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Old 12-05-2008, 12:26 PM
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Henry III (1207-1272) and Eleanor of Provence (1223-1291)

Does anyone know anything about Eleanor of Provence the wife of King Henry III.
Are there any books about her or which feature her?
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Old 12-05-2008, 01:08 PM
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She was the second eldest daughter of Ramon Berenguer IV, Count of Provence and Forcalquier, and Beatrice of Savoy.

Her eldest sister Marguerite married Louis IX of France, the third one Sanchia married Richard, Earl of Cornwall (Henry III's brother) and the youngest Beatrice married King Louis' brother Charles I of Sicily. All four sisters, their mother and grandmother (Marguerite de Geneva, fiancee of Philip II of France who was abducted and married by the Count of Savoy) were renowned for their great beauty.

Their father refused to let any of his eldest daughters inherit his lands, to the annoyance of their husbands, and made his youngest daughter Beatrice the heiress to Provence and Forcalquier.

From wiki;
... second daughter, Eleanor, had married King Henry III of England, and his third, Sanchia, had married the wealthy Richard, Earl of Cornwall, brother of King Henry. King Louis IX's marriage to Marguerite had been arranged by his mother, Blanche of Castile, with the hopes that he would inherit Provence and Forcalquier when Berenguer died. Berenguer, however, left everything to Beatrice. James I of Aragon, in the hopes of uniting Provence and Toulouse, had planned to marry Beatrice but when her father died the french court intervened, by getting the Pope to refuse the marriage.

When Berenguer had died on August 19, 1245, Beatrice became one of the most attractive heiresses in medieval Europe. Various suitors had tried to seize her,so her mother, Beatrice of Savoy, placed the younger Beatrice in a safe fortress, secured the trust of its people then went to the Pope for his protection. In Cluny during December 1245, a secret discussion, between Pope Innocent IV, Louis IX of France, his mother Blanche of Castile and his brother Charles of Anjou, took place. It was decided that in return for Louis IX suppourting the Pope militarily, the Pope would allow Beatrice of Provence to marry Charles of Anjou, youngest brother to the french King, however Provence was to never go France outright through Charles. Beatrice of Savoy agreed to the marriage, so Charles along with Philippe of Savoy and five hundred knights, rode to Provence. On their way ,they ran into Raymond of Toulouse, who also had an army on the way to Provence,however, Raymond of Toulouse had been deceived by knights in favour of Charles and for that reason he had brought less men and Charles was able to overpower him. When Charles got to Aix-en-Provence, James I of Aragon, who had been there all along but was not allowed to see Beatrice, had his soldiers surrounding the castle the young Beatrice and her mother were in , there was a brief struggle , but the King of Aragon retreated with dignity. To the young Beatrice, Charles who was described as "an admirable young man" ,was a satisfactory resolution to her problems. The marriage took place in Aix-en-Provence, they had soldiers on guard and the bride was escorted down the aisle by her uncle Thomas of Savoy.
As for Eleanor;
Eleanor seems to have been especially devoted to her eldest son, Edward; when he was deathly ill in 1246, she stayed with him at the abbey at Beaulieu for three weeks, long past the time allowed by monastic rules.[citation needed] It was because of her influence that King Henry granted the duchy of Gascony to Edward in 1249.[citation needed] Her youngest child, Katharine, seems to have had a degenerative disease that rendered her deaf. When she died aged three, both her royal parents suffered overwhelming grief.[citation needed]

She was a confident consort to Henry, but she brought in her retinue a large number of cousins, "the Savoyards," and her influence with the King and her unpopularity with the English barons created friction during Henry's reign.[citation needed] Eleanor was devoted to her husband's cause, stoutly contested Simon de Montfort, raising troops in France for Henry's cause. On July 13, 1263, she was sailing down the Thames on a barge when her barge was attacked by citizens of London. In fear for her life, Eleanor was rescued by Thomas FitzThomas, the mayor of London, and took refuge at the bishop of London's home.

In 1272 Henry died, and her son Edward, 33 years old, became Edward I, King of England. She stayed on in England as Dowager Queen, and raised several of her grandchildren -- Edward's son Henry and daughter Eleanor, and Beatrice's son John. When her grandson Henry died in her care in 1274, Eleanor mourned him and his heart was buried at the priory at Guildford she founded in his memory. Eleanor retired to a convent but remained in touch with her son and her sister, Marguerite.

