The Black Prince, Edward of Woodstock, Prince of Wales, Prince of Aquitaine and heir to the English throne could be viewed as a hedonist. Certainly he loves pleasure.
He takes pleasure wherever he finds it, hunting, horse racing, tournaments, good food and drink and women. Despite a large number of romantic entanglements, he is and always has been in love with his cousin, Joan of Kent.
The Prince has been raised as a future King. The emphasis in his education has been on duty and courage, on honour and chivalry. At the age of 25 he is perceived to have excelled in all these areas.
He is impulsive, making decisions on the run, preferring to learn from his own mistakes rather than study any theory. He is clever, in fact intelligent enough to avoid any tasks which he finds distasteful or boring. This makes him a good military leader. He delegates tasks to others and does not over-supervise their activities. Those who work with him are given every opportunity to use their own skill and experience in the execution of their duties.
They know that there are two possible outcomes. If they achieve success in the tasks they are allocated, the Prince is quick to give praise and reward them with improved opportunities.
Alternatively if they fail to meet his expectations they know that they will be quickly replaced.
The way the Prince plucked John from obscurity and then gave him opportunity after opportunity to better himself, is typical of the way the Prince operates.
The Prince however, though often apparently removed from the action, is quick to offer assistance to those faced with political or organisational difficulty. Those who find themselves under physical threat may find the Prince suddenly at their shoulder sword in hand. Inevitably this style of leadership is soon reflected by his subordinates and therefore through every aspect of his organisation.
History has him as the epitome of chivalry and yet there was a ruthless side to his character.
He is judgemental and unforgiving. He is capable of patience , awaiting the right opportunity, but he will seek revenge for perceived wrongs or unchivalrous behavior and is capable of administering ruthless punishment.
For the Prince it would appear that Chivalry was extended to those who behaved in a chivalrous manner. Those who contravened the laws of chivalry should and must be punished.
His style is not a good match for political governance with any semblance of democracy. When away from the battlefield, the Prince still tends to want to tell people what to do not have them tell him what to do or even tell him their requirements.
Nevertheless, under Joan’s influence he begins to give greater priority to his personal relationships and to governance rather than to military adventures. He commits himself to marry Joan and to find a way of doing it without compromising honour or duty.