See the line of succession for the houses of Lancaster and York, and how Shakespeare describes it in Henry VI Part Two.

In Henry VI: Part One, the houses of Lancaster and York both believe they have strong claims to the throne. The resulting battles became known as the Wars of the Roses, as each side was represented by a rose: red for Lancaster, and white for York.

Explore the tree below to see who the key figures were in each house.

In Shakespeare's words...

York: Edward the Third, my lords, had seven sons:
The first, Edward the Black Prince, Prince of Wales;
The second, William of Hatfield, and the third,
Lionel Duke of Clarence: next to whom
Was John of Gaunt, the Duke of Lancaster;
The fifth was Edmund Langley, Duke of York;
The sixth was Thomas of Woodstock, Duke of Gloucester;
William of Windsor was the seventh and last.
Edward the Black Prince died before his father
And left behind him Richard, his only son,
Who after Edward the Third's death reign'd as king;
Till Henry Bolingbroke, Duke of Lancaster,
The eldest son and heir of John of Gaunt,
Crown'd by the name of Henry the Fourth,
Seized on the realm, deposed the rightful king.

Warwick: Thus got the house of Lancaster the crown.

York: Which now they hold by force and not by right;
For Richard, the first son's heir, being dead,
The issue of the next son should have reign'd.

Salisbury: But William of Hatfield died without an heir.

York: The third son, Duke of Clarence, from whose line
I claimed the crown, had issue, Philippe, a daughter,
Who married Edmund Mortimer, Earl of March:
Edmund had issue, Roger Earl of March;
Roger had issue, Edmund, Anne and Eleanor.
Anne, my mother, being heir unto the crown
Married Richard Earl of Cambridge; who was son
To Edmund Langley, Edward the Third's fifth son.
By her I claim the kingdom: she was heir
To Roger Earl of March, who was the son
Of Edmund Mortimer, who married Philippe,
Sole daughter unto Lionel Duke of Clarence:
So, if the issue of the elder son
Succeed before the younger, I am king.

Henry VI Part Two, Act 2, Scene 2

This first appeared in a 2006 RSC programme.

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