Nick Name: Richard the Lionheart, Coeur De Lion
Birthday: September 8, 1157
Emperors & Kings
Died At Age: 41
Sun Sign: Virgo
Also Known As: Richard the Lionheart, Cœur de Lion, Richard I., Richard Coeur de Lion
Born in: Beaumont Palace
Famous as: King of England
Spouse/Ex-: Berengaria of Navarre
father: Henry II of England
mother: Eleanor of Aquitaine
siblings: Alix of France, Count of Poitiers, Countess of Champagne, Duchess of Saxony, Duke of Brittany, Eleanor of England, Geoffrey, Geoffrey II, Henry the Young King, Joan of England, John, King of England, Marie of France, Matilda of England, Queen of Castile, Queen of Sicily, William IX
children: Philip of Cognac
Died on: April 6, 1199
place of death: Châlus
Cause of Death: Accident
Richard I, also known as Richard the Lionheart, was the King of England from 1189 to 1199. He was reputed to be a great military leader and warrior and was just 16 when he took command of his own army while joining his brothers in a rebellion against his father, King Henry II of England. He not only possessed considerable political and military abilities, but was also known to be bestowed with highly attractive physical attributes which made him a popular king and the hero of numerous romantic legends. Born as the third legitimate son of King Henry II of England, the chances of him ascending to the throne as his father’s successor were slim. One of his elder brothers had died as an infant and the other one, Henry the Young King, was the heir apparent to the throne. However, the untimely death of Henry the Young King made Richard the king-in-waiting. Richard I became the King of England upon the death of his father and gained a legendary status as an iconic warrior and military leader due to his prowess. He also ruled as Duke of Normandy (as Richard IV), Duke of Aquitaine, Duke of Gascony, Lord of Cyprus, Count of Poitiers, and Count of Anjou at various times during his reign as the King of England.
Childhood & Early Life
Richard I was born on 8 September 1157, as the third legitimate son of Henry II and Eleanor of Aquitaine, in Beaumont Palace, Oxford, England. He had several siblings, including elder brother Henry the Young King who was the successor to their father’s throne. Another one of his elder brother, William, had died in infancy.
He is believed to have spent his childhood in England. Even though not much is known about his early education, there is no doubt that Richard grew up to be a well-educated young man with an interest in composing poetry.
He was given the Duchy of Aquitaine when he reached the age of 11 and was made the duke, at Poitiers, in 1172.
His elder brother Henry the Young King was crowned king of England during his father's lifetime and from 1170 he officially reigned alongside his father as the associate King of England. It was expected that the crown would pass on to him after their father’s death.
From a young age Richard displayed tremendous valour and courage and it was evident that one day he would grow up to be a brave warrior. As a teenager of 16 he took command of his own army and joined his brothers in the great rebellion against their father in 1173.
The rebellion had been instigated by Henry the Young King against their father as he wanted to reign independently over at least part of the territory. However, the rebellion failed and Richard I went to his father to beg for pardon and was granted the kiss of peace. Richard was also given control of two castles in Poitou and half the income of Aquitaine.
Henry the Young King fell ill in 1183 and died. This unexpected turn of events made Richard the heir to the throne.
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Accession & Reign
King Henry II died on 6 July 1189 and Richard succeeded him as King of England, Duke of Normandy, and Count of Anjou. It is believed that Richard’s constant conflicts with his father expedited the old man’s death.
After becoming the king, Richard did not harbor any ambition of planning for the English monarchy, but set his eyes upon the Third Crusade, prompted by Saladin’s capture of Jerusalem in 1187.
In order to fund the crusade, Richard sold the right to hold official positions and those already appointed were forced to pay huge sums to retain their posts. He spent most of his father's treasury, raised taxes, and even sold lands to finance his ambition.
After making all necessary arrangements for the administration of his territories in his absence, Richard departed for the Third Crusade. He was accompanied by Philip II, the son of Eleanor's ex-husband Louis VII by Adele of Champagne.
King Richard and Phillip arrived in Sicily in September 1190. Richard’s sister Joan had been married to King William II of Sicily. After William’s death she was captured and imprisoned by the new king, Tancred I of Sicily. Richard rescued his sister and signed a treaty with Tancred which declared Richard’s nephew, Arthur of Brittany to be his own heir.
He moved on to conquer Cyprus and left Cyprus for Acre in June 1191. On arriving at Cyprus he allied with Guy of Lusignan and Humphrey IV of Toron. Richard and his allies were successful in capturing Acre in July 1191.
Now he proceeded to lead his forces to Jerusalem. But the conquest of the city proved to be a huge challenge for him. On two attempts he was able to lead his army within a few miles of the holy land, but conflicts and quarrels with his own allies prevented him from capturing Jerusalem from Saladin.
Unable to find success, he decided to return home. He sailed by way of the Adriatic and a storm drove his ship ashore near Venice. There he was imprisoned by Duke Leopold of Austria before being handed over to the German emperor Henry VI.
Henry VI agreed to release him on the payment of a ransom sum of 150,000 marks. A major proportion of the ransom was paid and Richard was released in February 1194. He returned to England and was crowned for the second time in April 1194.
In 1199, it was reported that a local peasant had uncovered a treasure trove of Roman gold in the castle of castle of Châlus-Chabrol in France. Richard decided to besiege the castle and this decision of his ultimately resulted in his death.
Richard I and Philip II embarked on the highly ambitious Third Crusade in 1190. The crusade was largely successful as they were able to capture the important cities of Acre and Jaffa though they were unable to conquer the holy city of Jerusalem.
Personal Life & Legacy
Richard married Berengaria of Navarre, first-born daughter of King Sancho VI of Navarre on 12 May 1191. The marriage was childless.
Many scholars have debated upon Richard’s sexuality on whether he was predominantly heterosexual or homosexual.
He suffered a wound while besieging the castle of Châlus in France. The wound became gangrenous and he died on 6 April 1199. He was succeeded by his younger brother, John.