back Uncle (26G) King Richard I Plantagenet next

Yes, Richard the Lion-Heart (1157-1199) really is our uncle. If you doubt, check here.

For ten years, 800 years ago, he was King of England and a whole lot of Europe. And he was just about the nearest thing to a movie star that they had in the Middle Ages.

I’m not saying that he was a completely nice guy, but how many stars are, in any era? He’s certainly a fascinating relative. Look him up.

He always disliked England, where he was born (at Oxford), and never learned much English. Always preferred French and stayed on the Continent as much as possible.

Uncle Richard’s family ruled England for more than 300 years (1154-1485). His father (our 26th Great Grandfather Henry II Fitz-Empress Plantagenet) was the first Plantagenet king. Richard was the second.
After a lot of struggle and rebellion, and after his two older brothers and his father died, Richard inherited the largest European empire since (our 30th Great Grandfather) Charlemagne (about 747-814).

Richard went to the Holy Land in 1189 at the head of the Third Crusade,1 with other royal European relatives, leaving the kingdom in the hands of his mother (26th Great-Grandmother Queen Eleanor of Aquitaine). Before he could get back home, a rascally German cousin2 kidnapped him and held him for ransom, contrary to all the Crusade rules. When a rumor spread in England that he was on his way home, it’s reported that the whole population went down to the beach to watch for him. Clearly a movie-star sort of guy.

King Richard’s early death left the kingdom in the hands of his little brother, our really nasty direct ancestor (25th Great Grandfather) King John “Lackland,” the bad guy in Robin Hood, who managed to lose all but the English part.

1The cross on his breast in the picture means that he was on his way to the Holy Land. On his way back home, he would have worn the cross on his back.
2Named Heinrich Hohenstaufen. His official title was “Holy Roman Emperor.” Go figure. He didn’t have an empire; it wasn’t Roman; and Heaven knows there was nothing holy about it…
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