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Berengaria

(c. 1164—1230) queen of England, consort of Richard I.


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Queen of England and duchess of Normandy, b. c.1164, da. of Sancho VI, king of Navarre; m. Richard I, 12 May 1191; d. c.1230; bur. l'Épau, France.

The purpose of Richard's marriage was to produce an heir and to provide protection for the southern border of his French dominions while he was on crusade. The circumstances of the marriage were more romantic than the diplomacy. After betrothal, Berengaria was sailing to the Holy Land following Richard, when she was shipwrecked off Cyprus; its ruler threatened her with captivity, whereupon Richard stormed the island and forced its surrender. He and Berengaria were married and crowned at Limasol in May 1191. Berengaria never visited England, did not speak the language, saw little of her husband, and had no children. Her long widowhood was spent in Le Mans, France, where she gained a reputation for piety and good works.

Subjects: British History.


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