Eleanor of Aquitaine – Twice a Queen (Part one)

Glenn Close as Eleanor in The Lion in Winter (2003)(Screenshot/Fair Use)

Written by Taylor.

Eleanor of Aquitaine was born either in 1122 or 1124 in the duchy of Aquitaine (which is now a part of France). She was the eldest daughter of Duke William X of Aquitaine and Aenor of Chatellerault. Eleanor had a younger sister named Petronilla and a younger brother named William who died young. Her womanizing and flamboyant grandfather Duke William IX was one of the first troubadours of the region.

Despite losing her mother and brother at a very young age, Eleanor had a happy childhood. She grew up in a very sophisticated and well-cultured court. She travelled with her father all the time. Unlike her female royal counterparts, Eleanor had the right to inherit property and rule over the property she owned. Also, unlike her female royal counterparts, Eleanor received some formal education. She was taught to read in her native tongue Occitan or langue d’oc. Eleanor also enjoyed poetry, literature, and music. She was also taught horse riding at a very young age as well.

Duke William X of Aquitaine’s death in 1137 made Eleanor one of the wealthiest heiresses in medieval Europe. She and her sister Petronilla were placed under the guardianship of the  King Louis VI of France (who also served as Duke William X’s overlord). Recognizing that the duchy of Aquitaine was now vulnerable, Louis declared that his heir, also named Louis, should marry Eleanor. A few months later, Louis and Eleanor were married in Bordeaux. After the death of Louis VI a week earlier, Louis (now King Louis VII) and Eleanor were crowned in Poitiers.

From the start, Louis and Eleanor were not a match-made-in-heaven couple, and Eleanor didn’t feel comfortable in her new ruling domain.1

Read part two here.

Read part three here.

  1. Sources:
    Castor, Helen. She-Wolves: The Women Who Ruled England Before Elizabeth. Harper Perennial, 2011.

    Weir, Alison. Eleanor of Aquitaine: A Life. Ballantine Books, 2001.

About Moniek Bloks 2743 Articles
My name is Moniek and I am from the Netherlands. I began this website in 2013 because I wanted to share these women's amazing stories.

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