Aliénor d’Aquitaine
Aliénor d’Aquitaine

Eleanor of Aquitaine

(1124 - 1204)

A woman of character and power, the destiny of Eleanor of Aquitaine was exceptional in many ways: two royal marriages, a tumultuous family history, numerous maternities and a longevity that was unusual for the time.

Granddaughter of William IX of Aquitaine, a troubadour prince, and daughter of William X, Duke of Aquitaine, she grew up surrounded by scholars and poets. Eleanor learned very early to give orders and not to receive them in order to govern in a world of men. When her father died in 1137, she inherited the duchy of Aquitaine, which made her a very coveted party. The same year, she became queen of France by marrying Louis VII. But in 1152, the king of France asked the pope to annul his marriage to Eleanor, arguing that she had not given him a male heir. A few months later, she married Henry Plantagenet, Count of Anjou, Duke of Normandy and future King of England.

In thirteen years, she gave eight children to Henry II, three girls and five boys, including Richard the Lionheart and John Lackland. The couple appeared very united during this period, but from 1170, this relationship deteriorated. In 1173, Eleanor was removed from power for having joined the revolt of her sons against their father. First detained in Chinon, she was then placed under house arrest in England. She only regained her freedom and a major political role once she was widowed (in 1189).

In 1204, she died at the abbey of Fontevraud at the age of eighty ; her tomb can still be seen there next to that of her husband.