The Black Prince

The Black Prince A Major New Biography Of The Black Prince Hero Of The Battles Of Cr Cy And Poitiers And England S Greatest Medieval WarriorAs A Child He Was Given His Own Suit Of Armour In , At The Age Of , He Helped Defeat The French At Cr Cy And In He Captured The King Of France At Poitiers For The Chronicler Jean Froissart, He Was The Flower Of All Chivalry For The Chandos Herald, Who Fought With Him, He Was The Embodiment Of All Valour Edward Of Woodstock, Eldest Son And Heir Of Edward III Of England, Better Known As The Black Prince , Was England S Pre Eminent Military Leader During The First Phase Of The Hundred Years WarMichael Jones Uses Contemporary Chronicles And Documentary Material, Including The Prince S Own Letters And Those Of His Closest Followers, To Tell The Tale Of An Authentic English Hero And To Paint A Memorable Portrait Of Warfare And Society In The Tumultuous Fourteenth Century

Is a well-known author, some of his books are a fascination for readers like in the The Black Prince book, this is one of the most wanted Michael Jones author readers around the world.

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  • Hardcover
  • 400 pages
  • The Black Prince
  • Michael Jones
  • English
  • 10 January 2017

10 thoughts on “The Black Prince

  1. says:

    At six years old he had been created the first duke in English history at sixteen he had won fame by his bravery at Crecy at twenty six he had astounded Europe by capturing King John of France at Poitiers at thirty six he had sealed his supremacy as a military leader with his victory at Najera But Edward the Black Prince would never be king Edward, The Black PrinceAs I ve been reading about the Plantagenets, a pattern has emerged of weak English Kings being followed by strong English Kings King Henry III was fairly ineffectual and really only managed to hang onto his throne due to the courage and tactics of his son the future Edward I Edward would wage effective war on the Welsh and the Scots He was a commanding presence in height and temperament His son Edward II was not a chip off the old block and was eventually overthrown by his French wife, Isabella, and her lover, Roger Mortimer There were rumors that Isabella had her husband murdered by having a hot poker inserted into his arse, a harsh commentary on his preference for the company of men Edward III at age 17 staged a coup against Mortimer to take back his throne, in than just name, and had Mortimer hanged His she wolf mother was put under house arrest and shuttled about from castle to castle to keep her safely away from influencing the affairs of court Edward III proved a very competent king, not only as a ruler but also as a conqueror of France The English longbow was proving to be a very effective weapon, and he used it to his best advantage Not to take anything away from Edward III and his strategies, but until I read this book, I had no idea just how important his first born son and heir was going to prove to be in conquering France The Battle of Crecy is where the Black Prince won his spurs holding the line against terrible odds and, even astounding, at the tender age of 16 The Battle of Poitiers is where he was even impressive, taking on a French army at least twice as large as his own and inflicting catastrophic casualties on the French with very few losses on his side To make the victory absolutely complete, he also captured King John of France If the Black Prince had lived to succeed Edward III, I can easily imagine that France would have remained part of England for much longer and, who knows, potentially forever Thomas Walsingham wrote For while he lived they feared no invasion of the enemy, no onslaught of battle Nor, in his presence, did they do badly or desert the battlefield He never attacked a people he did not conquer he never besieged a city he did not take The pattern of