Richard of Cornwall
The English King of Germany
- Darren Baker
15th September 2022
Richard of Cornwall was born in 1209 as the youngest son of King John. His life of adventure made him one of the wealthiest and most widely travelled men of his era. Praised for his diplomatic and organisational skills, he led the last successful crusade to the Holy Land and was elected king of Germany. At home he was indispensable to his brother Henry III, but he resented his dependence on him and often equivocated his support. When his brother-in-law Simon de Montfort raised rebellion against the regime, Richard took a neutral stance, and it ended up costing both him and the king. He emerged from that low point to exert what was his greatest and lasting influence on his German subjects. He took one of them as his third wife, a teenage beauty who was forty years younger than him.
Ever a seeker of glory, luxury and pleasure, Richard turned Wallingford and Berkhamsted into the famous castles they became later on and sired numerous children with mistresses. He gladly squeezed the peasants to finance his ventures and lifestyle, but also came to their rescue when famine beset the realm. As with any complicated individual of that era, he was both admired and hated when he died in 1272.
In this first biography of Richard of Cornwall in more than fifty years, Darren Baker explores Richard’s accomplishments, going much further into his life than any previous work, and shows why the only Englishman to carry the prestigious title of king of the Romans is always worth another look.