12.05.

1191: Richard the Lionheart’s Wedding on Cyprus

1191: Richard the Lionheart’s Wedding on Cyprus
Photo Credit To Wikipedia Commons / King Richard I's Great Seal of 1189

Story Highlights

  • Historical event
  • 12 May 1191
  • It is particularly interesting that Richard’s wife Berengaria never set foot in England while she was the Queen of England (Richard also spent only a few months in England during his reign and mostly stayed out of the country).

On this day in 1191, English King Richard the Lionheart married Berengaria of Navarre, daughter of King Sancho VI of Navarre. 

It is interesting to note that she was a descendant of the famous Spanish national hero Rodrigo Díaz de Vivar, known by the nickname El Cid.

The wedding of Richard the Lionheart and Berengaria of Navarre took place on the island of Cyprus.

In fact, Richard had started his march the year before, during the Third Crusade. Richard’s fiancée Berengaria was to catch up with him, accompanied by his mother. The fiancée was escorted by Richard’s mother to Sicily, and then she continued to travel with Richard’s sister.

After an arduous journey, they arrived to Cyprus but the fiancée and sister were captured there by the ruler of Cyprus, Isaac Komnenos.

Richard the Lionheart conquered Cyprus from Isaac Komnenos and married his fiancée there. There is a story that Richard promised Isaac Komnenos not to put him into irons; rather, he imprisoned him in silver chains.

Berengaria was Richard’s wife until the end of his life, but they had no children. Indeed, it is questionable whether they ever even consummated the marriage.

It is particularly interesting that at the time, when she was the Queen of England (almost eight years), she never set foot in England (Richard also spent only a few months in England during his reign and mostly stayed out of the country).

Berengaria outlived him by as many as 31 years. King Richard was succeeded by his brother John Lackland (known from the story of Robin Hood).

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