Eleanor of Aquitaine Facts

Eleanor of Aquitaine Facts
Eleanor of Aquitaine was one of the most important women of the European Middle Ages. In addition to being the Duchess of Aquitaine, France, Eleanor was also for a time the Queen Consort of England and France. Eleanor is known for patronizing the arts, especially royal performers, and for supporting the Crusades. She was also the mother of Richard I, King of England (ruled 1189-1199), who is remembered as one of England's more able medieval kings and who earned the nickname Richard the Lion Heart. Eleanor was born in 1122 or 1124 in western France to William X, Duke of Aquitaine and A√©nor of Ch√Ętellerault and was a member of the royal Ramnulfid dynasty, or House of Poitiers. Eleanor first married Louis VII, the King of France, in 1137, which extended the Kingdom of France into southern France. The marriage, though, was annulled in 1152 when Eleanor produced no male heirs. Eleanor then married Henry II of England that year, gave him plenty of male heirs, and connected Aquitaine to England for several centuries.
Interesting Eleanor of Aquitaine Facts:
Eleanor's parents died when she was young as well as her brother, which made her the sole heir to the throne of Aquitaine.
Aquitaine is in southwestern France. Bordeaux is its largest city.
Eleanor was given a classical education by her father and she was often much more opinionated then most women, even courtly women, of the period.
Raymond, the prince of the Crusader kingdom of Antioch, was Eleanor's uncle and a major influence on her decision to visit the Holy Land in the Second Crusade.
Louis and Eleanor returned to France from the Second Crusade on two separate ships. They both narrowly escaped attacks and wrecks.
The annulment of Louis' and Eleanor's marriage was actually somewhat mutual. The pope attempted to coerce the couple to reconcile and Eleanor did give birth to their second child, but it was a girl. They both then pursued the annulment on the grounds of consanguinity - they were third cousins once removed, which although normally accepted at the time, was a legitimate reason for an annulment.
Despite the relation to Louis, Eleanor was also related to her next husband, Henry: they were third cousins. The marriage made her the Queen of England.
Henry and Eleanor had eight children - five sons and three daughters. Three of her sons - Henry, Richard, and John - would rule as kings of England.
Eleanor supported her son Henry during the Revolt of 1173-1174. He fled to France be proclaimed himself king while his father was still on the throne in England.
After Henry II and his forces put down his son's revolt, blame was put on Eleanor and her inner circle. Eleanor was imprisoned from 1173-1189 when her husband died.
Eleanor ruled England as regent while King Richard was fighting in the Third Crusade from 1190 to 1194.
Eleanor died in 1204 at the age of eighty or eighty-two, having outlived many of her children. She was interred with her husband and Richard in the French duchy of Anjou.


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