On December 20, 1192, King Richard I of England was captured near Vienna by Leopold V, Duke of Austria who accused Richard of arranging the murder of his cousin Conrad Montferrat. Moreover Richard had personally offended Leopold by casting down his standard from the walls of Acre. Richard and his retainers had been travelling in disguise as low-ranking pilgrims, but he was identified either because he was wearing an expensive ring, or because of his insistence on eating roast chicken, an aristocratic delicacy. Duke Leopold kept him prisoner at Durnstein Castle. The detention of a crusader was contrary to public law, and on these grounds Pope Celestine III excommunicated Duke Leopold. On March 28, 1193 Richard was brought to Speyer and handed over to Henry VI, Holy Roman Emperor, who continued to hold Richard for ransom. In response Pope Celestine III excommunicated Henry VI, as he had Duke Leopold, for the continued wrongful imprisonment. The emperor demanded that 150,000 marks be delivered to him before he would release the king. The money to rescue the King was transferred to Germany by the emperor's ambassadors, and finally, on February 4, 1194 Richard was released.
Michael Thomas Barry is the author of Great Britain’s Royal Tombs: A Guide to the Lives and Burial Places of British Monarchs. It can be purchased from Amazon or Barnes and Noble through the following links:
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