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Medieval Facts & Myths: Richard the Lionheart

Richard the Lionheart... a legendary, noble king of England.

That's what most of us think. In reality, Richard probably spoke very little English— and he was hardly noble.

Although born in England, Richard spent most of his life outside the island kingdom. For Richard, England was primarily a source of silver to fund his crusades to the holy land and conquests across the channel.

In Hollywood, he's been called "Richard of The Third Reel" because the noble Lionheart always appears near the end of every Robin Hood film acknowledging the virtue of the rogue of Sherwood Forest. In reality, Richard was far from noble.

As a young man, Richard took part in a rebellion against his father, Henry II. As a king, Richard was an absentee monarch who drained the treasury for his wars of glory. Ironically, his brother John who is vilified in the Robin Hood legends was actually a more sober and responsible king.

Richard's biggest historical coup was getting the moniker Lionheart, a name he earned for legitimate military prowess. That sobriquet, however, created the myth of Richard as a wise and noble king.

But outside the public imagination fed by the Robin Hood legend, Richard I was one of England's least responsible monarchs.

Medieval Facts & Myths is a blog series featuring KING ROBIN, a novel by R. A. Moss releasing February 2021 from Beck and Branch Publishers.

Cinematic rights available.

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