Richard was born to William Longsword, princeps (chieftain or ruler) of Normandy, and Sprota. His mother was a Breton concubine captured in war and bound to William by a more danico marriage. He was also the grandson of the famous Rollo. William was told of the birth of a son after the battle with Riouf and other Viking rebels, but his existence was kept secret until a few years later when William Longsword first met his son Richard. After kissing the boy and declaring him his heir, William sent Richard to be raised in Bayeux. Richard was about ten years old when his father was killed on 17 December 942. After William was killed, Sprota became the wife of Esperleng, a wealthy miller. Rodulf of Ivry was their son and Richard's half-brother.