Richard I

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Richard I (the Lionhearted, or Cour de Lion in French) is one of the most over-glorified kings in history. He was born in Oxford, England, but was raised in Southern France with his mother Eleanor of Aquitaine. He and his brothers were constantly making war against their father Henry II, King of England.

When Henry died, Richard was made king. In just a few short months he ruined the entire financial stability of his father had built up, and bled the English dry for funds for his "holy" crusade. He went off for on Crusade with Frederick Barbarossa of the Holy Roman Empire and Philip Augustus of France, but not before stopping at Sicily and Cyprus to kill a few people on the side, and effectively pissing off every monarch in Europe.

Part of this had to do with his father, who had betrothed his son, Henry the Young King, to King Philip's daughter Alice, thereby linking the English and French crowns. When the Young King, Richard's elder brother, died, Henry switched the bethrothal to Richard. Richard, however, formed the conclusion that his father had done more than this, and might have tasted the fruit as soon as it became ripe. He therefore told Philip the deal was off. He also had his mother, the formidable Eleanor, arrange a replacement bride in Berengaria of Navarre, whom Richard then had shipped to Cyprus (which he was busy conquering from the incumbent tyrant, Isaac Ducus Commenus) in order to marry her. She was then sent back, first to Navarre, later to England, where she only arrived after his death.

By the time Richard reached the Crusader states with Philip, there wasn't much left of them. Frederick Barbarossa wouldn't be joining them for the rest of the crusade because he decided to take a "swim" with his armor on. So, Richard went around sacking cities, killing innocent Saracens and Jews, you know, the usual. He won an impressive victory at Arsuf, but failed to capture Jerusalem, and decided to go home (Philip had already turned-tail and fled back to France).

On his way back to England he was captured by Duke Leopold of Austria, who turned him over to the new Holy Roman Emperor, Henry VI, who held him for a king's ransom. Richard finally went free after a huge ransom of 100,000 pounds was paid, bankrupting England (again). He spent his remaining years alive building unnecessarily huge castles and making pointless war against France. One day while attacking a castle in an attempt to take its newly discovered buried treasure (which may actually never have existed), he was killed by a peasant with a crossbow. Thus ends the "glorious" reign of King Richard I.

Richard is remembered as one of the greatest kings in medieval history, but in reality he was an awful ruler and a cruel person. Really, the only thing he was good at was war. In his short 10 year reign he destroyed everything his magnificent father Henry II did to stabilize his kingdom and make England a superpower.

Preceded by:
Henry II

English Monarchs

Succeeded by:
John Lackland