With all the disproportionate media attention that is given to gay marriage and rights these days, it's odd to realise that even three hundred years ago in London, I might have still been cursing that the local paper was carrying on so much about the topic, albeit from a very different perspective.
I don't believe everything Norton says on the whole subject; as with other gay academics, he seems inordinately keen to claim anyone in history as homosexual. But somewhere in there he notes Richard the Lionheart as been suspected of having a relationship with (at least) King Philip II of France. I think I had seen this article in the Guardian a couple of years ago, but noted that some historians were keen to explain that the idea of two blokes sharing a bed back then, even if they later talked about how much they liked each other, didn't necessarily mean sexual contact of any kind had taken place. (And, in fact, if it was just one overnight bedsharing visit - a point I'm not entirely clear on - it does seem unlikely.)
Fair enough, but when I Google the topic of Richard, this link comes up. From a Jesuit university. And it notes that the contemporary chronicler Roger of Hovedon wrote, apart from the short passage usually quoted about Richard and Philip sharing a bed and plate and really, really liking each other's company, another story about Richard which seems to directly record that Richard did not have a problem with "illicit intercourse":
In the same year, there came a hermit to king Richard, and, preaching the words of eternal salvation to him, said: "Be thou mindful of the destruction of Sodom, and abstain from what is unlawful; for if thou dost not, a vengeance worthy of God shall overtake thee". The king, however, intent upon the things of this world, and not those that are of God, was not able so readily to withdraw his mind from what was unlawful, unless a revelation should come to him from above or he should behold a sign. For he despised the person of his advisor, not understanding that sometimes the Lord reveals to babes the things that are hidden from the wise; for the lepers announced the good tidings to Samaria [2 Kings 7], and the ass of Balaam recalled its master from the unlawful way. Wherefore, the hermit, leaving the king, went his way, and hid himself from before his face. In the process of time, however, although the before-named king despised the admonitions of the poor hermit, still, by inspiration of Divine grace, he retained some part of his warning in his memory, having faith in the Lord, that He who recalled the publicans and the Canaanitish woman to repentance, in his great mercy would give to him a penitent heart.
Hence it was, that on the Lord's day in Easter when the Lord visited him with a rod of iron, not that he might bruise him, but that he might receive the scourging to his advantage. For on that day the Lord scourged him with a severe attack of illness, so that calling before him religious men, he was not ashamed to confess the guiltiness of his life, and after receiving absolution, took back his wife, whom for along time he had not known, and putting away all illicit intercourse, he remained constant to his wife and the two become one flesh and Lord gave him health of both body and soul…"It's hard to read that any other way, isn't it? Unless one assumes he liked "illicit intercourse" only with women other than his wife. That seems a bit unlikely when the hermit's warning was specifically about sodomy, though. (In fact, had someone close to the king arranged the visit to encourage him to stop embarrassing behaviour, I wonder.)
As I see now from the Wikipedia entry on Richard notes that the "gay" theory only started in 1948, and summarises the situation as follows:
Victorian and Edwardian historians had rarely addressed this question, but in 1948 historian John Harvey challenged what he perceived as "the conspiracy of silence" surrounding Richard's homosexuality. This argument drew primarily on available chronicler accounts of Richard's behaviour, chronicler records of Richard's two public confessions and penitences, and Richard's childless marriage. This material is complicated by accounts of Richard having had at least one illegitimate child (Philip of Cognac), and allegations that Richard had sexual relations with local women during his campaigns.
Leading historians remain divided on the question of Richard's sexuality. Harvey's argument has gained considerable support; However, this view has been disputed by other historians, most notably John Gillingham. Drawing on other chronicler accounts, he argues that Richard was probably heterosexual.
Historian Jean Flori states that contemporary historians quite generally accept that Richard was homosexual. Flori also analysed contemporaneous accounts; he refuted Gillingham's arguments and concluded that Richard's two public confessions and penitences (in 1191 and 1195) must have referred to the "sin of sodomy". Flori cites contemporaneous accounts of Richard taking women by force and concludes that Richard was probably bisexual.
Flori and Gillingham agree that the contemporaneous accounts do not support the allegation that Richard had a homosexual relation with King Philip II of France, as suggested by some modern authors.
Well, I found it interesting, anyway.