The Black Prince, or Edward, Prince of Wales, (1330-76), is thought to have gained his nickname due to the colour of his armour -- jet black. However, this claim cannot be verified. Contrary to popular conceptions, period illustrations typically depict him in silver or gilt armour, not black. He may have gained this monicker because he wore a black surcoat with a silver plume. Yet a more fantastic notion also circulates. Many hold the opinion that he was labelled black because of his skill as a knight or because he was often merciless towards the vanquished. His sacking of the town of Limoges in 1370 gives some credence to the latter notion. After taking the town, all its inhabitants were slaughtered, with no consideration to age or gender.
Whatever his disposition, his skill as a leader and a combatant are well recorded in history. At the age of 16, he helped secure a victory at Crechy (1346). He later emerged victorious at Potiers in France (1356) and at the Battle of Najera in Spain (1367). His chivalric tradition would later be upheld by his son Richard II.
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