Henry VI, Part Three begins with a debate between King Henry and York over which of them is the rightful king of England. The argument has its origins in the reign of Henry's grandfather, King Henry IV, a Lancastrian who came to power by usurping Richard II, grandson and direct heir of King Edward III. (Shakespeare's tetralogy of plays— Richard I, Henry IV, Part One and Two, and Henry V—dramatizes the ascendancy of the Lancastrians.) York can prove that his family tree follows a more direct line to King Edward III's throne than Henry's does;...
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