Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Eleanor of Aquitaine

Hmmm I don't really feel like stopping yet, let's take a look at Eleanor of Aquitaine, shall we? She was the daughter and oldest child of William X, Duke of Aquitaine and his wife, Aenor de Chatellerault. Aenor was the daughter of daughter of Aimeric I, Viscount of Ch√Ętellerault, and Dangereuse, William IX's longtime mistress as well as Eleanor's maternal grandmother. Dangereuse and her paternal grandfather, the Troubadour arranged the marriage of Eleanor's parents. In 1130, when Eleanor was eight, her brother and her mother died, leaving Eleanor as her father's heir.

When Eleanor was fifteen, her father entrusted his daughters to the Archbishop of Bordeaux and left on a pilgrimage, which he died during. Eleanor was now the Duchess of Aquitaine and the most eligible woman in Europe. William X's will appointed Louis VI of France as her guardian to protect her. When the news of William's death reached him, Louis decided that Eleanor would wed his heir. They wed on July 25, 1137 in Bordeaux. Louis was madly in love with his wife and granted her every whim. However, the couple grew apart and in 1152 after the birth of two daughters and no sons, their marriage was dissolved. The reason was consanguinity within the fourth degree, as they were third cousins. Their daughters were declared legitimate and Louis was given custody.

Six weeks after the dissolution of her marriage to Louis, Eleanor married Henry, Count of Anjou and Duke of Normandy. She was twelve years older than her new husband and they were more closely related than her and Louis. With their marriage, Eleanor became Duchess of the Normans and Countess of the Angevins, and Henry became Duke of Aquitaine and Count of Poitiers. In 1154, Henry became the King of England and Eleanor its queen. Their marriage was tumultuous to say the least and Henry had several illegitimate children. By the end of 1166, their marriage was permanently strained and it appears that a separation was agreed upon and she removed to Poitiers soon after.

In 1173, Eleanor and Henry's son, the younger Henry launched a revolt against his father. Eleanor ended up imprisoned by her husband for 16 years for her role in the revolt. Henry II died in 1189 and Eleanor was released by her custodians. Richard became king upon Henry's death and Eleanor ruled as his regent until he could get to England and then while he was on crusade. Eleanor outlived Richard and survived well into her son King John's reign. When she died in 1204, she had outlived all but King John and her daughter Eleanor, Queen of Castile.

Eleanor had ten children. With Louis - Marie, Countess of Champagne. She married Henry I Count of Champagne and had issue. Alix, Countess of Blois, married Theobald V Count of Blois and had issue. With Henry --William IX Count of Poitiers who never married and had no issue. Henry the Young King who married Margaret of France but had no surviving issue. Matilda Duchess of Saxony who married Henry the Lion Duke of Saxony and had issue. Richard I of England who married Berengaria of Navarre and had one illegitimate son. Geoffrey II Duke of Brittany who married Constance Duchess of Brittany and had issue. Eleanor Queen of Castile who maried Alfonso VIII of Castile and had issue. Joan Queen of Sicily who first married William II of Sicily then wed Raymond VI of Toulouse and she had issue. And finally John of England who first married Isabella Countess of Gloucester and then wed Isabella Countess of Angouleme and he had issue.

She might not have been the nicest woman in the world, but doesn't it look like Eleanor led a fascinating life? Now...on to Matilda of Scotland!

No comments:

Post a Comment