Humphrey was born on 3rd October 1390 was the fourth son of King Henry IV of England by his first wife, Mary de Bohun.
The place of his birth is unknown, but he was named after his maternal grandfather, Humphrey de Bohun, 7th Earl of Hereford. He was created Duke of Gloucester in 1414, and upon the death of his brother, King Henry V of England in 1422, became regent of the kingdom and protector to his young nephew, King Henry VI.
In about 1422 he married Jacqueline, Countess of Hainaut and Holland, daughter of William VI. Through this marriage Gloucester assumed the title "Count of Holland, Zeeland and Hainault", and briefly fought to retain these titles when they were contested by Jacqueline's cousin Philip III, Duke of Burgundy. They had a stillborn child in 1424.
The marriage was annulled in 1428, and Jacqueline died disinherited. in 1436. Meanwhile, Gloucester married, his second wife being his former mistress, Eleanor Cobham, daughter of Reynold Cobham and Eleanor Colepeper. In 1441, Eleanor was tried and convicted of practising witchcraft against the king in an attempt to retain power for her husband. She died in prison in Peel Castle, Isle of Man in 1454.
The children of Humphrey and Eleanor Cobham, born before marriage, were:
Arthur Plantagenet who died in 1447
Antigone Plantagenet born before 1428. She married Henry Grey, 2nd Earl of Tankerville, Lord of Powys. Henry died in 1449 and Antigone married in 1451 John d'Amancier, Esquire of the Horse to Charles VII of France
Following his wife's conviction, Gloucester himself was arrested on a charge of treason.
He died, or was assassinated, at Bury St Edmunds in Suffolk, a few days later on 23rd February 1447.
After inheriting the
Greenwich, Duke Humphrey
Greenwich Park and from 1428
had a palace built there on the banks of the
Thames, known as Bella Court
and later as the
Palace of Placentia. The
Duke Humphrey Tower surmounting Greenwich Park was
demolished in the 1660s and the site was chosen for building the
Royal Observatory. His name
lives on in "Duke Humfrey's Library", part of the
Bodleian Library in
Oxford, to which the Duke
donated the nucleus of its collection. He was also a patron of
literature, notably of the poet