2nd Wife of King Richard II: Isabella of Valois

Isabella of Valois, was born on the 9th November 1389, to parents King Charles VI of France and Queen Isabeau of Bavaria, at the Louvre in Paris.

King Richard II of England, lost his first wife “Anne of Bohemia” to the plague in June of 1394.

Charles VI of France, desperately wanted to prevent any alliance between England and Spain, which could result in an end to peace between England and France.  Furthermore the Duke of Burgundy wanted to see a continuation of trading with England.  To this end, it was essential that Richard II should marry a French princess.

On the 31st October 1396, King Richard II of England, accepted into his care, his child bride; Isabella of Valois, at a ceremony held at St.Omer in France.

In November of 1396, the couple were married at the Church of St.Nicholas in Calais.  On the 3rd January 1397, Isabella spent the night in the Tower of London and on the 4th rode through the streets of London, where she met Richard at Westminster.  On the 5th January was crowned Queen at her coronation.

Following the coronation, she went to Windsor, to receive her royal education.

Isabella, a child Queen had no political influence, and as such came under the care of the Duchess Eleanor de Bohun and Duchess Katherine Swynford and her French governess Margaret de Courcy.

In February of 1397, Richard and Isabella went on pilgrimage to Canterbury and spent Christmas at Litchfield, and attended the opening of Parliament in January of 1398 at Shrewsbury.

Political trouble was brewing for Richard.  He had the Duke of Gloucester executed, for plotting against him, in an attempt to seize the throne.  Upon returning from Ireland, having put down a rebellion, he found Henry Bolingbroke was leading an insurrection against him… he had no alternative but to exile him from English lands.

Henry Bolingbroke had no intention in staying in exile, so when Richard was back in Ireland, he returned to England and raised an army of thousands of troops.

Edward the Duke of York, who had been appointed by Richard to look after England in his absence, had a choice, Richard or Bolingbroke, he chose Bolingbroke.

Richard was apprehended and escorted to Flint Castle, where Bolingbroke had him arrested on his return to England.

Richard was forced to abdicate and Parliament declared Richard deposed.  Henry Bolingbroke was crowned King Henry IV on the 13th October 1399 at Westminster.

Richard was believed to have been murdered in February of 1400 at Pontefract Castle.  A requiem was held at St.Paul’s Cathedral in London, out of respect.

Isabella had now become England’s prisoner.

King Henry IV proposed that Isabella should marry his heir, Henry of Monmouth, the Prince of Wales.  The proposition was rejected, time and time again by Isabella.

In May of 1401, a treaty was signed at Leulinghem, whereby King Henry IV would return Isabella to France along with her jewels… Isabella was returned, minus her jewels, for they had been retained to swell England’s royal treasury.

The Earl of Worcester delivered her to the Count of St.Pol at Calais on the 21st July 1401.

In May of 1406, Isabella married Charles of Orleans, son of Duke Louis of Orleans.  When Louis was murdered in the November of 1407, Charles became the new Duke.

On the 14th September 1409, Isabella gave birth to a daughter; Jeanne.  A few hours later Isabella died and was buried at the Chapel of the Abbey of St.Laumer in Blois.

In 1624, her remains were moved to the Orleans Chapel, Celestines Church in Paris.

1st Wife of King Richard II: Anne of Bohemia

Anne of Bohemia was born on the 11th May 1366 in Prague, to parents; Charles IV, Holy Roman Emperor and King of Bohemia, and Elizabeth of Pomerania, she being the daughter of Bogislaw V, Duke of Pomerania and Elisabeth of Poland.

Pope Urban VI approved the alliance, the marriange of Richard and Anne, noting that he might have a stronger hand to play in negotiations with the French.

Anne was the daughter, of Europe’s most powerful monarch at the time, ruler of half of Europe’s population and territory.  A useful father-in-law for Richard II, one might say.

Anne’s marriage to Richard came about when Michael de la Pole, Earl of Suffolk, and his former tutor proposed the said joining of hands.  It was at a time when Christendom had two rival popes.

