Richard II’s views on kingship
in Political culture in later medieval England
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Richard II's views on the rights and duties of kingship and the effect that these views had on his conduct of government have attracted much attention. This chapter attempts to reach some preliminary conclusions by concentrating on one of the fullest, but least-studied, reports of Richard's views on kingship. From Sir William Bagot's account of a conversation he had with the king at Lichfield, four cardinal points in Richard's thinking on the subject of kingship seem to emerge. First is the importance of obedience: Richard sees the obedience of his subjects as the touchstone of his kingdom's prosperity. Second is the influence of precedent and history. Third relates to renunciation, while the last point is that Richard laid great emphasis upon the protection of the church as one of the essential duties of kingship and displayed a lively awareness of the spiritual prestige-the many good confessors-of the Plantagenet lineage.


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