This Queen Was One of the Most Powerful Figures in Medieval History
Who: Eleanor of Aquitaine, duchess of Aquitaine, Queen of France and England, and one of the most powerful and wealthy women of the Middle Ages; 1122–April 1, 1204
Why She Dazzles: She was the OG queen. Eleanor wasn’t a queen just once; she was a queen twice! 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 sought-after heiress in Europe. During her first marriage, she insisted on taking part in the Crusades and even recruited other ladies to join her. As 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. Her second husband, King Henry II, imprisoned her for 16 years until his death. Upon her release she played a vital role in England both as the Queen Mother and as the ruler of the kingdom when her son, the reigning king, left to fight in 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.”
What the Ladies Rocked Then: Crosses were prevalent during the Crusades, as were necklace chains with pendants. Gold was the main material used for jewelry making, a craft in the constant process of refinement at the time. Jewelry was a symbol of social status and privilege, so Eleanor of Aquitaine rocked the gems.
How You Can Rock It Now: During the Middle Ages, gemstones represented different elements: rubies = fire, sapphires = air, emeralds = earth, and diamonds = water. Pearls were a symbol of purity and chastity, and a symbol of wealth.
Shop the Sparkle: Royal Strength
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