A. Sutherland - AncientPages.com - Probably the most famous medieval ruler of England - though not the best - was Richard Plantagenet, better known as Richard the Lionheart (“Coeur de Lion”).
Richard has always been portrayed as England’s hero-king, but during his 10-year reign, he spent only six months in England, a mighty but disorganized empire (England and English property in France).
Richard I, titled Coeur de Lion, (or Lionheart), ascended the British throne, in alliance with King Philip II of France.
He did not speak English and he was not interested to rule England. He wanted to win the knight’s fame either through rebellion against his own father or participating in a crusade to the Holy Land.
‘I would have sold London itself if I could have found a rich enough buyer,’ he said.
He gained a reputation as a great military leader and warrior; his main ambition was to join the Third Crusade, prompted by Saladin's capture of Jerusalem in 1187. When Richard took the throne it was shortly after Saladin’s capture of Jerusalem in 1187, and preparations were being made for the Third Crusade.
Richard was the son of the mighty King Henry II and the Eleanor of Aquitaine, one of the few women of the Middle Ages who decidedly influenced the fate of the states. The young Richard was brought up in an atmosphere of accusations and grievances between his parents. He also experienced a difficult political situation when the mighty English and French barons dissatisfied with the strong rule of Plantagenet.
Richard I The Lionheart, King of England, The Statues Of London,United Kingdom, Architect London, The Statues Of London Book
The family situation changed radically on July 6, 1189; sick and abandoned by all, Richard’s father, Henry II, died.
Richard I, titled Coeur de Lion, (or Lionheart), ascended the British throne, in alliance with King Philip II of France. However, he did not intend to keep up with previous arrangements and refused to pay homage to the British property on the continent. All relations were broken, and a war was imminent. The only help could come from Pope and so it happened. Both monarchs had to conclude an agreement as soon as possible and embark on a crusade.
The Muslims had just taken over Jerusalem.
As soon as Richard had raised an army, he headed for the Holy Land, leaving England in the hands of his mother, Eleanor. In 1190, he departed for the Holy Land to establish bases for crusades in Sicily in 1190 and Cyprus, which he took in 1191.
On 8 June 1191, after landing in Palestine with his ally Philip II of France, he joined the siege of Acre, located in what is now, Akko in Israel.
Tomb of Richard The Lionheart at Fontevraud, near Chinon, in Anjou, France. Image via wikipedia
Although the conflict had been in progress for two years, Richard moved quickly and he managed to defeat the Muslim defenders within six weeks. When Richard reached Acre, the siege had been going on there for two years. However, the king had not traveled so long distance for nothing.
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He had a plan to quickly overpower Acre, an ancient city dating back thousands of years. This brave and skilled warrior had also the physique of a warrior. At six foot four, Richard towered over others; he was like a giant among ordinary men. The muscles of his strong arms, chest and back were well developed because he had a long practice with the sword and spear.
The arrival of the English king, the legendary Lionheart, with no doubt greatly strengthened
the camp of the besiegers.
In total, during the Third Crusade that lasted from 1191 to 1192, Richard The Lionheart won victories at Cyprus, Acre, and Arsuf (against Saladin), but failed to recover Jerusalem, though he came close, the city.
While returning over the land, the great warrior was captured by the Duke of Austria, who handed him over to the emperor Henry VI. He was held prisoner and later released after a large ransom was paid. Eventually, Richard had to abandon his ambition of taking Jerusalem. In September 1192, Saladin agreed to a three-year truce, which left Acre and a thin coastal strip in the hands of the crusaders.
Richard returned briefly to England, and then he again became engaged in warfare in France. In 1199, while besieging the castle at Châlus, France, Richard was hit in the shoulder by an arrow from a crossbow. Gangrene set in and he died on 6 April, aged 42.
Richard's heart was buried at Rouen in Normandy, France, his entrails in Châlus , where he died, and the rest of his body was buried at the feet of his father at Fontevraud Abbey in Anjou. He left no heir.
Until today, the castle’s fame is associated with the death of King Richard the Lionheart.
Written by – A. Sutherland AncientPages.com Staff Writer
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Expand for references
Cawthorne, N. Kings and Queens of England
S. Kay Penman, Lionheart
J. Reston Jr. Warriors of God