From Richard the Lionheart to Charles II
- Iain Soden
15th July 2013
‘I know there are but few steps between the prisons and graves of princes’ Charles I
The experience of exile and captivity, usually in war, was not uncommon for medieval kings and princes. Many knew the joy of survival followed by the frustration of being caged; some tried to govern from exile; others adapted and took advantage of a temporary release from duty; most canvassed allies and very few gave up hope. This book chronicles the experiences of capture, flight, captivity or exile as they languished far from home and the highs and lows of their attempts to regain a life to which they could relate. From Richard the Lionheart in 1192 to Charles II in 1651, a succession of England’s kings and princes were forced to flee into exile or endure captivity at home or abroad, as were foreign royalty in English hands.
Royal lineage brought privilege but also great danger. Those who suffered in this way lived periods of great frustration and of edge-of-the-seat uncertainty, surrounded by spies and guards, governing or simply relating to the outside world in secret or by smuggled letter. Returns could be torrid affairs and often involved force of arms. Some were broken by their experiences. Others came back with tales of adventure and derring-do. Most were forgotten or wrapped in layers of propaganda, put in the shade by their subsequent successful reigns or their ignominious end.
This is a story of privileged lives rendered helpless, and of keeping a flame of hope alive.