(ORDO NEWS) — Edward Woodstock – the heir to the English throne, nicknamed the descendants of the Black Prince – has died at the age of 46. Having started fighting at the age of 16, by the time of his death he had become famous throughout Western Europe.
But he died not in battle, as one might assume, but from illness. Historians diagnosed him with chronic dysentery. Military doctors do not agree with this.
The Black Prince (1330-1376) was the eldest son of the English king Edward III Plantagenet. At the age of 16, he first took part in his father’s campaign in Normandy and showed himself there as a fairly skilled warrior and commander.
In the same year, 1346, at the Battle of Crécy , he commanded the right flank of the English forces and was victorious. As a result of this battle, part of Normandy came under the control of the English crown.
Quite quickly, Edward Woodstock became a very significant figure in the history of the Hundred Years War.
He commanded the British at the Battle of Poitiers – the most important battle that determined the entire subsequent course of the war. Although there were more French, the Black Prince defeated and even captured the French king.
In recognition of his son’s military merits, Edward III gave him his French possessions and the title of Prince of Aquitaine. It is difficult to say whether the Black Prince would have ended his brilliant military career on this.
But it is known that he received in Aquitaine Pedro I, the king of Castile, deposed from the throne by his relative Enrique de Trastamara.
Edward supported Pedro and in the spring of 1367 led his army through the Ronceval Gorge. At the Battle of Najera, he defeated Trastamara, although he could not capture the usurper himself.
The Black Prince spent the next four months in Castile. It was there that he first showed symptoms of an unknown illness.
Historians assumed that the epidemiological situation in hot Spain was unusual for the heir to the English throne.
Previously, it was believed that there he contracted amoebic dysentery, which then became chronic. Edward’s soldiers also suffered from various diseases.
American military doctors who believe that healers and historians made a mistake with the diagnosis.
They compared what is known about the course of Edward’s illness with the clinical picture of chronic dysentery that they themselves observed.
Amoebic dysentery can cause long-term complications, including internal scarring, intestinal inflammation and colitis, they said. Nine years elapsed between the first symptoms and Edward’s death.
Sources note that the illness of the prince did not allow him to replenish the treasury, devastated by the Spanish campaign, the usual military way. He tried to raise taxes, which caused discontent among the Aquitaine barons.
It is known that in 1371 he was forced to return to England, but a year later, together with his father, he undertook a campaign in France.
The campaign ended almost before it began: the winds did not allow the British to land on the French coast.
But the authors of the work believe that the very participation of the Black Prince in this campaign proves that he did not suffer from dysentery.
They argue that the obligatory symptom of chronic amoebic dysentery is chronic diarrhea. Researchers ask the question: is it possible for a prince with this, shall we say, delicate problem to take part in hostilities?
If on the ship he could count on certain amenities, then during the battle, regularly running back behind the bushes is not the best behavior strategy for the commander.
And a person suffering from a disease for several years could not but understand this. But if not dysentery, then what?
The authors proposed several diseases at once, the symptoms of which are similar to those observed in Edward.
For example, according to historical records, in 1367, paratyphoid was in circulation, similar to typhus, but caused by a different microbe.
Complications from it could include long-term health problems such as anemia, kidney damage, liver abscess, and/or arthritis.
Dehydration due to lack of water during the hot Spanish campaign could lead to kidney stones, which would correspond to an intermittent illness lasting several years.
Another candidate is inflammatory bowel disease, which could explain the symptoms and gradual deterioration.
However, whatever the Black Prince died from, his death changed the history of the country.
A year later, King Edward III died, his grandson, Prince Edward’s son Richard II, who at that time was only ten years old, ascended the throne.
Such a young king is like a “face” command for those who are eager for power. As a result, Richard was killed, and chaos began in England, better known as the War of the White and Scarlet Roses.
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