Lear divides up his kingdom among his three daughters. During the time period in which King Lear takes place kingship was something granted by God only to those capable. It was a job for life and a king would die with the crown.
Lear: Know that we have divided in three our kingdom, and 'tis our fast intent to shake all cares and business from our age, conferring them on younger strengths while we unburdened crawl towards death. (Act 1, Scene 1, 38-42)
The division of his kingdom is not based on capability or intelligence, but rather on something as trivial as flattery.
Lear: Which of you shall we say doth love us most? That we our largest bounty may extend where nature doth with merrit challenge. (Act 1, Scene 1, 52-53)
Lear gives his oldest two daughters a considerable part of his kingdom based on their false flattering. When the youngest, Cordelia, tells him she loves him no more than a daughter should love her father and that her actions should speak for her he, instead of giving her the share he promised her, banishes her for speaking truthfully.
Cordelia: Good my lord, you have begot me, bred me, loved me; I return those duties as are right fit, obey you, love you, and most honour
you. Why have my sisters husbands, if they say they love you all? Happily, when I shall wed, that lord whose hand must take my
plight shall carry half my love with him, half my care and duty. Sure I shall never marry like my sisters, to love my father all.
Lear: But goes thy heart with this?
Cordelia: Ay, good my lord.
Lear: So young, and so untender?
Cordelia: So young, my lord, and true.
Lear: Let it be so! Thy truth then be thy dower! (Act 1, Scene 1, 98-110)
After banishing Cordelia, Lear banishes his most loyal follower, Kent, for the same reason: honesty.
Kent: Kill thy physician and thy fee bestow upon the foul disease. Revoke thy gift, or, whilst I can vent clamour from my throat, I'll tell the thou...