Eleanor of Aquitaine was an interesting and prominent woman in England during the 12th century.
Her life has inspired plays, movies, and artwork. If you don’t know her story, here it is.
Eleanor was born in France in 1122. Her father, William X, Duke of Aquitaine, educated her in various subjects. When her father died, she inherited his title at 15. This also made her one of the most eligible bachelorettes in Europe and one of the wealthiest women in all of Europe too. She was also known for her beauty, and a lot of documentation describes how beautiful she was.
Eleanor was placed under the guardianship of King Louis VI of France and quickly wed his son, Louis, in 1137 and lived in the Cîté Palace in Paris. That same year, Louis and Eleanor became the king and queen of France.
Their marriage was conflicted, as not long into their rule, they had to deal with intense political conflict. Eleanor even joined Louis on a crusade in 1145, but their marriage was eventually annulled in 1152.
Then, only two months after her annulment, Eleanor married Henry, Count of Anjou and Duke of Normandy. Fast forward two years, and they were crowned the king and queen of England. That’s right, within years, Eleanor was the queen of two different countries.
Eleanor and Henry had eight children between 1152 and 1166, then split one year later. When they separated, Eleanor went to live on her own land in Poitiers, France.
There, Eleanor had a court known as the Court of Love, which influenced art, literature, and poetry. She attracted artists and writers, introducing the ideas of chivalry to the court, although some scholars believe the Court of Love did not exist.
Then, in 1173, Eleanor was imprisoned for treason after she was expected to be involved in her son Henry’s plan to go against her estranged husband and take over the English throne. She was imprisoned in several locations in England for 16 years.