weak king strong king would have been broken, and the age of chivalry that directed so much of the Prince s actions would have flowered and been the guiding light of knights of England for another generation I have to believe that, if he had become Edward IV, his son, the boy made king at age ten, would have certainly had a much better chance to be a better king Edward s Tomb at Canterbury CathedralEdward the Black Prince died on June 8th, 1376 King Edward III died July 5th, 1377 Due to the rules of primogentry, Richard is crowned king Edward III s second son to survive infancy was Lionel who unfortunately passed at the age of 29, but the candidate I am most interested in is his third son, John of Gaunt He may have never had the success of his father and brother, and as de facto regent of Richard II, things were not exactly smooth with the nobles, but I feel that putting a man of 37 on the throne instead of a 10 year old boy would make sense Because of the illnesses of his father and his older brother, the responsibility of governing had been on John s shoulders since 1370 anyway John s son Henry would depose Richard II and become Henry IV Really, Henry had no choice after Richard declared him disinherited and confiscated all of John of Gaunt s land and wealth Sigh maybe there were just too many royal male Plantagenets with varying degrees of legitimate claims to the throne of England to avoid a conflict Richard was such a despised and weak king that the script really writes itself But I m getting ahead of myself There are a few things I want to highlight that speak to the character of the Prince First, he pardoned a very important writer He paid 16 pounds toward the ransom of a young squire, a budding poet who had been captured by the French in the small skirmish after the army left Rheims The man s name was Geoffrey Chaucer. All of English literature thanks you, Sir Edward Joan, Fair Maid of KentSecond, he married for love He was the most eligible bachelor in all of Europe and could have used marriage to form alliances with key allies, but he decided to marry the most lovely woman he had ever met, his cousin, the widowed Joan of Kent They were completely devoted to one another, and unlike most royalty in similar circumstances, Edward did not keep mistresses It was part of his code of conduct that supported his devotion to chivalry The Black Death was on course to kill over a of the population of Europe, so with the almost certainty of an early death looming over them, it may have contributed to what would be perceived as a selfish decision Third, he gave away so much of his wealth that many of his servants, by his death, were richer than he was He was certainly searching for a higher idea of how to conduct his life beyond just possessing wealth or the trappings that accompany such riches Jean FroissartThe author, Michael Jones, relies heavily on the writings of Jean Froissart, a contemporary of the time, who for the most part seemed to try as best he could to tell the truth of the times without the bias of an affiliation with a country I have not read Froissart s writings, but will certainly be investigating him in the near future The style of this book reads like a novel and brings the Black Prince alive, as well as the contemporary figures who permeated his life The Castile campaign, when he put the odious Pedro back on the throne, showed how his sense of obligation ill advised treaty could sometimes overrule his own ideals He wasn t perfect, but certainly his early death was a lost opportunity for England The Black Prince was a shooting star in the medieval firmament His martial endeavour, his courage, and the full living of a chivalric life entranced his age and, if we properly restore his military reputation, it can also fascinate our own If you wish to see of my most recent book and movie reviews, visit also have a Facebook blogger page at

