynastic struggle known as the Wars of the RosesRoses, Wars of the,
traditional name given to the intermittent struggle (1455–85) for the throne of England between the noble houses of York (whose badge was a white rose) and Lancaster (later associated with the red rose).

About the middle of the 15th cent.
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. However, through the Beauforts, the legitimated descendants of John of Gaunt and Catherine Swynford, the Lancastrian claims passed to the house of TudorTudor,
royal family that ruled England from 1485 to 1603. Its founder was Owen Tudor, of a Welsh family of great antiquity, who was a squire at the court of Henry V and who married that king's widow, Catherine of Valois.
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.