A Brief Biography of King Richard I

By Tim Lambert

King Richard I was born in 1157 in Oxford. His father was Henry II and his mother was Eleanor of Aquitaine. Richard was an educated man. In 1172 he became Duke of Aquitaine. In 1183 his older brother Henry died and he became heir to the throne of England. Richard succeeded his father as king of England on 6 July 1189. He was crowned on 3 September 1189.

The Crusade

Saladin had captured Jerusalem in 1187 and Richard was determined to win it back. He left England as soon as he could in 1190. He arrived in the Holy Land in 1191. (On the way, on 12 May 1191 he married a woman named Berengaria). Richard had some success. In July 1191 Richard captured Acre but he failed to capture Jerusalem, the main prize. In 1192 he made a treaty with Saladin.

Richard left for England in October 1192. He attempted to return home through central Europe. He sailed into the Adriatic but he was shipwrecked. Richard was captured by his enemy Leopold, Duke of Austria. He demanded a ransom of 100,000 marks for the king’s freedom. It was a huge sum in those days but eventually, it was paid and Richard was released in February 1194.

However, he did not stay in England for long. In May 1194 King Richard sailed to Normandy. He never saw England again.

Richard I spent several years fighting in France. Finally, on 26 March 1199, he was wounded in the shoulder by a crossbow bolt fired from a castle. The wound turned gangrenous and King Richard died on 6 April 1199. He was buried in Fontevrault in Normandy. He was succeeded by his brother John.