In tales like those of Robin Hood, King Richard the Lionheart is remembered charitably as a benevolent erstwhile monarch, lost to the Crusades in the Orient while his dastardly brother Prince John steals from the poor of England to give to the rich. Richard's return in the stories, though, always marks some proud English nationalist turning of the tide. In truth, Richard probably didn't care much for England at all, spoke mostly French, and spent the bulk of his adult life pursuing wealth and plunder with various armies abroad. The popular myth about his piety and love of England is ironically a product of his complete absence from what was a damp, musty isle at the edge of the world.


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