The Black Prince

Written by Michael Jones
Review by Cassandra Clark

Prince Edward, heir to the throne of England, eldest of Edward III’s five sons, renowned throughout Europe as the epitome of chivalry, died in the palace of Westminster after suffering years of a wasting disease, on 8th June 1376 before he could succeed to the throne. Married to the greatest beauty of the day, Joan, the Fair Maid of Kent, and father to the illustrious ‘golden child’ who became King Richard II, Prince Edward has been known to posterity, despite his many astounding victories, as The Black Prince, black in heart and black in deed. His victory at the siege of Limoges is often cited as an instance of his villainy, so I went straight to the chapter on Limoges to check out what stance Jones takes.

With his meticulous research, much of it new and backed up by French sources, his book should do much to restore the Prince’s reputation and give the lie to the black propaganda. He corroborates what Hubert Coles wanted to say in his seminal work in the 1970s but with new and more detailed evidence, showing how Prince Edward was vilified by a specious account chronicled by our old friend Froissart who, never having set foot in Limoges, did not realise that the Abbe and the Cite were two different places with different allegiances. But read this for yourself because Jones uses the evidence to give a detailed, dramatic and credible account of the Prince’s heroic victories, with useful maps of the major campaigns from Crecy, Poitiers to Najera. Essential reading for those who prefer fact to fantasy.