Ariadne Asleep on the Island of Naxos, John Vanderlyn, c. 1814, oil on canvas
“There are a lot of really intelligent teenage girls and boys who are unique and don’t just listen to and dress like Britney Spears, and who don’t just want to fuck the hot guy.”
Queens of England + Eleanor of Aquitaine (1124-1204)
Eleanor was born in 1122 or 1124, the eldest child of William X, Duke of Aquitaine and Aenor de Châtellerault. By all accounts, her father ensured that Eleanor had the best possible education. She was taught to read and speak Latin, was well versed in music and literature, and was schooled in riding, hawking, and hunting. In 1130, her mother and brother William Aigret died, making Eleanor the heir presumptive to her father’s domains.
William died in 1137 and Eleanor became the Duchess of Aquitaine aged between 12 and 15. Shortly thereafter her guardian, Louis VI of France, married her to his son Prince Louis, the future Louis VII. Both were enthroned as Duke and Duchess of Aquitaine but her land would remain independent of France until her eldest son became King of the Franks and Duke of Aquitaine. Soon after they were invested Louis VI died, and Louis and Eleanor were anointed King and Queen of the Franks on Christmas of that year.
By 1152 Louis and Eleanor only had two daughters, Marie and Alix. In consideration of this they agreed to an annulment of their marriage. Their daughters were declared legitimate and stayed in the custody of Louis while Eleanor’s lands were restored to her. Traveling to Poitiers after the annulment, Theobald V, Count of Blois, and Geoffrey, Count of Nantes (brother of Henry, Duke of Normandy) tried to kidnap and marry her for her lands. When she arrived in Poitiers, Eleanor sent envoys to Henry asking him to come at once to marry her. They were married in May 1152 without the pomp and circumstance that befitted their rank.
In October 1154, Henry became King of England. Eleanor was crowned Queen of England in December the same year. Over the next thirteen years she bore Henry five sons and three daughters. They had a tumultuous marriage and Henry was not faithful. In 1167 the two agreed to a separation and Henry escorted Eleanor to her city of Poitiers after Christmas that year. When her protective custodian Earl Patrick was killed and Eleanor captured and ransomed his nephew, she was left in control of her lands.
In 1173, Eleanor’s son Henry the Young King revolted against his father. With Eleanor’s help he convinced his brothers to help him and she herself may have encouraged lords to rise up and support them. Eleanor was arrested when she left Poitiers in 1174 and sent to the king. For the next sixteen years Henry imprisoned her in various locations. She did not often get to see her sons and was only released for special occasions such as Christmas.
When Henry II died in 1189, Richard ascended the throne and one of his first acts as king was to release Eleanor. She served as regent when Richard went off on the Third Crusade. She survived his reign and lived well into John’s. She died in 1204 and was buried in Fontevraud Abbey next to her husband and son Richard. (x)
HISTORY MEME | nine kings/queens: eleanor of aquitaine"Ever since she was thirteen years old, Eleanor had stood at the heart of European politics. For a decade and a half she had been Queen of France; for two decades more she had been Queen of England. Throughout, she had cherished her rights and responsibilities as Duchess of Aquitaine […]
Always a political creature, she had begun as a charismatically unpredictable force of instinct and will - qualities which the trials of her long incarceration had tempered with a sophisticated diplomatic sense and what came to be the surest of political touches. The woman whose rebellion against her own husband had once threatened, it seemed, to overturn the natural order of creation in time had become the mother of the English kingdom, and the watchful guardian of her beloved Aquitaine.” - Helen Castor, She-Wolves: The Women Who Ruled England Before Elizabeth
[ outofthedream; Wow, okay. So. I’m without power until at least 10pm. I can’t promise to be on mobile as I am at half battery but this is going to suck so I’m going to get FroYo or something. ]