Man at Arms

Edward of Woodstock or the disgrace of a knight

             Edward of Woodstock or Edward Plantagenet is the eldest son of King Edward III of England. During the Hundred Years War, he is nicknamed the Black Prince. This nickname is due to the color of his armor which was darker than his contemporaries’, who wore light-colored armor. During his lifetime, he was never called The Black Prince, this nickname was given to him later alongside his legend.

For some, the nickname of Edward de Woodstock did not only came from the color of his armor but also from his behavior. Edward was a particularly fierce and severe knight. However, his armor was not always black, in his early days, his armor was identical to the others; upon committing certain acts he earned this black armor.

On July 11, 1346, Edward de Woodstock arrived in Saint-Vaast-la-Hougue, Normandy to fight alongside his father. Accustomed and trained at tournaments from an early age, the son of the King of England knew how to fight. During the battle of Crécy, he had his first great victory. He was even in command of the right wing of the English army. Despite the victory of the English, Edward nearly lost his life that day. He was reportedly disarmed by a French knight but narrowly saved by his standard door. Edward did not accept this humiliation. Then, during the night following the victory, he ordered the execution of all the wounded French soldiers who did not have enough to pay a ransom. After this night of , the French militia who arrived as reinforcements were also annihilated by the Edward and his troop.

This vengeful act disappointed especially  Edward of Woodstock’s father. Such acts were an affront to the spirit of chivalry and the king did not support it. The king was ashamed of his son. This is why Edward of Woodstock carried a black armor and the legend of the Black Prince was born.


Despite the shame his father had felt towards him, he was still a great knight. He led several campaigns across France during the Hundred Years War by repeating some bloody acts in order to weaken the French. Thanks to his many victories, in particular, the capture of the French king, Jean II Le Bon, his father as a token of recognition crowned him Prince of Aquitaine on July 19, 1362. He reigned on the territory of Aquitaine as violently as he led his army. The constantly high taxes he demanded from his people eventually revolted certain counts and burghers of his territory, including the Count of Armagnac Jean I, who won the support of King Charles V of France. An uprising against the English reign began. Meanwhile, Edward, who contracted dysentery in Spain, was too weak to fight this revolt, left Aquitaine in 1371 to return to England. He abdicated his role of the Prince of Aquitaine in 1372. The Black Prince succumbed to his illness in 1376, one year before the death of his father. However, he left behind a son, who will become king at the age of ten, Richard II.