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King Richard I

King Richard I (1157-1199)

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King Richard I, the 'Lionhearted', of Britan
Chapter 5

Acre and Jerusalem

Richard arrived at Acre in June 1191. Philip II, in the meantime, returned to France and schemed with Richard's brother John.

Richard was just in time to relieve the siege of the city of Acre by Saladin. Deserted by Philip and having fallen out with Duke Leopold V of Austria, he suddenly found himself without allies.

Richard fought his way south, to Jerusalem. Saladin's men were unable to harass the Crusader army into an impulsive action, which might not have gone their way. However, the desertion of the French king had been a major blow from which they could not hope to recover. Realising that he had no hope of holding Jerusalem, even if he took it, Richard sadly ordered a retreat just 12 miles outside the city, where he signed a truce with Saladin.

Though he scored some successes in the Holy Land, Richard and his fellow Crusaders failed to meet the objective of the Third Crusade, which was to liberating the Holy Land from Moslem Turks and to recapture Jerusalem from Saladin. It did have one positive result, which was easier access to the region for Christian pilgrims through the truce with Saladin.

He had finally realised that his return home could be postponed no longer, since both Philip and John were taking advantage of his absence to increase their own power.

Having planned to leave Conrad of Montferrat as ‘King’ of the Crusader state and Cyprus in the hands of his own Guy of Lusignan, Richard was dealt another blow when Conrad was assassinated before he could be crowned. His replacement was Richard's own nephew, Henry of Champagne.

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