Lancaster, house of
Cadet branch of the house of Plantagenet that provided three kings of England in the 15th century (Henry IV, Henry V, Henry VI). The family name first appeared in 1267, when the title of earl of Lancaster was granted to Henry III's son Edmund (1245–96). Edmund's grandson Henry (d. 1361) became the 1st duke of Lancaster, and the inheritance fell to his youngest daughter, Blanche, and to her husband, John of Gaunt. His son, Henry of Lancaster, became King Henry IV, and the duchy of Lancaster was merged in the crown. The Lancaster dynasty ended after the defeat of Henry VI by Edward IV of the house of York (see Wars of the Roses), and the Lancaster claims were passed on to the house of Tudor.
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