Queen Eleanor by Frederick Sandys, 1858 (National Museum Cardiff)
Eleanor of Aquitaine is the stuff of legend. First queen to go on a Crusade, supposedly dressed as an Amazon, Queen of the Courts of Love, and royal prisoner who made grand appearances at Christmas courts. Tudor and Renaissance scholar Carol Ann Lloyd-Stanger considers the ways the legends have grown from the real life of the woman who managed to become Queen Consort of England and France in the Middle Ages.
Meet Eleanor as a young woman, wealthy and one of the most sought-after brides in Europe. Trace her marriage to the young King Louis VII of France and explore the reality of her joining him on that famous Crusade. Then, consider how she ended that marriage and arranged to wed the heir to the English throne, further increasing her power and influence. See how that influence extended to her sons, even while she was shuttled from prison to prison at the command of her husband, Henry II. Finally, learn how after her husband’s death she shaped the reigns of two of England’s most famous kings: Richard the Lionheart and King John.
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