Eleanor of Aquitaine
In an age when men were considered to be superior to women, Eleanor of Aquitaine proved that conclusion wrong by becoming one the greatest queens ever known in history, first as the Queen of France and later as the Queen of England. But many queens during the medieval ages were not able to accomplish what Eleanor did in her lifetime. How did Eleanor become such a powerful queen during the period in which she lived.
Eleanor was the eldest of three offspring of William X, the Duke of Aquitaine and Count of Poitiers (also one of the first Troubadours poets) and Eleanor Chatelleraul de Rochefourcaulb. As a child, Eleanor was educated in subjects girls were not supposed to learn. For example, she learned how to read and was educated in Latin, and she learned to ride a horse at a very young age. Her only brother died as a child, thus making Eleanor their father's heir. When Eleanor was 15 years old, William died and Eleanor became the Duchess of Aquitaine. She married Louis VII, the future king of France , a few months later.
Once Louis became the King of France, he needed a son for his heir. Unfortunately, Eleanor only gave birth to two daughters. Marie was born before the second Crusade, and Alisa was born after the Crusade. When Louis decided the “take the Cross” and join the second Crusade, Eleanor contributed military forces for that cause. She also decided to follow Louis and brought three hundred of the closest ladies with her. They were even fashionably dressed in battle attire, but none of them actually fought. The Church frowned upon her idea of joining the Crusade and at a time when no women if any status would challenge the Church or would even think about joining a battle on any kind, Eleanor showed the world how powerful and rich she was by bringing not only a few on her ladies with her but three hundred of them, and neither her husband or the Church was unable to stop her.
During the Crusade, Louis and Eleanor met up with her uncle Raymond, who happened to be very handsome and better looking than Louis. Louis then began to notice Eleanor was growing closer to Raymond and decided to take Eleanor away so that the relationship would not develop into a love affair. Louis then decided to travel to Jerusalem and capture the Holy Land . Raymond disagreed with Louis and wanted to re-capture Edessa . Eleanor sided with Raymond. She refused to leave with Louis and threatened to divorce Louis who then took her by force. The trip to Jerusalem was a failure. After returning to France , Eleanor found a way to divorce Louis by announcing to the Church that her marriage to Louis could not be legal in the eyes of God since they were cousins. The marriage was annulled in 1152. Following medieval custom, all of Eleanor's property was then returned to her.
Eleanor did not allow her failed marriage with Louis to hold her back. She always had her eyes on the future, shown by the way she was able to escape a bad...