Richard | English claimant to the Holy Roman Empire | Britannica

Richard

English claimant to the Holy Roman Empire
Print
Feedback
Corrections? Updates? Omissions? Let us know if you have suggestions to improve this article (requires login).
Thank you for your feedback

Our editors will review what you’ve submitted and determine whether to revise the article.

Join Britannica's Publishing Partner Program and our community of experts to gain a global audience for your work!
Alternative Titles: Richard, Earl of Cornwall

Richard, also called Earl of Cornwall, (born Jan. 6, 1209, Winchester, Hampshire, Eng.—died April 2, 1272, Berkhampstead Castle, Hertfordshire), king of the Romans from 1256 to 1271, aspirant to the crown of the Holy Roman Empire.

Napoleon Bonaparte. Napoleon in Coronation Robes or Napoleon I Emperor of France, 1804 by Baron Francois Gerard or Baron Francois-Pascal-Simon Gerard, from the Musee National, Chateau de Versailles.
Britannica Quiz
Emperors, Conquerors, and Men of War: Fact or Fiction?
Napoleon was an only child.

He was the second son of King John of England and was created Earl of Cornwall (May 30, 1227). Between 1227 and 1238 he frequently opposed his brother, King Henry III by joining the barons in several crises but never proceeding to rebellion and always making Henry pay heavily for reconciliation. He took the cross (1236) and led a small English force to the Holy Land (June 1240–January 1242), refortifying Ascalon and negotiating an advantageous treaty. During Henry III’s disastrous Poitevin campaign in France (1242), Richard’s prompt retreat at Saintes and his persuasive diplomacy at Taillebourg saved Henry from capture. While acting regent of England during Henry’s Gascon visit (1253–54), Richard summoned knights to represent the shires at the critical Easter Parliament of 1254. Reputedly the richest magnate in England, he refused Pope Innocent IV’s offer of the Sicilian crown (1252–53) but accepted imperial candidature (1256), purchased four of the seven electoral votes, was elected king of the Romans and crowned at Aachen (Aix-la-Chapelle; May 17, 1257). By lavish bribery he gained recognition throughout the Rhineland, returning home in January 1259.

He helped Henry to overthrow the Provisions of Oxford, but from June to October 1260 he again visited Germany, then discovering the impossibility of his hopes of the imperial crown.

He helped Henry invaluably against the rebel barons (1263–64) but was captured at Lewes (May 14, 1264) and imprisoned at Wallingford and then at Kenilworth until the overthrow of Simon de Montfort at Evesham (Aug. 4, 1265). He then worked ceaselessly to obtain the relatively moderate settlement of the Dictum of Kenilworth (Oct. 31, 1266). His fourth and last visit to Germany (August 1268–August 1269) is notable only for his third marriage, to Beatrice of Falkenburg.

Get exclusive access to content from our 1768 First Edition with your subscription. Subscribe today
Special podcast episode for parents!