Eleanor of Aquitaine

Eleanor of Aquitaine Part I

Queen of Poitiers

A truly memorable queen, this part of the history of Poitiers spans two counties (England and France) and links two kings (King of France and King of England). The mother of Richard the Lionheart, her Court was in Poitiers, the’Court of Love’ now the Palais du Justice. The Court of chivalry, music, culture and poetry

Queen of France
Eleanor was born in the south of France, most probably in 1122. She was the daughter of William (Guillaume), Duke of Aquitaine. Her upbringing was one of education, culture, philosophy and languages. She was a talented horsewoman and at the age of 15 she inherited vast wealth and lands upon the death of her father. She instantly became the Duchess of Aquitaine and the most eligible woman in Europe!
She was placed in the care of the King of France and betrothed to his son Louis. Married in 1137, she became Queen of France soon after, following the death of the King. Her new home was the draughty and unwecoming Cite Palace in Paris.
Her husband Louis was not blessed with good judgement. He made a number of catastophic military errors leading to the deaths of hundreds of inocent people. Due to this guilt he complied with the Popes demand to enter into the first Crusade. Eleanor went with him. It did not go well! The Crusade was blighted with difficulties, Louis continued to make poor judgements and their marriage struggled. In 1152 their marriage was annuled. They returned to France seperately and their two daughters remained with the king.
Eleanor was about to embark on the next phase of her life.

Vocabulary:

Chivalry: (galanterie) Gallant behaviour, gentlemanly, brave, courteous.
Span: (Couvrir, enjamber) To connect two things, time, people, periods, areas of land.
Upbringing: (Elevement) The things a child is taught whilst they are growing up.
Inherit: (Heriter) Money, land and possessions given to you after a relative dies.
Vast: (Enorme) Huge
Eligible: (Un beau parti) A desirable person to marry due to their postion or wealth.
Betrothed: (Fiance) An old word for engaged to be married. (Rarely used now)
Draughty: (Courant d’air) Movement of air coming into a building.
To be blessed with: To be lucky to have something.
Comply (present)/ Complied (past): (Se soumettre a) To agree to do something someone asks you to do.
Blighted: (Contrecarrer) When bad things happen to make something unsuccessful.
Annulment (n) Annuled (v) : (Annuler) Used in English usually when a marriage is cancelled.
Embark: (Entreprendre) To begin something, a journey or a project.

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