“Just as Anne predicted, both Richard and Philip took up the cross.” Broase shook his head at the thought. “Without permission from his father, Richard took the cross from the Archbishop of Tours and had it sewn onto his surcoat.”
As Charles stood up and stretched his legs, some of the other knights shifted position. Broase did not speak while they moved. “How did Henry react to Richard taking the cross without his permission?” Charles stretched his tired arms above his head.
“King Henry was livid when he heard what Richard had done.” Broase smiled to himself .
Upon hearing the news that Richard took the cross, Henry shut himself in his room and refused to come out for days. Some, including Richard, suspected Henry of trying to get attention.
Richard used the cross for his own political gain. He pledged not to leave on crusade until Henry promised him the succession. This gave Richard two advantages. First, if Henry formally named Richard as successor, then he would not have to worry about John claiming the throne. Richard also knew that Henry was unlikely to do this, so he could delay leaving for Palestine.
Tensions mounted between Henry and Philip, and Richard aided Philip with men and arms. Finally in early 1189, they met for a peace conference in Bohmoulins.
Both factions met on neutral ground just outside of the town. Henry arrived first, and set up a large tent, hoping to impress the younger king. He sat in a bulky chair and mentally prepared himself for the negotiations as he waited for Philip’s arrival.
Eventually, the tent flap was drawn back and the French king announced. Henry stood in greeting, but halfway up, he saw who accompanied Philip. Richard strode defiantly into the tent and did not give his father even a curt bow. Henry knew that Richard spent more and more time of late with Philip, but until that moment, he did not understand the extent. As he sat back down in his chair, he glared in Richard’s direction.. “Imagine seeing you here.”
Philip’s man, Norbert, brought in a large chair, and placed it before Philip. Philip took a seat. Despite the two empty chairs in the tent, Richard stood behind Philip, facing his father. “I am here in the service of my overlord, and as these issues have much to do with me.”
“Why don’t you run along Richard and let the kings conduct their business.” Henry snickered at him.
“He will remain and participate in the negotiations. It is my request.” Philip raised his eyebrows.
Henry continued, “Alright then, put forth your demands, Boys.”
“If you were any other man but my father, I would have killed you for that.”
Philip put up his hand to stop Richard. “Our first demand,” he stated loudly, “is that Richard be allowed to marry Alice immediately.”
“You do realize that one can only listen to the same tune so many times before it becomes downright boring.” Henry rolled his eyes. “Well, do you have any other demands? If so, please hurry and state them. I know you both must be anxious to march off on crusade and prove yourselves men.”
Philip stayed his course. “Now, Henry, even you must admit that you are not immortal. Yes, even you, the great Henry FitzEmpress will someday pass from this earthly realm. You must want to see a smooth succession for your empire. I am sure you do not want to see England plunged into chaos and civil war as has been known to happen upon the death of a king without an appointed heir. Marrying Richard to Alice would go a long way in proving that you intend him as your successor. The only reason I can think of for you to not marry her to Richard is because you intend to marry her to John and name him as your heir.” Philip rested his chin on his hands. “In short, the time has come for you to recognize Richard as the heir to the throne.”
Henry firmly grasped the armrests on his chair. “That I will not do.”
After a moment, Philip let out a long sigh. “I find it rather interesting; I took up the cross. You took up the cross, and naturally Richard took up the cross. Kings, princes, and noblemen all over Christendom are eagerly answering the call from the Pope. In fact, I have a copy of the letter from the Pope right here.”
Richard pulled out a letter from under his surcoat and handed it to Philip. Philip opened it and looked as if he were going to read it.
“If you have a point, please come to it. I have my own copy, nay several copies of this letter.” Henry put on his best-jaded facade.
Philip gave him a cynical smile. “Indulge me.”
Noisily, Henry let out a long breath. “I do not suppose I shall get anything out of you otherwise.”
“I particularly like this part.” Philip read from the letter.
... Wherefore, to those who with a contrite heart and humble spirit shall undertake the labour of this expedition, and shall die with repentance for their sins and in the true faith, we do promise plenary indulgence for their offences, and eternal life. And whether they shall survive or whether die, they are to know that they will have, by the mercy of Almighty God and of the authority of the Apostles Saint Peter and Saint Paul, and of ourselves, remission of penance imposed for all sins of which they shall have made due confession.
Henry fussed around in his seat while Philip read him the letter. First he leaned on one arm and then the other. Then he examined his hands, both front and back, several times. Finally Philip finished the letter and handed it back to Richard. “Yes, yes, forgiveness of sins and a pathway straight to heaven. It all sounds so tempting.” Mockingly, Henry widened his eyes.
“I know of at least one prince who would find crusade very beneficial,” Philip returned.
“There are not enough crusades to compensate for Richard’s sins.” Henry laughed.
“No, not Richard. Your other son, John, is the prince of whom I speak.” Philip tilted his head. “John would benefit from crusade. Would you not agree Richard?”
“John does not need to go on crusade.” Henry’s face reddened.
“Pray tell, why is that Father?” Richard asked him.
“Yes, why hasn’t your favorite son done his duty for God?” Philip added.
Henry spoke through clenched teeth. “I don’t have a favorite...”
Richard interrupted him. “Oh spare me! That is a lie parents have been telling their children since Adam. It did not do much good with Cain and Abel, now did it?”
Henry raised his voice, “Who are you to presume to tell me about my regard for my own sons? You do not have any sons! Thank God for it! You do not know what it is like to be a parent!”
“Some might argue neither do you!” Richard shouted back at him.
Philip spoke to calm down the father and son but with a feeble, halfhearted effort. “Just a moment. Shouting will do us no good. It will accomplish nothing.”
Richard grew more animated, talking with his hands and arms. He pointed to Henry. “I am convinced that this conniving man refuses to name me as his successor because he intends to name John as his heir. That is why John has not taken the cross. He does not want his precious heir to be put in any danger.”
“Richard, I am warning you!” Henry stood.
Richard placed himself right in front of Henry.“What? What are you going to do this time? Are you going to have Anne kidnapped again? You would not dare touch her because this time she is under Philip’s protection as well as mine.”
Both father and son seethed with anger, their fists clenched, ready to strike. “If I may,” Philip forced himself between them, “I believe a simple gesture on your part, Henry, could end this argument.” Henry only glared at Philip, as he continued. “Simply name Richard as your successor or give him some sign, some token that you do not mean to give the crown to John.”
“No.” Henry jutted out his chin.
“He means to give my rightful inheritance to John.” Richard shook his head.
Philip tried again. “It would go a long way to restore your relations with Richard.”
Henry sat down and spoke without shouting. “I have spoken my piece.”
Richard erupted. “Now at last I must believe what I had always thought impossible!”
Without warning, Richard dropped to his knees before Philip. “I do hereby swear homage for the Angevin lands in French territory to my sovereign overlord, Philip Augustus, by the grace of God, King of France.”
When he finished, Richard rose to his feet, and without even looking in his father’s direction, he stormed out of the tent.
Henry sat motionless in his chair. Philip picked up his gloves from where he dropped them. As he laid one on top of the other in his hand, he turned to Henry and quipped, “I do believe he just declared war on you, Henry.”
Philip followed Richard.