Murder of Prince Arthur

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As a kind of joke, John, King Henry’s youngest son, had been called Lackland, because he had nothing when his brothers each had some great dukedom. The name suited him only too well before the end of his life. The English made him king at once. Richard had never had any children, but his brother Geoffery, who was older than John had left a son named Arthur, who was about twelve years old, and who rightly the Duke of Normandy and Count of Anjou. King Philip, who was always glad to vex whoever was king of England, took Arthur under his protection, and promised to get Normandy out of John’s hands. However, John had a meeting with him and persuaded him to desert Arthur, and marry his son Louis to John’s own niece, Blanche, who had a chance of being queen of part of Spain. Still Arthur lived at the French King’s court, and when he was sixteen years old, Philip helped him to raise an army and go to try his fortune against his uncle. He laid siege to Mirabeau, a town where his grandmother, Queen Eleanor, was living. John, who was then in Normandy, hurried to her rescue, beat Arthur’s army, made him prisoner and carried him off, first to Romen, and then to the strong castle of Falaise. Nobody quite knows what was done to him there. The governor, Hubert de Burgh, once found him fighting hard, though with no weapon but a stool, to defend himself from some ruffians who had been sent to put out his eyes. Hubert saved him from these men, but shortly after this good man was sent elsewhere by the king, and John came himself to Falaise. Arthur was never seen alive again, and it is believed that John took him out in a boat in the river at night, stabbed him with his own hand, and threw his body in the river.


Charlotte M. Yonge Young Folks' History of England (Boston: D. Lothrop & Co., 1879) 97


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