Eleanor Stewart – Archduchess of Austria

(public domain)

Eleanor of Scotland (Stewart) was born in 1433 as the daughter of James I of Scotland and Joan Beaufort. She spent the better part of her childhood at Linlithgow, but in 1445 she and her sister Joan were invited to France by her sister Isabella who had married Francis I, Duke of Brittany in 1442. They arrived in August of 1445, just a few days after their sister Margaret, Dauphine of France, died at Châlons-sur-Marne.

Eleanor would spend the next three years at the French court of Charles VII, under the charge of Jeanne de Tucé. Her father wished her to marry her sister’s widower, the Dauphin but in 1447 Charles’s received an offer of marriage from Sigismund, Archduke of Austria. Charles agreed to the match, and Eleanor married Sigismund by proxy on 8 September 1448. We don’t know much about the early years of Eleanor’s marriage. In the mid-1450s she was appointed regent when her husband was out of the country. She had her own seals and was actively involved in raising money, guns and soldiers.  She enjoyed travelling and hunting. In 1465 she visited several warm springs. The portrait above is not contemporary but rather a 16th-century heraldic representation. Eleanor and Sigismund had no children.

Her correspondence was conducted in German, Latin, French and Scots, so she was clearly literate in several languages. Her household accounts contain purchases for books, but also the copying and binding of books.

Eleanor translated Pontus und Sidonia from French to German for “the pleasure of her Prince and Lord Sigismund”, but it was only published three years after her death. Eleanor died on 20 November 1480 and was buried at Stams Abbey.1

  1. Women in Scotland. Edited by Elizabeth Ewan and Maureen M Meikle

About Moniek Bloks 2763 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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