Well, my first introduction to Richard the Lionheart was in the 1950s…one of the many Robin Hood movies of that period, He was noble and chivalrous (George Sanders, as I recall, see below), while Prince John was a Blue Meanie of the highest order.
Nothing much has changed since then. My opinion of both men took a further nosedive when I saw The Lion in Winter. That family was a right bunch…only Eleanor of Aquitaine had any working braincells. At least, in my opinion. I agree with the screen Eleanor that the screen Henry II (Peter O’Toole) had a body like mortal sin. I won’t argue with that! 😊
O’Toole aside, my lasting impression from that excellent film was of Prince John. (above) Nothing like the cold, scheming, always elegant Prince Johns of the past, Nigel Terry’s John was scheming, yes, but more inclined to dribble than be elegant. He was Daddy’s favourite little boy too. Good grief….
However, I’m writing this now because of an article in History Extra about Richard the Lionheart. An astonishing warrior, brilliant tactician, faultless leader, etc. etc. Maybe he was….England wouldn’t know because he was hardly ever here. Except when he wanted the cash cow to provide him with more means to continue his war games. Um, sorry, crusades. We had Richard to blame for the period when John stole the limelight because Big Bro was out of the country. Granted, we’d have had King John anyway, but we were subjected to more of him that we should have been.
So I’m afraid I have to give Richard a large thumbs-down as a monarch. I’m surprised he actually knew where England was. As for John…well, I wish he only knew the way out of the country. I wouldn’t have coughed up a ransom for either of them. Oh, well I suppose I would, because I’d have been an insignificant peasant who had to do as I was told or else. Oh, roll on 1381 and a big slice of peasants’ revenge.
I’ve wandered well away from the article that’s prodded me into this anti-Richard I and anti-John tirade. Please look past the monstrous chips on my lowly shoulder and read about Richard the Lionheart as he is to most people. But you’ll hear me muttering into my beard in the background….