Research snippets – Arthur of Brittany

One major plot line in Swords of the King involves King Richard, the Lionheart’s nephew, Duke Arthur of Brittany. Swords ends in 1199 when the young duke is 13 years old, but Arthur’s story goes on a few more years.

[King] John himself now attempted to deal with Arthur in another way. Being at Falaise at the end of January 1203, he caused his nephew to be brought before him, and “addressed him with fair words, promising him great honours if he would forsake the king of France and cleave faithfully to his uncle and rightful lord.”

Norgate, Kate. John Lackland. London, New York, Macmillan.

Needless to say, Arthur did not swear fealty to his uncle King John, which sealed his fate. He was last seen in the dungeons at Rouen. A few of John’s contemporaries accused John of murdering the boy ‘with his own hand’ and tossing his weighted down body into the River Seine. There was no evidence to prove this, but historians agree that if John did not do the deed himself, he likely ordered it.

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