July 6: Richard I Ascends The Throne

Richard the LionheartAll hail the king, for it was on this day in 1189 that Richard I, or Richard the Lionheart ascended the throne of England. Richard is perhaps England’s best known medieval kings, and is remembered to this day as a noble warrior-king. Interestingly, Richard spent very little of his life in England. He mostly lived in France, and then spent most of his ten year reign fighting in the Third Crusade.

Richard’s Crusade years read like something out of an adventure novel: First, after a series of skirmishes against the Saladin, Richard was able to negotiate a peace treaty with his respected rival. Then on the way back home, Richard was captured and held captive for nearly two years by Leopold V, Duke of Austria. All the while, his brother John (who was watching over England in Richard’s absence) and King Philip II of France were plotting against him. In fact, the two of them even offered Leopold a bribe to not accept the King’s ransom and keep Richard captive. Upon Richard’s release in 1194, Philip sent John a letter of warning saying “Look to yourself; the devil is loose,” a sentence that is such a great line that I hope many a Hollywod screenwriter has kicked themselves for not coming up with it. Richard would later make peace with his brother and stop Philip’s rebellion, but his life was cut short when a young boy shot him with a crossbow as revenge for the death of his father. Richard would die of infection from the wound, but not before pardoning the boy and giving him 100 shillings.

Now there’s no drink more appropriate for Lionheart, the warrior king than the Red Lion. Created in 1933 by Arthur Tarling of London’s Café Royal, it’s a citrusy delight that packs a punch.

Red Lion

  • 1 ounce Gin
  • 1 ounce Grand Marnier
  • 1/2 ounce orange juice
  • 1/2 ounce lemon juice

Shake well with ice, and strain into a chilled cocktail glass whose rim has been coated with lime juice and dipped in sugar.

Tomorrow: We join the follies.

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