Anne’s brother, King Wenceslas supported pope Urban VI in Rome, who also had England’s support, whilst the French preferred Pope Clement who lived in Avignon.

Anne had not been the first choice of bride chosen by English nobility or Parliamentary members, for she brought no dowry with her.  Richard had to pay her brother Wenceslas 20,000 florins, for her hand in marriage.

On the plus side, English merchants were permitted to trade with Bohemian lands and the Holy Roman Empire.

In the December of 1381, Anne of Bohemia landed at Dover and travelled to Canterbury, to be received by Thomas, Duke of Gloucester and Richard’s uncle.  She continued onto Blackheath, to be greeted by the Lord-mayor of London.

On the 20th January 1382, King Richard II of England married Anne of Bohemia at Westminster Abbey.  On the 22nd January Anne was crowned Queen.

In 1383, Anne of Bohemia, visited the city of Norwich, visiting the Great Hospital where 252 black eagles were displayed on the ceiling, in her honour.

Anne became a popular Queen in England, as the years passed by, described as intelligent with an inquiring mind, renowned for her love of reading.  Referred to as Good Queen Anne, she was liked by the poor for her acts of kindness and generosity.

Anne often interceded, begging on her knees to her husband, procuring pardons for those who had done wrong.

She became well known through the land, with her pleas of mercy, on behalf of the condemned.  She persuaded Richard to pardon many of the participants who took part in the Peasants Revolt.

Anne’s intercession saved the life of John Northampton, former Mayor of London in 1384, committed the offender to life in prison rather than the gallows.

In 1388, Anne confronted the barons of the Merciless Parliament.  Five of the King’s closest advisors were arrested, and Richard objected to a panel of judges.  The judges came out on the side of the King.  Parliament arrested the judges and sentenced them to death.  Anne’s pleas for their lives saw them exiled to Ireland.

Simon Burley, Richard’s tutor, mentor and friend was accused of treason.  He being a father figure to Richard and Anne.  Parliament decreed he should be hung, drawn and quartered, a barbaric death sentence.

Anne fell to her knees and wept.  Richard could not get the barons to commute the sentence to life in prison, but changed the means of death, to one of beheading.

Anne and Richard, from historical evidence, were truly in love.  Anne was an ideal consort, not stepping over the line, but generally complying with Richard’s decisions, and endeavouring to make him happy.

Of all the palaces and castles, Sheen Palace on the Thames, some seven miles from Westminster, was their favourite venue.

On the 7th June 1394, tragedy struck Richard, when his wife of twelve years; Anne of Bohemia died of the plague at Sheen Palace.  A twelve year love affair came to an end.

Richard was so distraught following Anne’s death, he had Sheen Palace torn down and destroyed.

Richard commissioned a double tomb for the woman who had supported him… So they could be together even in death.

King Richard II abdicated his throne in the September of 1399, on the condition his life be spared.  His cousin became Henry IV.

Richard lived out his remaining years at Pontefract Castle, until his death on the 14th February 1400.  King Henry V had Richard’s remains moved from King’s Langley in Buckinghamshire, and placed beside Anne in 1413, in the elaborate tomb Richard had prepared for them at Westminster Abbey.

Wife of King Edward III: Philippa of Hainault

Philippa of Hainault was born on the 24th June 1314 in Valenciennes, in the county of Hainaut.  She was the daughter of William III, Count of Holland and Hainaut, and Joan Valois, grand-daughter of Philip III of France.

King Edward II of England, desired an alliance with Flanders, by way of marriage to his eldest son and heir, Prince Edward to one of Count William of Hainauts daughter’s.

Bishop Stapledon of Exeter, acted as ambassador for Edward II, to determine which daughter would be most suitable as a bride for his son.

In the summer of 1326, Queen Isabella and Prince Edward attended Hainault Court.  Isabella sought assistance to depose the current King Edward her husband, in return for the couple’s betrothal.  Once dispensation had been granted for the marriage of cousins (both great-grandchildren of Philip III of France through their mothers).