  2. says:

    On the morning after the battle of Crecy the sixteen year old Edward of Woodstock, Prince of Wales, came across the body of the blind Jean of Luxembourg He had died in a suicidal charge against the English along with his men The Prince took up Luxembourg s badge of a silver ostrich feather and resolved to use it as his own The heraldic background was black the possible origin of his later sobriquet, the Black Prince.There are other theories The most banal is that the young Prince s armour in 1346 was black Shakespeare, convincingly, suggested it was the name the French gave him for the black deeds he later committed during his period of the Hundred Years War It was, perhaps, a combination of factors The black background to the silver Prince of Wales feathers would have been the dominant colour of his livery, while the French had good reason to fear the brilliant English commander who pillaged their towns and routed their armies In one French tapestry he was depicted with a demon s horns.The tension between hero and villain expressed in the Black Prince s sobriquet existed also in the man He was a killer with conscious eternal judgment feeling very immediate to a warrior from a generation that had lived through the arrival of the bubonic plague It was two years after Crecy, in 1348, and the Black Prince was eighteen when the epidemic reached England In Bristol, a chronicler noted, Few survived than two or three days As the plague spread, and killed between 1 3 and of the population, the crops were left unharvested and livestock untended 5000 dead sheep were spotted in one field alone In London, the uncleaned streets ran with human waste, and processions of Flagellants, whipped their naked torsos with nail studded rope, crying out to God for mercy, as their blood mixed with the faeces at their feet It was while this epidemic was at its height, in 1349, that the Prince s father, Edward III, inaugurated the chivalric Order of the Garter at Windsor Castle Selection was based on acts of valour, but the statues of the Order were primarily religious These warriors knew death that could come suddenly, as it did with the plague, and they feared what came next if not hell, then purgatory, where they would suffer for their sins, until they were burned clean of them They knew they should avoid doing evil, but it was a comfort to know that their fellow Garter knights were bound to have Masses said for their soul to help speed their passage through purgatory s fires It guaranteed them around 5000 Masses within three months of their death Some knights must have needed quite a lot help getting out of purgatory as God surely took a dimmer view of their past crimes than their commanders sometimes did The Black Prince was prepared to overlook assault, housebreaking and abduction, in return for a man s sword Yet he also aspired to be a true Christian knight This meant showing not only courage in battle, but also mercy to his defeated enemies, generosity to friends and the carrying out of acts of piety Unfortunately it was necessary sometimes to be brutal to ordinary townsfolk to demonstrate that their French lords could not protect them Similarly, generosity to friends, and acts of piety such as the Prince s desire to found a Cistercian Abbey bigger even than Fountains in Yorkshire necessitated placing financial pressure on his tenants A Prince couldn t let appearances slip indeed it is appropriate that his biography is exquisitely produced and illustrated Wearing black was cool, even in the middle ages, for it was an expensive dye but the Black Prince, also liked cloth made with pure gold thread and silk embroidered with pearlsOne medieval cleric sneered that the vanity of the warrior class was such that they risked tripping up on their long tunics But there was no danger of that with the Black Prince His tailor was so good that he knighted him in front of his army, before spending eleven days spent wreaking havoc on the Count of Armagnac s estates Michael Jones brilliantly brings to life the campaigns and battles that made the Black Prince s name At Poitiers in 1356 he broke all the rules of contemporary tactics, ordering a frontal assault on the forces of the French king, John II, while sending other cavalry to attack from the rear He joined the head on attack, where a contemporary describes him hewing at the enemy, lifting up his fallen comrades John II fought back with, a great axe..in the thickest press of his enemies Around the king, The standards wavered and the standard bearers fell Some were trampled upon, their innards torn open, some spat out their own teeth Many were stuck to the ground, impaled Eventually John II was captured, and brought to England a prisoner This victory was celebrated with a Garter tournament attended by Edward III and the queen dowager, Isabella Some of the most colourful passages in Black Prince concern his adoring grandmother Her husband, the homosexual Edward II, had preferred the company of Hugh Despenser who, it was said, lead the monarch around as of he were teasing a cat with a piece of straw In due course Isabella was revenged Despenser had his penis cut off before being castrated and disemboweled, while Edward II was, reputedly, sodomised to death with a hot poker She now regretted some of this and planned to be buried near Edward II, and in her wedding dress Jones s book features other women almost as intriguing as Isabella Edward III s last mistress, Alice Perrers, was only a teenager when the relationship began, but appears to have woven a similar spell over the old King to that Despenser had held over Edward II Then there is the Black Prince s beautiful wife Jeanette, who married in scarlet, had a penchant for slutty dresses, and to whom he would write loving letters from the front.It is, however, the drama of the battles and the moral fog of war that dominate the narrative the nobility of the love soldiers have for each other, and the sometimes base brutality of their acts of slaughter The Black Prince s last years were spent in poor health, both physical, and, it seems, mental The hero and the villain were one man and Michael Jones does justice to this complexity, while also giving us a gripping story in which we beat the French An edited version of this review appeared in the Times

  3. says:

