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-   -   Henry II (1133-1189) and Eleanor of Aquitaine (1122-1204) (https://www.theroyalforums.com/forums/f165/henry-ii-1133-1189-and-eleanor-of-aquitaine-1122-1204-a-15915.html)

Velasco 12-02-2008 07:54 PM

I think she is fascinating because she was the richest woman of her time, and ruled over a principality larger than the lands of the King of France. She was Duchess of Aquitaine and Gascony and was overlord over much of southern and central France, all the way down to the Pyrenees.

She was married to the Dauphin Louis, who was to inherit the title of King of France, at that time a pretty empty honour since the King of Frane was the weakest of all French princes, ruling over a tiny principality stretching from Paris to Orleans and the surroundings, and bullied by his much more powerful subjects (Aquitaine, Blois, Champagne, Brittany, Anjou, Normandy).

During her marriage, she had an affair with Geoffrey "Plantagenet", Count of Anjou and Maine, who was married to the insufferable Empress Matilda. For those of you who don't know, her future husband Henry was the eldest of Geoffrey and Matilda's three sons:whistling:

Her marriage to Henry was a big scandal and huge risk at the time - not only because it happened so soon after the end of her first marriage, but because of her prior affair with his father and the secrecy of it, neither of them requested the King of France's permission which was necessary since he was their overlord.

If I'm not mistaken, there had previously been negotiations for a betrothal and future marriage between Henry and one of her daughters, but it had not been permitted because of the fact that they were related in the forbidden degrees (at the time, the Roman Catholic church did not allow marriages up to the fourth degree). Her marriage to Louis was also annulled on the premise that they were related in the forbidden degrees. So she had alot of cheek to marry Henry, and also she majorly paid Louis back for years of unhappy marriage by marrying his most powerful vassal and chief enemy.

And to show how they really did like to keep things in the family, just before her marriage to Henry, when she was riding south for the marriage, one of his brothers (can't remember which one) apparently tried to ambush her, desiring to abduct and rape/marry her, which was something that every heiress ran the risk of back in those days. My memory is shady, but I think that Theobald, Count of Champagne, who later married one of her daughters, also tried to abduct and marry her.

To add insult to injury, she got pregnant soon after her marriage and gave Henry a whole bunch of sons :biggrin: Having only given Louis two daughters in many years of marriage (which was terrible, since he had married her to get his hands on her huge inheritance ,but with no sons, her inheritance would pass to her daughters and thus outside of the French royal house).

Her eldest son, Henry, had a special distinction for being the only British royal heir to be crowned King during his father's lifetime, to ensure succession, etc. It was a French custom and I believe she was the one responsible for introducing it to England. Unfortunately Henry "the Young King" was a complete pain in the ass; he married Louis' daughter (by another wife) and generally annoyed both of his parents until he died.

Two of her other sons, Richard and John, became Kings of England. Another son, Geoffrey, ruled the semi-independent principality of Brittany in France. Her daughter Eleonor became Queen of Castille and was meant to become Duchess of Gascony in her own right (yes, all of Gascony was promised as her dowry but it was never paid).

I only wish that John had married Alice de Maurienne, the heiress of Savoy and Piemont. Her father, Count Humbert, had no sons, only daughters; Alice was sent to King Henry's court to be raised and in time marry John "Lackland" (who had no inheritance), with the intention that John should eventually inheriy Savoy and Piemonte and thus extend the Angevin Empire across the Alps. Unfortunately, she died before the marriage could take place; if I'm not mistaken there were rumours that his father had taken her as a mistress also.

Imagine that...if John had gone off to rule Savoy and Piemonte, then King Richard would either have had to make his bastard son, Philip of Cognac, his heir, or recognise his nephew, Arthur, Duke of Brittany, as the heir to the throne. A dynasty called Cognac would have been interesting. But my real desire would be for an even greater Angevin empire than the historical one, encompassing all of England, parts of Ireland, Normandy, Anjou-Maine, Brittany, Aquitaine and Gascony. Without a doubt the feisty and ambitious young Arthur would have made one hell of a King, crushed the French and established the Angevin dynasty (and thus, England) as the leading power in western Europe during the Middle Ages, especially with his uncle ruling rather sizeable lands of Savoy and Piemonte, poised perfectly to make a two-pronged attack into the French royal demesne. And also controlling important passage from Italy and central/eastern Europe into south France (the Angevin Empire).