In the December of 1327, Philippa arrived in England, with her escort, her uncle; John of Hainaut.  On the 23rd December she reached London, to a rousing reception of cheers.

On the 24th January 1328, Philippa of Hainault married King Edward III at York Minster Cathedral.

Philippa and Edward’s Children:

Edward of Woodstock, Prince of Wales (The Black Prince) – (1330-1376) married Joan Plantagenet the Countess of Kent.

Isabella (1332-1382) married Enguerrand de Coucy, Seigneur de Coucy, Earl of Bedford.

Princess Joan of England (1335-1348).

Prince William of Hatfield (1337-1337).

Lionel of Antwerp, Duke of Clarence (1338-1368) married (1) Elizabeth de Burgh, Countess of Ulster (2) Violante Visconti.

John of Gaunt (1340-1399) married (1) Blanche Plantagenet (2) Constance of Castille (3) Katherine Swynford.

Edmund of Langley (1341-1402) married (1) Isabella of Castille (2) Joan of Holland.

Princess Blanche Plantagenet (1342-1342).

Princess Mary Plantagenet (1334-1362) married John V, Duke of Brittany.

Margaret Plantagenet (1346-1361) married John Hastings, Earl of Pembroke.

Thomas of Woodstock (1335-1397) married Eleanor de Bohun.

Thomas of Windsor (1347-1348)

William of Windsor (1348-1348)

Edward was not ruler of England at the time of his marriage, for his mother Queen Dowager Isabella and her lover Roger Mortimer, 1st Earl of March, acted jointly as regents, until Edward came of age.

In October of 1330, King Edward staged a coup, ordering the arrest of Isabella and Mortimer, and taking control of his kingdom.

Roger Mortimer was tried for treason, found guilty and beheaded at Tyburn.  Isabella was sent to Berkhamsted Castle, and then placed under house arrest at Windsor Castle until 1332.  Finally she was moved to Castle Rising in Norfolk, where she would spend the remainder of her life.

Philippa served as England’s regent during Richard’s absence in 1346, when King David planned an attack on England.

Philippa proved a worthy Queen, gathering English forces near Newcastle.  She put courage into her troops, riding out upon a white charger, (much like Joan of Arc would have done).

The English troops and longbow archers served their Queen well, with victory over the Scots.

In 1369, Edward visited Philippa at her deathbed, asking if she had any final wish.  She only wanted one thing, that they both be buried side by side in Westminster Abbey.

Philippa of Hainault died from Black Death on the 15th August 1369 at Windsor Castle.  She was buried at Westminster Abbey, following a state funeral on the 29th January 1370.

When she died, Edward never really recovered; his reason for living had gone.  Edward and England mourned the passing of their Queen.

In 1377, King Edward III died, and he fulfilled Philippa’s dying wish, and was buried next to his beloved Queen.

Wife of King Edward II: Isabella of France

Isabella Capet was born to parents King Philip IV of France, and Jeanne of Navarre in 1295.  She was one of seven children, and three of her brothers reigned as Kings of France; Charles IV, Louis X and Philip V.

In the “Treaty of Montreuil” of June 1299, her future marriage was arranged, between Prince Edward, the son and heir of King Edward I of England.  It was a political marriage, designed to bring an end to war’s over England’s territories in France.

Isabella aged thirteen; married Edward II aged twenty-four in Boulogne on the 25th January 1308, and were crowned King and Queen of England on the 25th February 1308.

On the 13th November 1312, Edward, the future Edward III was born.

By the 1320’s, Isabella and Edward’s dislike toward’s each other had scaled to new heights.  Edward would spend more and more time, with Pier Gaveston, in what was referred to, as having a homosexual affair, than he would with his own wife.

In the March of 1325, Isabella went to France to see her brother; King Charles IV.  Her intended mission was to put an end to land disputes between England and France.  An agreement was made, that England could have Gascony and Ponthieu provided Edward attended the King’s court in Paris and paid homage to him.

It was at this time; Isabella met Roger Mortimer, an escapee from the Tower of London, who whisked her off her feet… she fell in love with him.

