Arthur, Prince

views updated Jun 11 2018

Arthur, Prince (1187–c.1203). A young Plantagenet prince murdered by his uncle King John. As the posthumous only son of Geoffrey and Constance of Brittany, Arthur was duke of Brittany from the moment of his birth. Greater prospects opened up in 1190 when his uncle, Richard I, nominated him as heir presumptive to the throne, but by 1199, when Richard died, John had taken over as the acknowledged successor. Some of the barons of Anjou revived Arthur's claim but were soon outmanœuvred. His moment came in 1202 when King Philip Augustus, at war against John, decided to recognize Arthur as rightful ruler of Normandy and Anjou. Unfortunately for Arthur he was captured by John at Mirebeau in August 1202, imprisoned at Rouen, and never seen again. Ever since the image of the murdered young prince has done much damage to John's reputation.

John Gillingham