*sighs*

Amy 12-03-2008 07:10 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Velasco (Post 862095)
During her marriage, she had an affair with Geoffrey "Plantagenet", Count of Anjou and Maine, who was married to the insufferable Empress Matilda. For those of you who don't know, her future husband Henry was the eldest of Geoffrey and Matilda's three sons:whistling:

If I'm not mistaken, there had previously been negotiations for a betrothal and future marriage between Henry and one of her daughters

There is no evidence to suggest that an affair actually took place, other rumours like this seem to be the medieval version of tabloid gossip stirred up by the people who were none too fond of Eleanor.

The marriage was proposed by Geoffrey between Henry and Marie, in the hope that all or part of Aquitaine would be provided as Marie's dowry.

Velasco 12-03-2008 09:27 AM

Hmm....I will try and look up, I have a bio on her but its been a while since I read it.
Will post interesting excerpts when I have the time :D

One thing that is definitely fact, and not rumour, is that Eleanor's son Richard and Louis' son Philip Augustus were very good friends for a while, so much so, that they shared a bed.
Considering their parents were all cousins and their mother and father had once been married, and they had two half-sisters in common...
And to add to that, Philip Augustus' sister was betrothed (ie, promised to marry in future) to Richard, so they were also brothers-in-law-to-be, but the poor princess was kept from Richard by his father King Henry II, who made her his mistress (to widespsread shock and the dismay of his wife, Eleanor) and had at least one child by her.

Worse than the Habsburgs, these lot!

shakhim 12-03-2008 09:31 AM

she got richard as a baby and in british history got richard as a king of england that was henry his father .

Velasco 12-03-2008 10:13 AM

Shakhim, I don't quite understand your post...what do you mean?
--------------------------------------------------------------

From "Eleanor of Aquitaine, By the Wrath of God, Queen of England" by Alison Weir; from the end of page 53 to the start of page 55.
Suger was still concerned about the risk of Louis leaving his kingdom without a male heir, and both he and the King were perturbed by the ambition of Count Geoffrey of Anjou. In 1144, after a three-year campaign, Geoffrey had conquered Normandy, and Louis, as its overlord, had confirmed him as its duke. Geoffrey was politically astute. Five years earlier, his wife Matilda had unsuccessfully prosecuted her claim to the English throne, which had been usurped by her cousin, Stephen of Blois. Geoffrey had not embroiled himself in that war, since his ambitions were focused on the continent, and he now sought to extend his influence to France itself; he had been appointed seneschal of Poitou by Louis. He therefore proposed to the King that his son Henry, then aged thirteen, marry Louis' infant daughter Marie. The Salic Law prevented Marie's accession, but it is possible that Geoffrey felt himself powerful enough to circumvent th the event of the King dying whilst on crusade. Although Henry of Anjou was undoubtedly a suitable match for his daughter, Louis prevaricated. Then Geoffrey began to put pressure on him.

While Louis was considering the proposal, Bernard of Clairvaux got to hear of it, and wrote at once to the King to express his disapproval:
I have heard that the Count of Anjou is pressing to bind you under oath respecting the proposed marriage between his son and your daughter. This is something not merely inadvisable but also unlawful, because apart from other reasons, it is barred by the impediment of consanguinity. I have learned on trustworthy evidence that the mothers of the Queen and this boy are related in the third degree. Have nothing whatsoever to do with the matter.
Armed with Bernard's letter, Louis turned down Geoffrey's proposal, and the matter was dropped.

It was lated asserted by Giraldus Cambrensis, in his De Principis Instructione, that 'Count Geoffrey of Anjou, when he was Seneschal of France [sic], had carnally known Queen Eleanor' and that the Count later confesses this to his son. It is not known exactly when Geoffrey was seneschal of Poitou (not of France, as Giraldus asserts), but it was probably during the years before the crusade; his tenure of the office appears to have ceased some time before 1151. He was an extremely handsome man trapped in a tempestous marriage, and several bastards testified to his extra-marital affairs.