    Michael Jones s most recent book retells the story of Edward of Woodstock, Prince of Wales, who is better known today as the Black Prince Raised to be a warrior in the mould of his father, King Edward III, the Prince won his spurs in battle at the tender age of sixteen At Cr cy he commanded a hard pressed division of the English army, and thereafter his life was dominated by conflict with France By the age of twenty six, when he won a spectacular victory at the Battle of Poitiers, he had established himself as one of the greatest soldiers of his time The Prince also caused a stir when he appears to have married for love, choosing as his bride the beautiful Joan of Kent Evidently he was willing to overlook Joan s controversial past In the summer of 1362, when the Prince was in his early thirties, he was entrusted by his father with the rule of Aquitaine which at this point owed allegiance to the English king While this was intended as a great honour, it proved to be a challenging task The aristocracy of the region were notoriously fractious, and the Prince also became embroiled in a civil war in Spain In 1367 he restored Pedro the Cruel to the throne of Castile, although the Spanish king proved to be a fickle ally and his second reign was soon cut short The expedition had important repercussions as its costs were enormous and Pedro failed to pay his debts Struggling to make ends meet, the Prince was forced to resort to unpopular taxation This led to widespread resentment throughout his French domains.The Spanish campaign was pivotal in another important respect, as it appears to have affected the Prince s health He began to show the first signs of an illness that would ultimately claim his life By the autumn of 1369 he was reduced to travelling in a litter, but he was determined to lead his men in one last campaign His target was the city of Limoges, whose lord the bishop had defected to the French king Limoges was swiftly retaken, and according to the chronicler Jean Froissart over 3,000 of the city s inhabitants were massacred many historians have seen this as a stain on the Prince s glittering reputation Early in 1371 he returned to England In the years that followed the French gained the ascendancy in warfare, and in the Prince s absence much of Aquitaine was lost He passed away in 1376, still only forty five years old.The Black Prince had a dramatic career, and in Michael Jones he has found a worthy biographer Naturally much of the book is taken up with the Prince s martial exploits, which Jones describes with authority and flair His account of the Battle of Poitiers is particularly engaging The Prince is depicted as a sound tactician one who remained calm in adversity and was willing to listen to advice but also as a charismatic leader who could inspire his men to extraordinary feats of arms For medieval people, it seems, the Prince s appeal lay in his genuine commitment to the ethos of chivalry, with its emphasis on prowess, loyalty, courtesy and piety Jones argues persuasively that these core values formed the guiding principles of the Black Prince s life.On the whole, this is an admirably clear account, but it also conveys a deep sense of emotion Jones appears to feel great sympathy for the Prince, whom he obviously admires Nevertheless, he does not flinch from explaining how the Prince s choices sometimes led to difficulties of his own making He also acknowledges that the Prince could be a harsh master, especially in the pursuit of funds to pay for his extravagant lifestyle and incessant campaigns The Prince was ruthless in exacting dues from his tenants in Cheshire, for example this was something he regretted in his last days, as he attempted to make his peace with God Yet we also gain a strong impression of a man who was always conscious of his responsibilities as well as his rights Some of the most interesting passages in the book are concerned with the Prince s exercise of lordship in Aquitaine, where he often emerges as diligent and effective than is usually allowed.Jones builds upon the work of other historians notably Guilhem P pin to offer a full reassessment of Froissart s description of the siege of Limoges, ultimately concluding that his account of a massacre should be dismissed as fiction However, this is not the only occasion when the Prince s reputation has suffered at Froissart s hands Following the chronicler, the Prince s Spanish campaign has often been portrayed as an act of hubris in which he overreached himself In fact, it would seem the Prince had serious misgivings about the enterprise not least because he despised Pedro of Castile, whose character was the antithesis of all the values he held most dear Jones makes a convincing case that it was Edward III, not his son, who was the driving force behind the English intervention in Spain For me, this is the most affecting part of the book, as we see the Prince struggling to balance the obligation of loyalty to his father with his wider sense of chivalric ethics.Jones also captures the essence of how the Spanish campaign cast a dark shadow over the rest of the Prince s life Not only did he contract his mortal illness at this time, the expedition set in train a chain of events which eventually led to a breach between the Prince and his father with both men seemingly blaming the other for the change in their fortunes While he could still take pride in his achievements as witnessed by the plans for his splendid tomb , his last years make for sad reading, as both the Prince and King Edward struggled to cope with the waning of their powers It is pleasing to think they might have reconciled before the end.I found this book a gripping read it has that just one chapter quality that keeps you going late into the night Moreover, while it seems likely that some of Jones s conclusions will lead to further debate, it must be stressed that his work is based on extensive scholarship including his own archival research He provides a compelling and humane portrait of a medieval warrior, bringing the Black Prince and his world triumphantly to life This review is also available at

