THE BLACK PRINCE
Edward III., King of England, was a very warlike prince. When the King of France died he was succeeded by his nephew Philip, but Edward declared that he, being a grandson of the late king, had a better right than a nephew; and he set off with a gallant army and many knights and nobles to enforce his claim.
The war proved a much longer one than Edward had expected. Six years after the English king’s first march into France the two nations were still fighting. By this time King Edward’s eldest son was fifteen years of age, and he implored his father to let him accompany him to the French war.
This young prince was a fine spirited youth, and skilful at all manly exercises. In appearance he was very fair, with light hair and laughing blue eyes. Perhaps he was a little vain of his appearance, because in order to show off the fairness of his complexion he always wore dark-coloured armour, a habit which led to his being known in after life as Edward the Black Prince.
Seeing his boy’s courage and warlike spirit, the king consented to his accompanying him upon his next expedition into France.
In the month of July, 1346, the king and the prince set sail with an army of thirty thousand men, ten thousand of whom were archers.
For seven weeks the English marched through the fair and smiling country of France, meeting with very little opposition, and plundering and burning wherever they went.