After Louis confirmed him as Duke of Normandy, Geoffrey was on friendly terms with the King, but their relations may have cooled when Geoffrey declined to accompany the crusade in order to protect his own interests in Normandy. As Geoffrey's half-brother Baldwin as King of Jerusalem, Louis may have felt that the Count was ducking both his spiritual and familial obligations.

Giraldus claimed that he had heard about Eleanor's adultery with Geoffrey from the saintly Bishop Hugh of Lincoln, who had learned of it from Henry II of England, Geoffrey's son and Eleanor's second husband. Eleanor was estranged from Henry at the time Giraldus was writing, and the King was trying to secure an anullment of their marriage from the Pope. It would have been to his advantage to decalre her an adulterous wife who had had carnal relations with his father, for that in itself would have rendered their marriage incestous and would have provided prima-facie grounds for its dissolution. Indeed, the grounds on which Henry sought an anullment were shrouded in secrecy, which may in itself have been significant. It seems likely that he alleged consanguinity, which could have embraced either his genetic affinity with Eleanor or her possible affair with his father. The incestous nature of such a connection would alone have ensured confidentiality.

It is unlikely that Henry would have lied about the affair to the respected Bishop Hugh, who would surely have protested at being named as the source for such a calumny if it were untrue.

It has beeen stated, with some truth, that at the time he was writing, Giraldus was antagonistic towards Henry II for blocking his election to the See of St David's; his text is hostile and sometimes scathing. Even so, it is hardly likely that he would have written something so prejudicial to the King's honour and the legitimacy of his heirs without reliable evidence. It is true that Giraldus did not like or approve of Eleanor, but it is also fair to say that he must have had some grounds for his disapproval, very probably Eleanor's own conduct.

On balance, therefore, it seems likely that she did indeed have an affair with Count Geoffrey, whcih they managed to keep secret from Louis and the rest of the world. It probably happened on impulse and was of brief duration, and it may have flourished during one of the Queen's visits to Poitou, possibly the one she made in the autumn of 1146. By then, it is likely that she may have been having doubts about the validity of her marriage.

After Giraldus wrote his account, discretion appears to have been maintained. Walter Map, a trusted royal secretary, justice and confidant, would say only the Queen ' was secretly reputed to have shared the couch of Louis with Geoffrey'. It was for this reason that Map and others believed the offspring of Henry and Eleanor were 'tainted at the source'. How, Giraldus asked, could happy issue stem from such a union?"

Vasillisos Markos 09-20-2009 10:35 PM

Consider that Eleanor lived to her eighties and continued to travel great distances. What a fascinating woman! She went on a crusade, disposed of one husband after producing two daughters, married another much younger man, produced several sons and daughters, and then outlived all but two of her children. She was Queen of both France and England and perhaps the single greatest landholder in her own right at that time.

Eleanor overcame great obstacles, including imprisonment by her husband, to see her beloved son Richard take the throne, then she ruled in his stead while he was off on a crusade. What has always amazed me is, despite her prominence in both France and England and her longevity, why are there only two representations of her? A tapestry and her tomb effigy are all that serve to show how Eleanor might have appeared.

Russophile 09-23-2009 07:33 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Vasillisos Markos (Post 994213)
What has always amazed me is, despite her prominence in both France and England and her longevity, why are there only two representations of her? A tapestry and her tomb effigy are all that serve to show how Eleanor might have appeared.

Possibly because she WAS a woman. And a very capable one as well. Probably freaked the crap outta the men folks so they thought it better to let sleeping dogs lie and not give women folk any radical ideas. . . .:biggrin:

Vasillisos Markos 09-27-2009 11:28 AM

You may be right. Several years ago I visited the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago when it put on an exhibit dedicated to Cleopatra. One section was devoted to how the world perceived her, from her contemporaries down through the ages to Hollywood's treatment on screen and television. One opinion which sticks with me was the view by several historians that she was demonized and vilified by Rome in order to justify their conquest of Egypt as well as to denigrate her merely because she was a woman.

