Winners don't wait for chances

Crusade and accession

Edward took the crusader's cross in an elaborate ceremony on 24 June 1268, with his brother Edmund and cousin Henry of Almain. Among others who committed themselves to the Ninth Crusade were Edward's former adversaries—like the earl of Gloucester, though the earl did not ultimately participate.[41] With the country pacified, the greatest impediment to the project was providing sufficient finances.[42] King Louis IX of France, who was the leader of the crusade, provided a loan of about ?17,500.[43] This, however, was not enough; the rest had to be raised through a tax on the laity, which had not been levied since 1237.[43] In May 1270, Parliament granted a tax of a twentieth,[44] in exchange for which the king agreed to reconfirm Magna Carta, and to impose restrictions on Jewish money lending.[45] On 20 August Edward sailed from Dover for France.[46] Historians have not determined the size of the force with any certainty, but Edward probably brought with him around 225 knights and all together less than 1000 men.[42] Originally, the Crusaders intended to relieve the beleaguered Christian stronghold of Acre, but Louis had been diverted to Tunis. The French king and his brother Charles of Anjou, who had made himself king of Sicily, decided to attack the emirate to establish a stronghold in North Africa.[47] The plans failed when the French forces were struck by an epidemic which, on 25 August, took the life of King Louis himself.[48] By the time Edward arrived at Tunis, Charles had already signed a treaty with the emir, and there was little else to do but return to Sicily. The crusade was postponed until next spring, but a devastating storm off the coast of Sicily dissuaded Charles of Anjou and Louis's successor Philip III from any further campaigning.[49] Edward decided to continue alone, and on 9 May 1271 he finally landed at Acre.[50] Operations during the Crusade of Edward I By then, the situation in the Holy Land was a precarious one. Jerusalem had fallen in 12 4, and Acre was now the centre of the Christian state.[51] The Muslim states were on the offensive under the Mamluk leadership of Baibars, and were now threatening Acre itself. Though Edward's men were an important addition to the garrison, they stood little chance against Baibars' superior forces, and an initial raid at nearby St Georges-de-Lebeyne in June was largely futile.[52] An embassy to the Mongols helped bring about an attack on Aleppo in the north, which helped to distract Baibar's forces.[53] In November, Edward led a raid on Qaqun, which could have served as a bridgehead to Jerusalem, but both the Mongol invasion and the attack on Qaqun failed. Things now seemed increasingly desperate, and in May 1272 Hugh III of Cyprus, who was the nominal king of Jerusalem, signed a ten–year truce with Baibars.[54] Edward was initially defiant, but an attack by a Muslim assassin in June forced him to abandon any further campaigning. Although he managed to kill the assassin, he was struck in the arm by a dagger feared to be poisoned, and became severely weakened over the following months.[55] It was not until 24 September that Edward left Acre. Arriving in Sicily, he was met with the news that his father had died on 16 November.[56] Edward was deeply saddened by this news, but rather than hurrying home at once, he made a leisurely journey northwards. This was partly due to his health still being poor, but also due to a lack of urgency.[57] The political situation in England was stable after the mid-century upheavals, and Edward was proclaimed king at his father's death, rather than at his own coronation, as had until then been customary.[58] In Edward's absence, the country was governed by a royal council, led by Robert Burnell.[59] The new king embarked on an overland journey through Italy and France, where among other things he visited the pope in Rome and suppressed a rebellion in Gascony.[60] Only on 2 August 1274 did he return to England, and was crowned on 19 August.