In the September of 1325, Edward listened to advice from his advisors, the Despenser’s, that he should not go to France, but send his son; Prince Edward.  Prince Edward, prior to leaving for France on the 12th September, received the title of “Count of Ponthieu.”

On the 21st September 1325, Prince Edward paid homage to King Charles IV of France, and in return Charles IV bestowed upon him, the title of Duke of Aquitaine.

With her son, Prince Edward, safe by her side, Isabella began setting the scene of removing her husband Edward II, from his position as King of England.

In November 1325, the English Parliament sent a petition for Isabella to return to England… she refused, which incurred the annoyance of her brother; Charles.

Isabella left France and attended the court of her brother; William II, the Count of Hainault, who assisted her, with her plans to invade England.  In return Prince Edward, now the Duke of Aquitaine and Count of Ponthieu, would marry his daughter; Philippa.

In 1326, England prepared for an invasion of their lands, which had been financed partly by money advanced from Philippa’s dowry.

On the 24th September 1326, Isabella and her loyal supporters, landed at Orwell in Suffolk.  Isabella’s army advanced on London seeking out Edward, but he left the safety of the Tower of London, with the Despensers and the Earl of Winchester.

Isabella was welcomed upon entering Bristol, in the October.  The Earl of Winchester, who resided in the castle, surrendered and was executed on the 27th October 1326, as a traitor.

King Edward II, was captured at the “Abbey of Neath” in Wales, and imprisoned in Berkeley Castle.  The Despensers were captured, put on trial, and Hugh le Despenser was executed as a traitor.

Prince Edward was crowned as King of England on the 29th January 1327, after his father; Edward II renounced his throne in favour of his son; Edward III.

Isabella of France, mother of King Edward III, and her lover Roger Mortimer, acted as Regents to the young King, until he became of age to rule.

In 1330, Edward III took control of his duties, as King of England.  Roger Mortimer was arrested on the charge of treason, and executed on the 29th November.

King Edward III imprisoned his mother, Isabella of France at Castle Rising, where she lived out her remaining years, until she died on the 22nd August 1358.

She haunts this castle, her final resting place…

1st Wife of King Edward I: Eleanor of Castile

Eleanor of Castile, was born in 1241, and was one of five children of Ferdinand III, the King of Castile and Joan of Dammartin, Countess of Ponthieu.

On the 1st November 1254, aged thirteen she married Edward aged fifteen, son of King Henry III of England.

In 1272, upon the death of King Henry III, Edward was crowned King Edward I of England, along with his wife; Queen Eleanor of Castile.

In 1272, Edward led his army to the Holy Land in the ninth crusade, accompanied by his Queen.  Where he went, she went, they were inseparable.

At Haifa, Edward was stabbed with a poisoned dagger, and Eleanor saved his life by sucking out the poison from his wound … putting her own life at risk.

On the 13th August 1277, Edward and Eleanor laid the foundation stone, for the Cistercian Abbey of Vale Royal in Cheshire.

On the 25th April 1284, Edward, the future King of England was born at Caernarvon Castle.

In the autumn of 1290, Eleanor was taken ill at the Palace of Clipstone in Sherwood Forest.  Queen Eleanor of Castile, beloved wife of King Edward I, died on the 28th November at Harby, near Lincoln.

Eleanor wished her heart to go to Black Friars in London, her body embalmed at St.Catherine’s Priory in Lincoln.  She was buried in Westminster Abbey on the 17th December 1290.  Her tomb consisted of a marble chest, with carved mouldings and shields, surmounted by a gilt bronze effigy by William Torel.

Crosses were erected at each location where her body rested overnight between Lincoln and her final resting place … Westminster Abbey.

Wife of King Henry III: Eleanor of Provence

Eleanor of Provence was born in 1223, at Aix-en-Provence to parents Raymond Berenguer IV, Count of Provence and Beatrice of Savoy.

On the 14th January 1236, Eleanor aged twelve; married King Henry III aged twenty-eight at Canterbury Cathedral.

