Thursday, February 16, 2012

Eleanor of Aquitaine

Original image from

  • Duchess of Aquitaine in her own right.
  • Married King Louis VII of France and joined him on the Second Crusade in 1145. It is said that she, and her ladies in waiting, rode bare-breasted amongst the men to encourage them to join the crusade. She may have had an affair with her uncle, Raymond of Poitiers, while on crusade.
  • Had her marriage to Louis VII annulled.
  • Then married Henry Plantagenet, who was 9 years her junior and eventually became King Henry II of England.
  • She was the mother of King Richard the Lionheart and Prince John (from Robin Hood fame).
  • She encouraged her favourite son, Richard, to revolt against his father. The revolt failed and Eleanor was imprisoned by Henry for 16 years. She obtained her freedom once her husband was dead and Richard inherited the throne.
  • She reigned as regent while Richard was on Crusade, and lived to see her son John crowned as King after Richard’s death.
  •  At the age of 77 she travelled from England to Castile (in Spain) to arrange a marriage. During the journey she was ambushed and held captive for a while, before securing her own release.
  • She ended her days in a nunnery.

This post is part of my "Well behaved women rarely make history" series.

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