Today in the Middle Ages: September 3, 1189

Richard I of England, called the Lion Heart, was crowned king in Westminster on September 3, 1189. The crusading king never learned to speak English and spent all but six months of his reign abroad.

Son of Eleanor of Aquitaine and Henry II, Richard had been in rebellion against his father and older brother and in alliance with his mother and younger brothers in one of history's all-time great dysfunctional families. At that time, England and France were not the distinct entities they are today, and Richard cared much more for his French lands than for England. He famously exclaimed, when trying to raise money for his crusade, "If I could have got a buyer, I would have sold London itself!"