Eleanor was accompanied by her relatives, and Henry gave them influential positions in his government, which made her unpopular with England’s barons, its people, who didn’t trust foreigners.

On the 17th June 1239, her son Edward the future Edward I was born.

Henry an ambitious but ineffective King, lacked willpower.  Eleanor made up for it, showing herself to be self-confident in exercising her power.

When Henry was captured by his own barons, and forced into agreeing terms of reforms, she called upon France for assistance, raising an army to free him … it may have been a failure, but proved her heart was in the right place.

Her son came to the rescue, fought off the rebels and released his father from captivity.

In 1272, Henry died, and her son Edward became King Edward I of England, and she became Queen Dowager.  She assisted in the raising of her grandchildren, but when Henry her grandson died in her care in 1274, she founded Guildford Priory in his name.

In 1286, Eleanor took of her crown and donned the veil of a nun, living a quiet life, until she died on the 24th June 1291 at Amesbury Convent.

Queen Eleanor of Provence was buried in the Abbey of St.Mary and St.Melor in Amesbury on the 9th December 1291.  Her heart was buried at a Franciscan Priory in London.

2nd Wife of King John: Isabella of Angouleme

Isabella of Angouleme was born in 1188 to parents Aymer Taillefer, Count of Angouleme and Alice of Courtenay, sister of Peter II of Courtenay, Emperor of Constantinople and grand-daughter of King Louis VI of France.

Isabella was betrothed to Hugh de Lusignan, Count of LaMarche, but King John of England snatched the twelve year old Isabella, from under his nose.  They were married on the 24th August 1200 at Bordeaux, and on the 9th October she was crowned Queen of England, at Westminster Abbey.

King Philip II of France confiscated John’s lands in France, for such an unprincipled act, and the de Lusigan family rebelled against him.

There were political reasons, which led John to marry Isabella of Angouleme, it stopped a union between the houses of Angouleme and Lusignan, for it posed a serious threat to his dominance in the region.  John’s actions offended Hugh de Lusignan, who appealed for justice through Philip Augustus, who declared he had forfeited all his territories, except Gascony.

John had no choice, but to invade Normandy.  Following a long siege in 1203, the Chateau Gaillard, Richard the Lionheart’s castle fell to the French.  By 1204, Normandy, Maine, Anjou, Touraine, plus parts of Poitou, were also in French hands.  John was forced to flee France and the lands of his father.

Isabella became the Countess of Angouleme on the 16th June 1202.  On the 1st October 1207, she gave birth to a son and heir; Henry at Winchester Castle.  Richard was born on the 5th January 1209, Joan on the 22nd July 1210, Isabel in 1214 and Eleanor in 1215.

King John died on the 18th October 1216 at Newark, and was succeeded by his son Henry, aged nine.

King Henry III was crowned King of England at his Coronation on the 28th October 1216 at the Abbey Church of Gloucester.

King John’s will, did not allow Isabella to become one of Henry’s executors, and she found herself excluded from the Regency council and England’s politics.

In 1217, Isabella escorted her daughter Joan, to her bridegroom in Angouleme, but in an extraordinary turn of events, Isabella became the bride to Hugh de Lusignan, to whom Isabella had been betrothed to in her youth, but snatched by King John and they were married in 1220.

Joan was kept in France, until Henry’s government acknowledged her claim to certain Poitevin estates as part of her original dower settlement from John.  In the latter part of 1220, Joan was returned to England, without her claim being settled.

By September of 1221, Isabella’s English dower lands had been confiscated by England’s government, later returned and re-confiscated, when she supported the French invasion of Poitou.

Isabella had nine children by Hugh de Lusignan.  In 1241 Isabella was summoned to appear before the French court with her husband, to swear allegiance to Alphonse, brother of King Louis IX, who had been invested as Count of Poitou.

Hugh de Lusignan and Isabella played off England and France’s King’s against each other, offering support to one, then the other.

