Laurence Harmer was the third king of England during the Let's Play: Medieval 2 - Total War campaign. He is generally viewed as a tragic figure in English history, with his sole noteworthy success being that his son grew into England's greatest king. His unofficial title is "the Tragic."
Little is known about Laurence Harmer prior to his adoption into the royal family. He was a soldier serving Prince Rufus during the campaigns to unite Britain, a proven commander and very loyal. He impressed the prince to the point that Rufus adopted him as his own son in 1090, despite Laurence being only seven years his junior. After a year of serving as governor of York, King William the Conqueror died of old age. Rufus ascended to the throne and, in a great upset amongst the royals, named adopted Laurence as his heir. One year after that, Pope Gregory called for a crusade to claim Jerusalem. Prince Laurence, being a deeply religious man, answered the call and England mustered its forces to assemble him an army. Receiving financial support from the Pope himself in 1093, the inspired Prince Laurence gathered his forces and set off on the crusade.
Drueta Kynner was married to the handsome man before he left English soil. She was a valued source of comfort on his arduous journey. France was not happy with the English crusaders crossing their soil and even threatened Rufus with war, although they did not follow through. Travelling further and further inland, Prince Laurence began to regret travelling by foot instead of boat. However, with the support of his wife, the army stayed its course. In 1095, a fellow crusader named Charles Longchamp asked Laurence if he could extend the same courtesy Laurence received and adopt him into the family. Turned off by the man's cruel tactics and with his wife pregnant, Prince Laurence refused the offer. Offended, Charles left the English to seek glory with the nearby Spanish crusaders. In a twist of irony, the Spanish were excommunicated the following year, bringing their crusaders to a halt. The prince paid no heed, as other matters held his attention that year.
Drueta gave birth to their child in Hungary, receiving hospitality in the castle of Sofia. The couple were blessed with a son, who they named Ambrose. Prince Laurence wished for the child to have a proper English upbringing, and when he reached Constantinople in 1097, he hired a ship for Drueta to bring Ambrose to London, where he would be raised by King Rufus himself. Prince Laurence stayed at the city longer than he would have liked, however, as the Byzantine military kept his crusaders from crossing into the Middle East.
Taking a detour past Constantinople, the English crusaders pressed onward. Just as Prince Laurence began to grow lonely, Drueta managed to swiftly return to his side. Their joyful reunion brought about another pregnancy, and in 1100, their daughter Alisone was born. Unwilling to leave his side a second time, Drueta and their daughter remained with the crusader army, despite Prince Laurence's concerns. He quickly came to appreciate their support, however, when the devastating news reached him that Venice had beaten him to the punch, liberating Jerusalem. In this moment of weakness, fellow crusader Harry of Fairford sought to weasel his way into the royal family, but was swiftly rejected.
With Pope Gregory thanking him for his efforts, along with the support of his family, Prince Laurence got the will to forge his own crusader state. He conquered the settlement of Adana in 1101, but while he intended to simply claim it for England, his men vented their many frustrations on the native populace. Over one thousand people died in the ensuing slaughter, much to Prince Laurence's horror. Against all hope, he attempted to rebuild the settlement and forge a proper English crusader state. As it was no easy task, he finally adopted a fellow crusader in 1103, a respectable man named Jasper of Eysham. As time passed, Jasper married a local girl in 1105, who quickly bore him a daughter, Euphemia. Prince Laurence also had another daughter, Sibel, in the following year.
Growing restless with domestic life, Prince Laurence took the majority of his army and marched on Antioch, claiming it in 1107. While the populace was successfully spared this time, they were not appreciate of their European lord. Such was their displeasure with Laurence that he completely lost the settlement in 1108 while conquering Aleppo; Jasper, who was left to maintain order, barely escaped his familly. Reassessing his options, Prince Laurence abandoned Aleppo and conquered the city of Acre as his new base of operations. With renewed access to the sea, he learned that his son Ambrose had come of age and was already causing trouble, usurping London from King Rufus himself. Fortunately, Laurence's adoptive father was good-spirited and, after restoring control of the city, he sent Ambrose to rule over York, Laurence's old charge.
Prince Laurence, being stuck in the Holy Land for so long, began to feel disrespected. In an effort to cheer him up, Jasper claimed the Byzantine fortress of Nicosia on his behalf in 1115. Nicosia reacted even worse than Antioch, the castle town being devastated by violent riots. To make matters worse, the French declared war on England in 1116. After some deliberation, Laurence decide to abandon all his crusader holdings save for Acre, which was placed in Jasper's care, and assemble a fleet to return to Europe. To help maintain order, he approved the construction of a St. John's Minor Chapter House in Acre the following year.
During that same year, in 1117, Prince Laurence boarded the fleet back to England. In an ill omen, the harbour was rocked by a terrible storm, killing several men. Despite this, he pressed onward and set sail in 1118. Two years later, news reached him at sea that King Rufus had died. With the blessing of the new Pope Buenoconsus, Laurence was now King of England. An impromptu crowning took place at sea, though the now King Laurence hoped for a proper ceremony once he returned to England. Naturally, he named his son Ambrose as the new prince. He made no more orders besides his fateful decision in 1121; penned in by Byzantine and Egyptian fleets, King Laurence attempted to break his way through the Byzantine line, declaring war on both them and their Milanese supporters. In the following year, King Laurence received devastating news: Acre had fallen to the Egyptians and Jasper of Eysham was dead. To make matters worse, the Milanese fleet attacked King Laurence's, forcing him to divert his course away from Europe.
King Laurence would have an anticlimactic end in 1123, when he slipped on some wet planking on his ship and cracked his head on the nearby railing. His men, after a period of grieving and with the approval of Laurence's wife and daughters, commended his body to the sea. His son, Ambrose, was crowned King soon afterwards.