Thursday, 3 September 2015

Mini History Blogs: The Coronation of Richard I



King Richard I was crowned this day at Westminster Abbey in 1189. The Bodleian Library in Oxford hold's an account of the coronation that gives the names of those who were in attendance and a description of the event.

In the account, the chronicler records Richard as the Duke of Normandy and writes how he lead the procession with "triumphal chanting." Richard took the oath and then anointed himself, taking the crown from the alter on which it sat. According to the chronicler, the crown was so heavy that two earls helped support it above the kings head.

Interestingly, during the ceremony a bat flew around Richard's head and a strange pealing of bells could be heard........an 'evil omen' writes the chronicler.

It is easy with hind sight to say that the recorder of the coronation was correct in his assumption, but as it turned out he was.

Richard I was a selfish and cruel king and a favourite of his mother, Eleanor of Aquitaine. He only spent six months of his ten year reign in England claiming it was 
"cold and always raining" 
he bankrupted the treasury to fund his hobby.....crusading.
He famously said
 "I would sell London itself if only I could find a rich enough buyer."
Richard's brother, later King John, was left to pick up the pieces. Could you run a country effectively with an empty treasury? John, was not perfect by any means, he was seen as the evil villain, a view which continues to this day. Richard however still remains an iconic figure.
A hero king? A good king?...........I think not!

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