Saturday, February 4, 2012

Richard The Lionheart

Tammy: Hello, folks, welcome to the Past Times! I’m your host, Tammy Turnback, and with us today is the famous Richard the Lionheart.
Richard: Good day.
Tammy: You are one of the few English Kings known by your epitaph, the Lionheart, rather than your number, which was the First, wasn’t it.
Richard: I was.
Tammy: Tell me, what did you do to earn this honor?
Richard: Well, you see, I fought bravely in the Crusades and was a good leader of my army.
Tammy: I see. You were a devoted Crusader?
Richard: Of course – I wanted to serve God and win my place in heaven. If a crusader died on a crusade, it was said that they would go straight to heaven.
Tammy: I see. And why were you fighting these Crusades?
Richard: You see, the Turks had taken over the Holy Lands, and wouldn’t let us Christians go there for pilgrimages, so the Pope ordered us to do something about it. Mine was actually the third Crusade.
Tammy: Oh, I see. And how long were you on this crusade?
Richard: The crusade itself lasted three years, but then, en route back to my own kingdom, the Duke of Austria captured me and put me in prison.
Tammy: Oh, dear.
Richard: It was two years before I finally got out – and my brother John paid my ransom. When I finally got out, King Phillip of France sent John a letter saying “Look to yourself, the devil is loose.” John hadn’t been being very good of a king, you see, and I had to go put him in his place.
Tammy: And you came back and were hailed a hero.
Richard: You could say that. But I did have to forgive him and I even named him my heir.
Tammy: Why, if he were such a bad king?
Richard: You see, I considered him a better king that my other option, our nephew, Arthur, who was still young, and was being influenced by Phillip of France. I considered having a bad king who would keep our lands a better option than a king who was influenced by another king and would give our lands to him. I knew quite well how bad Phillip’s influence could be.
Tammy: Really?
Richard: Yes, you see, when I was young, before my father, King Henry II died, Phillip’s father, Louis VII,  influenced my brothers and I to rebel against our father. Phillip wanted to weaken us, you see. Our second eldest brother, Henry the younger, was influenced the worst, since the he really didn’t have much to do, as Father ruled the lands he had “given” Henry the younger. Our eldest brother, William IX, had died at the age of two from a seizure, so he really didn’t count.
Tammy: And the rest of you didn’t have it as bad.
Richard: Yes. I, for instance, had been given Aquitaine, which had been our mother’s land.
Tammy: Your mother was Eleanor of Aquitaine, wasn’t she?
Richard: She was. She was actually nine years older than our father – he married her for her lands. She had been married to King Louis VII, but had divorced him because he was away on crusades too much, and they had only had daughters.
Tammy: I see.
Richard: I actually liked Aquitaine better than England – England was such a wet rainy place, I wished I could have sold it off when I was raising money for the crusade, but I couldn’t find a buyer.
Tammy: Really? But you were the king of England – how could you not care about it.
Richard: I didn’t like it. Too wet and rainy, for all I cared, John could keep on ruling it. I actually spent no more than six months of my ten-year reign actually on that dismal island. Couldn’t even speak that barbaric tongue, English. I was dignified, and spoke French.
Tammy: Really?
Richard: Yes. Also, my wife was the only English queen to never set foot on English soil – at least, not while she was queen.
Tammy: Really? And who was she?
Richard: Princess Berengaria of Navarre, which was part of Spain. I had been betrothed to Princess Alys of France, King Louis’s daughter by his second marriage, but I didn’t want that tie to France, besides, there were rumors about her and my Father, and I didn’t like them.
Tammy: I see, so you married this Berengaria instead.
Richard: Yes. She was very beautiful. Married her before I left on the crusade, and even took her with me most of the way. I was a busy man, though, and didn’t have much time for her when I got back from prison, never saw her again.
Tammy: Oh, I see.
Richard: And when I died, they didn’t even think to send for her to come to my bedside. They called my mother though – and I died in her arms. My mother later got buried beside me.
Tammy: Which brings us to how you died, how did you die?
Richard: I was in France, laying siege to a city I wanted, and one of the men in the city shot me with a crossbow. I died. My body was buried at my father’s feet, but my heart, which was said to be twice the size of the heart of a normal man, was buried at Rouen in Normandy.
Tammy: And thus ended your reign.
Richard: Yep. It would later be written of me that, “I was a bad king, a bad husband, but a good soldier.” I liked fighting, I was good at it.
Tammy: And that’s all the time we have for today, folks, see you next time on the Past Times!

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