Richard I. The Lionheart


August 14, 2022

Richard I called Richard the Lionheart (French Richard Cœur de Lion [köːr dəljõ], English Richard the Lionheart, Latin Ricardus Cor leonis and known among the Arabs as Malik Rik; 8 September 1157 Oxford – 6 April 1199 Châlus Castle) came from of the Plantagenet dynasty and was King of England and ruler of the Anjou Empire from 1189–1199. He spent his youth in Aquitaine and participated in the rebellion against his father Henry II with his brothers and mother Eleonora. He is most famous for his participation in the third crusade (1189–1192) against Saladin, at the head of which after the departure of the French king Philip II. stood. On the way back, he was captured by Leopold Babenberský and spent two years in prison. After his return, he dealt with his rebellious brother Jan Bezzemek in England, and for the next few years he fought in France with his former friend, the French king Philip II. He died after being hit by a crossbow during the siege of the castle of his rebellious Limousin vassal. His coat of arms with three lions rampant became the emblem of England.

French education

Richard was the second son of King Henry and Eleanor of Aquitaine. He did not grow up in England, but in Anjou, which was the center of his parents' empire. In his youth, he was strongly influenced by the troubadours, he is said to have even composed several celebratory songs, and also by the cult of chivalry, which he later adopted. On January 6, 1169, together with his father and brothers Henry and Geoffrey, he took the oath of vassal obedience to the French king Louis VII. (to the former first husband of Richard's mother) for Aquitaine, since the English royal family was indeed a sovereign ruling house in its English territories, but in the territories that its members belonged to in France, these members of the house were subject to the French king, to whom they owed a fief. In April of that year, Richard formally became Duke of Aquitaine. In 1173, together with his two older brothers, he rose up against his father, the Duchy of Aquitaine went armed against one of its two kings - Henry II. and supported the second king – Jindřich Mladík. The rebellious descendants were also supported by the continental nobility. So the English king recruited Brabant mercenaries. After much violence on both sides, a peace was concluded at Montlouis in September 1174, in which Henry handed over to his sons their share of the government in the designated lands. Another family misunderstanding occurred in 1180, when Jindřich Mladík again left for the French court. After his sudden death in 1183, King Henry proposed to Richard that he hand over Aquitaine to the youngest John. Richard was not exactly willing to give up the fertile land in which he had spent his youth, and then John, with the support of his brother Geoffroy, tried to take Aquitaine by force. The dispute ended with a reconciliation at the end of 1184. Richard was supported by his mother, King Henry sided with the youngest John, and Philip II alternately showed his support to all the candidates for the throne. August. When Richard swore the lien oath to him for the continental territory and then John also sided with the French king, Henry Plantagenet was already at the end of his strength. He was forced to sign a peace treaty with Philip and reconcile with his sons. Shortly afterwards, in 1189, abandoned and betrayed, he died without reconciling with Richard.


Soon after his coronation (September 3, 1189), on December 11, Richard went on a crusade to the Holy Land together with his ally Philip Augustus. On 7 August 1190 he sailed from Marseilles and on 24 September met Philip in Sicily. Unfavorable weather did not allow them to continue their journey to the Holy Land, so they decided to spend the winter there. However, the first disputes appeared already here, when Philip fell in love with Richard's sister Johanna, the widow of the Sicilian king. Richard refused to accept this love, and therefore Philip soon