Eleanor of Aquitaine

Portrait of Eleanor of Aquitaine

Who: Eleanor of Aquitaine, duchess of Aquitaine; Queen of France and England; one of the most powerful and wealthy women of the Middle Ages

Why She Dazzles: She was the OG queen. Eleanor wasn’t a queen just one time; she was a queen two times! She became the Queen of France from 1137-1152 after her marriage to Louis VII. When her first marriage ended, she married Henry of Ajou who soon thereafter became King of England. As the Queen of England from 1154-1189, she outlived King Henry II and became a legit Queen Mother to several kings. You’ve heard of Richard the Lionheart and John I.

Why You Need to Know Her Today: Eleanor was a pillar of strength among men when men ruled the world. At 15, she inherited her father’s title and property when he passed away and she quickly became the most eligible woman in Europe. During her first marriage, she insisted on taking part in the Crusades and even recruited other ladies to join her. Despite two separations from her husbands, she was one of the most important royal figures in medieval history. She propelled the growth of the arts and ensured her children were powerful and well off. King Henry II imprisoned her for 15 years until his death, and upon her release, she became a vital role of England both as the Queen Mother and as the ruler of the kingdom when her son, the reigning king, left to fight the Third Crusade. Insert muscle emoji.

What She Would Say—Because She Said It Then: “Trees are not known by their leaves, nor even by their blossoms, but by their fruits.”

Picture of Alegra Crystal Leaf Halo and Sash
Eleanor introduced traditions from Aquitaine into English fashion.

What She Would Wear to a Chateau or a Castle Tonight: It doesn’t matter if Eleanor is in France (chateau) or England (castle) because she would wear a sparkling, crystal-studded headpiece, particularly one similar to this Allegra piece as a sentiment to the natural beauty of her homeland of Aquitaine. Eleanor was one of the richest women of her time and she collected an abundance of flashy jewels and precious stones.

Picture of Disney Princess postcard box
Eleanor traveled thousands of miles with her family during her 82 years, and her offspring became queens, kings, emperors, and archbishops.

What She Would Send to Her Friend: Postcards from her many adventures at home and abroad. In fact, when her son, King Richard the Lionheart, was imprisoned during the Third Crusade, it was Eleanor who raised his ransom and safely returned him home. Leave it to a woman to save a prince.

Picture of Château de Beynac near Beynac, France
Eleanor’s beloved son, Richard the Lionheart, conquered the Château de Beynac in Aquitaine, which remains one of the best preserved castles in the region and offers panoramic views.

Where She Would Instagram: Aquitaine, a former region in France that is now part of the new region of Nouvelle-Aquitaine. In the Middle Ages, it was its own kingdom and duchy that later went to France and England from Eleanor’s unification to the kings. Her marriage to Henry VII created an Anglo-French empire that stretched from Scotland to the Pyrenees in the south of France. Bordeaux is the largest city in the region so a lot of wine is produced here. Cheers!

Tweet This: Eleanor of Aquitaine is the only woman to be the Queen of France and the Queen of England #anewlady

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