Friday, September 4, 2009

Friday Mieography

Bonjour Mimi! This one is all your fault :)

Alienor was the eldest of the children sired by William X, Duke of Aquitaine, and his wife, Aenor de Chatellerault.( Her parents had an arranged marriage, as was the usual of that era. What made it a little more interesting, is that William was the son of Aenor's mother's lover... ah, the twists and turns).
Alienor was named for her mother, alia Aenor means "the other Aenor, in latin.
Her father ensured she had the best possible education. Besides speaking her native language (Poitevin), she also could read and speak in Latin, and was knowledgeable of music and literature, and also taught riding, hawking, and hunting.
When she was eight, her mother, and brother died, leaving her the heir to her fathers domains. The Duchy of Aqutaine was the largest, and richest provence in France, at that time. She had one other legitimate sibling, her sister Aelith (Petronilla). Her father had two by-blows, William and Joscelin, who were acknowledged, but not his heirs. When she was fifteen, her father died, and she became the Duchess of Aquitaine, and the most eligible heiress in Europe. Her father, realizing that this would eventually happen, and put her in danger, had appointed King Louis VI as her guardian. Until the King found her a husband, he had the legal right to Alienor's lands.
The king, "Louis the Fat", was ill himself, with dysentery. He remained clear headed, though, and was pleased that the best duchy in France was now under his control. He decided to marry his son, Prince Louis (who, sadly, had been bound for monastic life, until his brother died, making him his fathers heir) to Alienor. This increased his power in France nicely.
They were married, with the understanding that the oldest son would be bth the King of Franks, AND the Duke of Aquitaine. Her holdings would not be merged with France until then. A few days after the wedding, her father in law died, and she became the Queen of France.
She was not, even from the beginning, well liked. She was high spirited, educated, and the church elders especially did not care for her. The King loved her madly, though, and granted her every whim.
Inevitably, conflict arose. Conflict turned to war, and if I tried to go into all that, we'd be here for centuries. (Go read the book). Alienor continued her strong ways, went on a Crusade, got into trouble, pissed her husband off to the point where he imprisoned her (on more than one occasion). She also did things like developing trade agreements between Constantinople, and other Holy Land ports. Her marriage fell apart, and was eventually annulled. Not before the Pope tried to reconcile them, however. He even had a special bed made for them. The only thing that stayed legitimate about their marriage was their two daughters. The annulment was granted, based on the fact that Alienor and Louis were third cousins
Once she was freed, two lords tried to kidnap her, to claim her lands. (remember, they did not go to France, she had no sons). In fear, she sent for help from Henry, Count of Anjou, Duke of Normandy. Requesting he come at once, and marry her. Six weeks after her annulment, he did. She was twelve years older than her young groom. He was also her third cousin. Strangely enough, she had once sought to marry her first daughter, Marie, to Henry, and it was refused because of the cousin relationship.
Henry went on to become King of the English, thereby, making her a Queen, again. Over the next thirteen years, she bore five sons, and three daughters. The marriage was very tumultuous, and Henry had a reputation of being a philanderer. His mistresses frequently had children that were within months of his legitimate offspring. Alienor seemed indifferent, even taking in some of the by-blows, and raising them. She did, however, at least once, leave her husband with the intent of separation. She developed, for a time, her own court, in Poitiers. Henry was concentrating more on controlling his large empire, and tried, also, to control Aquitaine. She was not amused with his methods of doing so, especially the murder of Archbishop Thomas Becket. (once again, the political intrigue would take me DAYS. read the book!)
She ended up imprisoned, yet again. (Boy her husbands had to work hard to 'control' her. HA!). This caused much estrangement between her, and her sons. She did not see them often. Henry eventually died, Richard became his heir, and released her from her prison. She ended up ruling England in her son's name, while he was off on a Crusade. She eventually had to negotiate his eventual ransom. She outlived her son, the king, and lived long enough to enjoy the reign of her youngest son, John. She did much in her later years, and after she died, she was buried next to her husband, and son, (Richard). By that time she had out lived all of her children but two.
This mieography BARELY scratches the surface of this strong willed, wonderful woman. BARELY. It's shameful. Read the book . :)

You can also "like" her, on Facebook, LOL


sybil law said...

Love those kickass, strong willed women!

Daryl said...

OR you can rent the movie Lion in Winter ..

Mimi said...

She rocks! I will read anything (even bad fiction, trust me on this) about her.

I'm off to "like" her on Facebook.