Two Crowns

Care for a coronation? On July 6 two of England’s most famous (and infamous) kings ascended the throne or were crowned.

First, in 1189, was Richard the Lionheart, who’s become legendary for his military prowess (which, in some cases, was particularly
brutal). The road to the throne was a rocky one: Richard was involved in several rebellions against his father, Henry II, in an effort to seize the throne and valuable lands in Aquitaine. On July 4, 1189, Richard’s forces defeated his father’s army at Ballans. Henry named Richard his heir, and died two days later in Chinon, making Richard king. He was crowned at Westminster Abbey
on September 3. Shortly after taking the throne, Richard departed to join the Third Crusade. He spent the rest of his life abroad, dying in France of an infected arrow wound in April 1199.

In 1483, the notorious Richard III was crowned king following the death of his elder brother, Edward IV, and the mysterious
disappearances of Edward’s two sons, Edward V and Richard, Duke of York. As Richard had had his brother’s marriage to Elizabeth Woodville declared invalid, making their children illegitimate, there was nothing standing in the way of him accepting the throne on June 26. He and his wife, Anne Neville, were crowned on July 6.

Although Richard founded the College of Arms and endowed King’s College and Queen’s College, Cambridge (along with Queen Anne), he’s mostly remembered now as being a deformed, child-killing despot. It’s likely he’s been a victim of bad Tudor-era PR, but the fact that his reign almost immediately sparked rebellions suggests he wasn’t too warm and cuddly. The first rebellion, led by the 2nd Duke of Buckingham and Henry Tudor in 1483, was stymied by bad weather. The second rebellion, which culminated in
the Battle of Bosworth Field in August 1485, was much more successful. Richard was killed in battle, and Henry Tudor took the throne as Henry VII.

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