  4. says:

    A very detailed, well written and balanced historical account of the life of the Black Prince, son of Edward III Drawing from many original sources and written in a style both complex and engaging, this reads at times like a thriller, and at others like a biography Highly enjoyable.

  5. says:

    A comprehensive and gripping account of the life of the man who, quite possibly, personified chivalry in all its hues than any other.

  6. says:

    Worth a read The first book solely on the Black Prince The first half is a bit patchy, due to a lack of documentary evidence on his early life, but the second half of the book than makes up for it The best king we never had.

  7. says:

    This is a highly readable and engaging overview of the life and career of Edward of Woodstock It excels in comparing the chivalric ideal with the harsh realities of medieval warfare and governance, and is a superb primer on the origins and early stages of the Hundred Years war It is not without its flaws the author s critical treatment of Jean Froissart s Chronicles admittedly an indispensable source on the period feels somewhat uneven, taking at near face value the compliments paid to the Black Prince while heavily dissecting Froissart s criticisms of him There are also a number of passages where some judicious editing would have improved the narrative coherence and clarity and eliminated some unnecessary repetitions And there is the stylistic choice to refer to Edward throughout as The Black Prince entirely understandable for reasons of clarity in places where his father Edward III is a near ubiquitous figure in the narrative, but it does create the effect of curiously distancing the reader from the subject Symbolism is obviously an important aspect of Edward s story, yet at times it feels that the symbol is being discussed than the man himself.Nonetheless, given the distance in time and culture from the period to our own, this is a very fine biography of one of the key figures of English medieval history, and when it succeeds it creates an intimate and at times visceral portrait of a man striving to reconcile his ideals with the actions duty requires him to undertake.

  8. says:

    An excellent book Written in an easily accessible way for any reader to follow with simplicity The book gives an account of the entire life of Edward of Woodstock, son of Edward III, father of Richard II, and a man known to history as the Black Prince.The book does a fantastic job of bringing the Prince, and all of those around him, to life in a beautiful way You can really sense the character of these individuals and it helps understand the wider history The book also provides an accessible account of the early Hundred Years War which is a welcome addition.All in all I heartily recommend, and anyone with even a passing interest in the English hero and flower of chivalry should pick this up

  9. says:

    The Black Prince gives us one of the most interesting what ifs of the Medieval period What if he hadn t got sick and had lived to become Edward IV No deposition of Richard II No Lancaster kings no Wars of the Roses And he would have easily outshone his ancestor Richard the Lionheart.This biography of Edward is detailed and rich There s obviously a lot of focus on the prince s military endeavours and these parts can be a bit dry at times, but overall it s a fascinating story.The Black Prince is the personification of chivalry and how we imagine a Medieval warriorTall, handsome, married to a beautiful woman, intelligent, strategic, diplomatic, and highly skilled in the art of war.The fact that, at the height of his popularity, he could have married any woman in the known world and yet he chose Joan of Kent for love makes me like him even It s a shame she didn t feature a bit in the book.the Black Prince stayed popular as well, unlike his father, and inspired respect and loyalty in all his subjects Even the French King held a memorial for him after his death.A brilliant man, and a great book.

  10. says:

    The book was quite informative in relation to the sack of Limoges According to Jones, the story of the citizens massacre by the English is a French invention Instead, citizens loyal to the Prince were killed in a kind of civil war by the newly arrived French garrison In the aftermath, while the city really was badly damaged, the Prince has granted a general pardon and punished a selected clique of traitors only.

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