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Richard the lion hearted

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Richard the lion hearted

Born: 8th September 1157 at Beaumont Palace, Oxford

Died: 6th April 1199 at Chalus, Aquitaine

Buried: Fontevrault Abbey, Anjou

Parents: Henry II and Eleanor of Aquitaine

Siblings: William, Henry, Matilda, Geoffrey, Eleanor, Joan & John

Crowned: 2nd September 1189 at Westminster Abbey, Middlesex

Married: 12th May 1191 at Limassol, Cyprus

Spouse: Berengia daughter of Sancho VI, King of Navarre

Offspring: None

Richard Plantagenet (also known as "Richard the lion hearted") was born on

September 8th in the year 1157 CE. Although born in Oxfordshire England,

Richard was a child of Aquitaine a part of Southern France. His language was

not English and throughout his life he spoke little of it.

He had four brothers and three sisters, the first of which died at a young

age. Of the remainder, Henry was named heir to the English throne, Richard

was to succeed his mother's Aquitane and Geoffrey was to inherit Brittany.

John was the poorest to fair out receiving nothing from his father. It is

this action that gave him the name John Lackland.

At a young age of twelve, Richard pledged homage to the King of France for

lands of his. At the age of fourteen, Richard was named the Duke of Aquitane

in the church of St. Hillaire at Poitiers (one of the lands made homage to

the French King.) Henry's sons, who had been given lands but no real power

revolted against their King father aided by their mother. In retaliation King

Henry had Eleanor jailed. She remained there for many years.

Richard's Mother Eleanor

Eleanor was the daughter and heiress of William X, duke of Aquitaine and

count of Poitiers, who possessed one of the largest domains in

France--larger, in fact, than those held by the French king. Upon William's

death in 1137 she inherited the Duchy of Aquitaine and in July 1137 married

the heir to the French throne, who succeeded his father, Louis VI, the

following month. Eleanor became queen of France, a title she held for the

next 15 years. Beautiful, capricious, and adored by Louis, Eleanor exerted

considerable influence over him, often goading him into undertaking perilous


From 1147 to 1149 Eleanor accompanied Louis on the Second Crusade to protect

the fragile Latin kingdom of Jerusalem, founded after the First Crusade only

50 years before, from Turkish assault. Eleanor's conduct during this

expedition, especially at the court of her Uncle Raymond of Poitiers at

Antioch, aroused Louis's jealousy and marked the beginning of their

estrangement. After their return to France and a short-lived reconciliation,

their marriage was annulled in March 1152. According to feudal customs,

Eleanor then regained possession of Aquitaine, and two months later she

married the grandson of Henry I of England, Henry Plantagenet, and count of

Anjou and duke of Normandy. In 1154 he became, as Henry II, king of England,

with the result that England, Normandy, and the west of France were united

under his rule. Eleanor had only two daughters by Louis VII; to her new

husband she bore five sons and three daughters. The sons were William, who

died at the age of three; Henry; Richard, the Lion-Heart; Geoffrey, duke of

Brittany; and John, surnamed Lackland until, having outlived all his

brothers, he inherited, in 1199, the crown of England. The daughters were

Matilda, who married Henry the Lion, duke of Saxony and Bavaria; Eleanor, who

married Alfonso VIII, king of Castile; and Joan, who married successively

William II, king of Sicily, and Raymond VI, count of Toulouse. Eleanor would

well have deserved to be named the "grandmother of Europe."

During her childbearing years, she participated actively in the

administration of the realm and even more actively in the management of her

own domains. She was instrumental in turning the court of Poitiers, then

frequented by the most famous troubadours of the time, into a centre of

poetry and a model of courtly life and manners. She was the great patron of

the two dominant poetic movements of the time. The courtly love tradition,

conveyed in the romantic songs of the troubadours, and the historical mati're

de Bretagne, or "legends of Britanny," which originated in Celtic traditions.

In the Historia regum Britanniae, written by the chronicler Geoffrey of

Monmouth some time between 1135 and 1139.

The revolt of her sons against her husband in 1173 put her cultural

activities to a brutal end. Since Eleanor, 11 years her husband's senior, had

long resented his infidelities, the revolt may have been instigated by her;

in any case, she gave her sons considerable military support. The revolt

failed, and Eleanor was captured while seeking refuge in the kingdom of her

first husband, Louis VII. Her semi-imprisonment in England ended only with

the death of Henry II in 1189. On her release, Eleanor played a greater

political role than ever before. She actively prepared for Richard's

coronation as king, was administrator of the realm during his crusade to the

Holy Land, and, after his capture by the Duke of Austria on Richard's return

from the east, collected his ransom and went in person to escort him to

England. During ...

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