ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Crusader Queen: Eleanor of Aquitaine

Updated on March 11, 2016

Eleanor of Aquitaine

Eleanor of Aquitaine
Eleanor of Aquitaine | Source

Queen of Two Nations

Crusader Queen: Eleanor of Aquitaine

Born around 1122 in Bordeux in the Aquitaine region of France, Eleanor grew up the privileged daughter of a duke, enjoying an education that was unheard of for most people at the time, let alone a girl. Her lessons in leadership came from her father, and she regularly joined him on his tours of Aquitaine, securing the region’s borders and overseeing disputes. When her father died when she was fifteen, Eleanor inherited a property larger than France is today.

Lively with sophisticated tastes, Eleanor was soon married to the French king Louis II, but she found married life less than fulfilling. “I thought to have married a king but I find I have wed a monk,” she complained. She was so bored and frustrated with her life that when the Second Crusade began, she jumped at a chance to help—and then enlist! She began by first raising money to finance the journey to the Holy Land and offered her husband thousands of vassals to use as an army, then by convincing Louis to join the crusade and to take her with him. She departed France for Constantinople with 300 warrior women in her retinue.

Unfortunately, the crusade ended in disaster and did nothing to improve Eleanor’s relationship with Louis; the rift was made clear when they returned home in separate ships. Not long afterwards Eleanor asked for a divorce from her husband and Louis granted it, though he kept both of their children. As the twenty-nine year old Eleanor rode away from the palace, she was ambushed by two knights who planned on kidnapping her and forcing her to marry them—Eleanor still owned a huge set of land and anyone who married her would be rich overnight. Luckily, Eleanor was able to out-maneuver them and escape.

Two months following her divorce Eleanor crossed the English Channel to marry King Henry II of England. Ten years younger than she, Henry heavily relied on Eleanor for her ruling experience, but they seemed to have genuine affection for each other; Eleanor joined Henry for fox and quail hunting and would join him on long trips at a moment’s notice, even when heavily pregnant. She had eight more children by Henry, and he often left her to rule in his stead when he was away.

But affection apparently means little when you’re a king, and Henry had many affairs while they were married. Incensed at his philandering, Eleanor moved out and established her own court where women held power. They would have mock trials judging men’s behavior for serving and adoring them—this was the beginning of the chivalrous movement.

Eleanor was a dominating mother, and she sided with two of her sons when they attempted to overthrow King Henry. Henry was outraged and tried to banish her to convent, but Eleanor responded that she just wasn’t suited for religious life. Deciding that she was right, Henry instead imprisoned Eleanor alone in a remote castle, where she stayed for fifteen years until he finally died. She was freed within the hour.

Fifteen years under house arrest hardly broke her stride and Eleanor was soon traveling up and down England, leading armies, introducing financial and legal reforms, and risking her life to maintain peace—in between making political marriages for all of her children and some of her grandchildren. She was trusted by popes, kings and emperors, ruling for sixty-five years until her death, making her one of the oldest people at that time. She died in Fontervarult, Anjou France in 1204, and almost immediately after her death she was portrayed negatively in fiction and history—even Shakespeare portrayed her as a terrifying person. It wouldn’t be until the late 1800s that Eleanor would gain the respect she was due.

Eleanor of Aquitaine works cited:

Women Warriors, by David E. Jones.

Warrior Women, by Robin Cross and Rosalind Miles

Uppity Women of Medieval Times, by Vicki Leon

Eleanor of Aquitaine, by Alison Weir

The Warrior Queens, by Antonia Fraser

Lives of Extraordinary Women, by Kathleen Krull

Richard I pardons his brother Prince John at the behest of their mother, Eleanor of Aquitaine, by James William Edmund Doyle

Richard I pardons his brother Prince John at the behest of their mother, Eleanor of Aquitaine, by James William Edmund Doyle
Richard I pardons his brother Prince John at the behest of their mother, Eleanor of Aquitaine, by James William Edmund Doyle


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)