Cracks in the opposition

Richard of Cornwall
Seal of Richard of Cornwall

In January, two years after he was elected King of the Romans, Richard prepared to return home. The barons were apprehensive about this most unexpected visit and sent messengers to him in Germany demanding he take the oath to observe the Provisions before landing in Dover. Richard was indignant that the magnates had instituted reforms without consulting him and therefore refused. Hearing this, and fearing that he may try to sneak one or more of his half-brothers into the kingdom, the magnates insisted on welcoming Richard with a force of arms. The King of the Romans disembarked with no Lusignans and willingly followed his brother the king and the magnates to Canterbury, where Richard de Clare, the earl of Gloucester and Richard’s former stepson, delivered the oath. The occasion marked the last complete show of unity among the barons. The next month a quarrel broke out over the progress of reform. Gloucester was in no hurry to see the new statutes apply to him or the other magnates directly, and besides he had no personal quarrel with the king. Only a few years before Henry had done him the honor of marrying his seventeen-year-old niece Alice, daughter of his now deceased half-brother Hugh Lusignan, to de Clare’s ten-year-old son Gilbert. Simon accused Gloucester of reneging on reform, and he in turn accused Montfort of delaying the peace treaty for his own benefit. When Simon left for France, saying he had had enough of his shady partner, the other magnates warned Gloucester to clean up his own domains, otherwise they would join forces and attack him. This he agreed to do, but it was the beginning of a feud between the Montfort and Clare clans that would determine the entire course of the conflict.

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