Eleanor died in 1291 in Amesbury, England.
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Old 08-19-2009, 08:19 AM
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This book:
Four Queens: The Provencal Sisters Who Ruled Europe by Nancy Goldstone
chronicles the lives of Eleanor and her three sisters. I just finished it. It was interesting.
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Old 10-26-2009, 10:51 PM
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I read an excerpt from a biography of Eleanor where the author wrote that Eleanor hated the English winters. This is unsurprising because the climate in Provence is Mediterranean. However, she was beloved by her husband, the more so because at the age of 16 Eleanor bore the heir to the throne and followed this with four other children. Henry lavished gifts on Eleanor and it appears that both were devout Catholics, supporting abbeys and monasteries throughout England. They named their first son after Edward the Confessor.
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Old 10-27-2009, 03:27 PM
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Just some more interesting tidbits on Eleanor of Provence

She was intimately involved in Henry's battles. These included excursions to France to fight for the Continental lands the French and English had been squabbling about for decades. At home, Henry and Eleanor had rebellious barons to contend with. When Henry was captured by his own barons and forced to agree to their terms for reforms, Eleanor went to France and raised a formidable army to free her husband. But her invasion fleet was wrecked before it reached England. Her son Edward (later Edward I), as combative as his mother, fought off the rebels and rescued his father.

After Henry died in 1272 Eleanor became Queen Dowager, but she never gave up her active role in promoting the royal family's interests. Only after fourteen years did she take off her crown and don the veil at the nunnery of Amesbury. There she lived a quiet, pious life until her death in 1291.

Queen Eleanor of Provence was beautiful, resourceful, clever-and unpopular. Her foreign airs and entanglements, her influence on her husband and her imperious manner could not endear her to the English. The chronicler summed up her contradictory qualities after her death: "the generous and devout virago."
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Old 10-27-2009, 09:44 PM
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thedittybopper,

Thanks for the interesting information. Eleanor was certainly an interesting historical figure and came from a distinguished family.
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Old 10-28-2009, 03:07 PM
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Your most welcome Vasillisos Markos, I agree, Eleanor is very intriguing. All three of her sisters became Queens which in itself is most unusual.
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Old 10-28-2009, 09:03 PM
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I have never heard of Eleanor of Provence.....I have only heard of Eleanor of Aquitiane.

But I will definitely chek out the book. The four sisters sould like they led an amazing life.
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Old 10-28-2009, 10:11 PM
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Hi,

It must have been hard for Edward I in 1291, having his mother die, and after losing his wife, Eleanor of Castille in 1290.
Probably his mother's death may have been expected; but his wife's was a severe blow to him.

Larry
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Old 10-29-2009, 12:42 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vecchiolarry View Post
Hi,

It must have been hard for Edward I in 1291, having his mother die, and after losing his wife, Eleanor of Castille in 1290.
Probably his mother's death may have been expected; but his wife's was a severe blow to him.

Larry
I just finished reading Four Queens by Nancy Gladstone. It didn't seem like Edward would have been as sad about his mother's death. Eleanor of Provence was devoted to her son, but after he became king, her influence slowly waned. When Eleanor of Castile died, Edward had elaborate funeral processions and the built the Eleanor crosses, modeled after the memorial to his uncle Louis IX of France. Furthermore, Edward had his wife buried in a prime spot in Westminster Abbey, next to his father Henry III, a spot intended for the Queen Mother. Eleanor of Provence realized that there would not be much funds left for her funeral. She died in June 1291 and wasn't buried until September (and in a small abbey!!!) because Edward was too busy to tend to the matter.
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Old 11-01-2009, 08:39 AM
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EmpressRouge the book sounds very interesting, is it new or has it been out for a while ?
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Old 11-01-2009, 09:53 AM
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Originally Posted by thedittybopper View Post
EmpressRouge the book sounds very interesting, is it new or has it been out for a while ?
It came out in 2007. Amazon has the paperback at bargain price. I checked it out from my local library.
Amazon.com: Four Queens: The Provencal Sisters Who Ruled Europe: Nancy Goldstone: Books
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Old 11-01-2009, 10:10 AM
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Thankyou so much I look foward to reading it :)
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Old 09-29-2013, 01:43 PM
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I'm reading a book now that says Eleanor was the most hated Queen of England. I don't know if this statement takes into account all the Queens or just the ones before Eleanor.
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Old 12-02-2013, 03:51 PM
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A Captive King: Henry III between the battles of Lewes and Evesham, 1264-5

A Captive King: Henry III between the battles of Lewes and Evesham, 1264-5
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Old 03-27-2014, 04:23 PM
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A gift of leopards to King Henry III established the Royal Menagerie at the Tower of London in 1235.
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