Eleanor of Aquitaine - Famous Figures in History

Eleanor of Aquitaine is considered to be the most powerful woman in Europe in the 12th century.


Eleanor of Aquitaine was also referred to as de Guyenne, d’Aquitaine, French Éléonore or Aliénor or Eleanor of Guyenne. She was born in Anjou, France. Eleanor of Aquitaine was considered to be the most powerful woman in Europe in the 12th century. Eleanor was the heiress of William X and she inherited the duchy of Aquitaine in 1137 when William died. In July 1137, she married Louis VI who became the heir to the throne. Eleanor ended up becoming the queen of France and she held the title for 15 years. Interestingly, she was also the Queen of England between 1154 and 1189. Her two sons, John and Richard, severed as King of England during their tenures. The marriage of Eleanor was annulled due to her inability to produce a male heir. She became the Queen of England when she married Henry I. Eleanor was described as strong-willed, intelligent, and extremely bright. She performed administrative duties and also took part in the government reforms. She made many contributions during the tenure of her second son as king. She retired from public life and later became a nun.

Early Life

Eleanor was born in Southern France. She inherited her father’s wealth at the age of 15. She became the Duchess of Aquitaine and the King of France guided her in her leadership. Eleanor married Louis in the July 1137. Eleanor accepted Paris as her new home and Eleanor and Louis were crowned queen and king of France respectively on the Christmas day of 1137. Louis and Eleanor faced a lot of power struggles during their first years in leadership. The king made many diplomatic and military blunders. These blunders put Louis on the wrong side with the pope and the powerful lords. The conflict among these parties resulted in the massacre of individuals in the town of Vitry. Many victims were forced to take refuge in the church. Louis' troops set aflame the church and as years went down, Louis faced a lot of public criticism. Eleanor and Louis had an annulment in 1152 on the grounds of consanguinity. The king took custody of their two daughters.

Later Life

Eleanor, together with her two sisters, followed their father to Bordeaux in 1137. The archbishop of Bordeaux took care of her two sisters. During her reign as the Queen of France, she was rebuked constantly by church elders. The church elders labeled her as a woman with a bad influence. Eleanor parted ways with King Louis and regained her title of Duchess of Aquitaine and the possession of Aquitaine. Eleanor got married again in May 1152 to Henry Plantagenet, the grandson of Henry II of England. The couple was crowned as the King and Queen of England two years later. Most of the queen’s movements were between England and France. The queen was very instrumental in changing the court of Poitiers into the center of poetry. She was later held to captive when the revolt that she took part in failed. Eleanor passed away on April 1, 1204. She was buried next to her son and husband.


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