Montfort the Courtier / The Exile: the story: In 13th century England, Simon, a penniless French youth with a slim claim to the Earldom of Leicester, becomes King Henry III’s best friend – until Henry marries a heretic and forces Simon to orchestrate a magnificent pageant to greet the new Queen. Resisting a forbidden, treasonous love that draws him and the Queen together, Simon falls into a true and more forbidden love with King Henry’s sister – who is a nun. When she is with child, Henry has the lovers secretly wed, and Simon must “buy back” the nun’s vows from the Pope.
When the barren Queen is found to be “miraculously” pregnant, Henry suspects Simon of being the Queen’s lover and father of the Crown’s heir. Simon flees into exile with his wife and baby, crossing the Channel in a small boat in a tempestuous storm.
They arrive at Simon’s brother’s castle just as a Crusade is gathering, but Simon is barred from joining. When the Crusade is brutally slaughtered, Simon, with King Henry’s brother Richard, mounts a new Crusade to the rescue. Believing “Richard the Lion Hearted” has returned, the Sultan capitulates. The Crusade triumphs. Simon soon is Mayor of Jerusalem, then elected King of Christian Palestine.
Refusing the Crown, Simon returns to Europe where he leads his friend King Louis’s (Saint Louis) army against King Henry – until Henry summons him and Louis forces him to change sides. Leading 100 English knights, Simon halts Louis army of 30,000. Hailed by the English lords, Simon regains his title Earl of Leicester – but King Henry’s suspicion and hatred of him are implacable.
Glorious pageantry, medieval jousting and battles highlight this true story.