Richard The Lionheart

King Richard the Lionheart

King Richard I is better known as “Richard the Lionheart.” He succeeded the throne from His father, King Henry II in 1189 and ruled England until he died in 1199. Richard was born in France in 1158 and was the Prince of Normandy before becoming King of England.

Shortly after becoming King, Richard I joined the third Crusade to the Holy Land. He fought the Saracens in many battles and conquered the island of Cyprus. The leader of the Saracens considered him as a great warrior. King Richard I became known as Richard the Lionheart because he was commonly considered to be a great soldier and brave crusader. After returning from the Crusades, Richard spent much of his time fighting the French.

Castle Chateau Gaillard in Normandy, France
Castle Chateau Gaillard in Normandy, France

Most of King Richard’s subjects were not fond of the king. Being from France, he often refused to speak English unless he was forced to do so.  During his 10 year reign, he only spent about six months in England and drained the country of England dry due to financial spending during his crusade to take the Holy Land. It was rumored that Richard also spent twice as much money building the Castle Cateau Gaillard in France than he spent on building castles in England.

Richard the Lionheart died in 1199 when he was shot with the bolt from crossbow by young boy while taking siege of the castle of Chalus-Charbol in France. The king ordered the boy be brought to him, but instead of killing the young lad, he gave the boy 100 shillings and let him go free as an act of forgiveness.

Although the crossbow bolt had been removed from King Richard’s arm, the wound became infected and he died on April 6, 1199. His brother, King John I took his place as King of England.

Richard the Lionheart was linked to the legend of Robin Hood during the 1500s. This band of Sherwood Forrest outlaws are regularly portrayed as being supports of Richard I and became outlaws during the reign of Richard’s brother King John I.

There is a statue  of Richard I standing outside of the Palace of Westminster in London.

Richard Coeur de Lion (Richard the Lionheart)
Statue at Palace of Westminster in London England