In Shakespeare's play King Henry VI, Part I, the Duke of Bedford(or Bedford) is given the following role:

Duke of BEDFORD, the king’s uncle, and Regent of France

In other words, Bedford is the "substitute" ruler of France. However, in the play, Bedford is an English general and works on the English side.

So is Bedford with France or England? Could somebody explain this, or am I missing something?

1 Answer 1


Note that there is no "dramatis personae" in the first printed version of Henry VI, Part 1, i.e. in the version included in the First Folio of 1623. Nevertheless, the description "Regent of France" is used in the play's first stage direction, so what you have in your edition is correct.

The play is set during the Lancastrian phase of the Hundred Years' War, i.e. the years 1415–1453, during which the English controlled a large part of France, including Paris, but not all of it. It is of this part of France that Bedford was regent on behalf of Henry VI, who was only born in 1421 and became king of England in 1422, at nine months old. Bedford was definitely on the English side, opposite Charles VII, who disputed Henry VI's claim to the French throne.

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