Russophile 09-30-2009 07:30 PM

Indeed! She was fluent in what? 7 languages? Held her country together, worshipped with them and gave them pagentry, not unlike Eleanor. And they villify them. Shame, really.

Melisende 04-26-2010 08:18 AM

Re: Cleopatra being demonised by later historians:
As was Hatshepshut - no images of her though she was one of Egypt's most remarkable rulers.

Quote:

"Giraldus claimed that he had heard about Eleanor's adultery with Geoffrey from the saintly Bishop Hugh of Lincoln, who had learned of it from Henry II of England, Geoffrey's son and Eleanor's second husband. Eleanor was estranged from Henry at the time Giraldus was writing, and the King was trying to secure an anullment of their marriage from the Pope. It would have been to his advantage to decalre her an adulterous wife who had had carnal relations with his father, for that in itself would have rendered their marriage incestous and would have provided prima-facie grounds for its dissolution. Indeed, the grounds on which Henry sought an anullment were shrouded in secrecy, which may in itself have been significant. It seems likely that he alleged consanguinity, which could have embraced either his genetic affinity with Eleanor or her possible affair with his father. The incestous nature of such a connection would alone have ensured confidentiality."


I think that alone lends some sort of suspicion to Giraldus' comments - there was something to gain from the accusation being uttered. Had there have been some truth in the matter, I think Henry would seriously have reconsidered his marriage to Eleanor from the beginning. And consanguinity is such a feeble "out" - the laws of consanguinity were ignored when convenient and adopted when prudent.

Iluvbertie 04-26-2010 05:22 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Melisende (Post 1073768)
Re: Cleopatra being demonised by later historians:
As was Hatshepshut - no images of her though she was one of Egypt's most remarkable rulers.

With Hatshepshut of course a lot of the demonisation was started by her own son when he succeeded her.

Melibea 04-26-2010 05:26 PM

^^
She didn't have any sons, only daughters, it was a son of her husband

Lumutqueen 04-26-2010 05:57 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Melibea (Post 1074016)
^^
She didn't have any sons, only daughters, it was a son of her husband

Are we talking about Cleopatra or Eleanor?
Cleopatra had a son named Ptolemy Caesar who was Caesar's son, and later twins with Mark Anthony, a boy and a girl.

And Eleanor of Aquitaine had 5 sons, all by Henry II.

or someone else perhaps?

Dierna23 04-26-2010 06:01 PM

:previous:

They were talking about Hatshepsut I think. Hatshepsut had only one daughter, Neferure.

Melibea 04-26-2010 06:04 PM

^^
You're correct

Iluvbertie 04-26-2010 07:37 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Melibea (Post 1074016)
^^
She didn't have any sons, only daughters, it was a son of her husband


I stand correct - it was of course her successor.

EleanorOfAquitaine 07-08-2010 05:17 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Ithil (Post 738032)
I totally agree that Eleanor of Aquitaine was a very amazing and fascinating woman!

I also agree. I really adore Eleanor.

Are there still any other Eleanor fans here?

I am new here, today i discovered this forum when i searched in the web about Eleanor.
It is very difficult, to find other Eleanor Fans in the world wide web, because she had no own forum.
So i hope to find here others who really like her.

But i dont like King Henry II becauce he cheated her with other womens, and then he prisoned her, because she fight for her sons.
And i dont understand, why Henry thread his wonderful woman so bad.
She must be very strong zu hold on 16 long years of prisoning.

Russophile 07-09-2010 03:17 PM

she was tough! That is for sure! I have the boring book by Amy what's-her-face and have not done justice to the Fair Eleanor however I admire the woman for her pluck! Don't think that Henry DIDN'T think Eleanor couldn't raise an army and kick his sorry arse off the throne. HA! :biggrin:

Lumutqueen 07-09-2010 03:18 PM

I just love her name to be honest.
She seems like a wonderful woman.

EleanorOfAquitaine 07-10-2010 04:59 AM

@Russophile @Lumutqueen

Oh great, i am not the only one here who admires Eleanor:biggrin:

I want to make a forum about her. Do you want to register when its ready?
I think a great tough woman like her must have an own forum.

My meaning is, that Henry had really feared her strenght, thats the reason why he prisoned her.


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