In 1244, two French royal cooks attempted to poison the King of France, and confessed of being in the pay of Isabella.  Isabella fled to Fontevrault Abbey, a refuge from trials, where she remained until her death on the 31st May 1246, and was buried in the Abbey’s churchyard, as an act of repentance for her sins.

Her husband Hugh de Lusignan died in 1249 on crusade in the Holy Land, and many of their children left France, undertaking positions in the court of Henry III.

By order of King Henry III of England, Isabella was moved inside the Abbey, and interred beside Henry II and Eleanor of Aquitaine.

1st Wife of King John: Isabella of Gloucester

Isabella, the Countess of Gloucester was born in 1173, to parents, William Fitz Robert, the 2nd Earl of Gloucester and his wife Hawise de Beaumont.  Hawise was the daughter of the Earl of Leicester, which made Isabella, the niece of the Earl of Leicester.

King Henry II sought the wealth of the Earl of Gloucester.  In 1176, an agreement was forged between the Earl and King, whereby John would inherit Gloucester’s wealth in return for marrying Isabella, making her a future Queen.

Henry also declared Isabella be made the sole heir to the Gloucester estate, disinheriting her two sisters; Mabel and Alice.

Medieval women were often treated as property to be used as a negotiating tool, as was the case in many marriages.

The Earl of Gloucester died in 1183, and John became heir in waiting to the Gloucester estate.  In 1189 King Henry II died, and Prince Richard (Richard the Lionheart) was crowned King of England.

Prince John realised, should Richard die without an heir, he would become King.  He realised he needed an heir.  On the 29th August 1189, he married Isabella of Gloucester at Marlborough Castle.

Isabella and John’s grandfather was King Henry I, and as such a dispensation was required from the Vatican.  Baldwin of Ford, Archbishop of Canterbury objected to the marriage on the grounds they be related.  When the Archbishop died, a papal legate declared the marriage legal.  Pope Clement III granted a dispensation to marry, but sexual relations were forbidden.

With Richard in the Holy Land, Prince John attempted to divorce Isabella in 1193, but this was thwarted by King Richard and his mother.

In 1199 King Richard died and Prince John became King John of England.  It didn’t take him long, he divorced Isabella on the grounds it was an illegal marriage.

Isabella was divorced from John, but she was not free of him, for he wanted to keep control over her.  He made her his ward, thus maintaining total control of all her property.

King John humiliated Isabella, making her chaperone to his new Queen.  In a final act of humiliation he sold her like a common slave for 20,000 marks to the Earl of Essex, and they were married on the 20th January 1214.

The Earl of Essex and Isabella of Gloucester had both been badly treated by King John.  His actions of riding rough shod over their land and property, brought the barons to take action against John.  The Baron’s rebellion, led to the Magna Carta and humiliation for John.

Isabella’s husband, the Earl of Essex died in 1216, and she married Hubert de Burgh in September of 1217, recently appointed “Chief Justiciar of England.”  Shortly after her marriage, she died on the 14th October 1217, and was buried in Canterbury Cathedral.

Wife of Richard I: Berengaria of Navarre

Berengaria of Navarre, the daughter of Sancho VI, King of Navarre and Sancha of Castille was born in 1165. 

Eleanor of Aquitaine, mother to Richard I of England, and Dowager Queen, stepped in, and selected Berengaria of Navarre, as an appropriate wife for his son. 

Whilst Richard was on route to the Holy Land, Eleanor of Aquitaine, collected Berengaria of Navarre, and escorted her to Sicily, arriving in March 1191. 

Berengaria and Joanna travelled on together, their ship was struck by storms, and limped into Cyprus, for shelter.  Isaac Komnenos ruler of Cyprus, took them prisoner, and demanded a ransom for their return.  Richard was outraged at their capture and attacked Cyprus, and Isaac Komnenos was arrested and thrown in prison. 

King Richard I of England married Berengaria of Navarre on the 12th May 1191, at the Chapel of St.George at Limassol on Cyprus.  On the very same day, she was crowned Queen of England.

The Third Crusade was by and large successful in shoring up Christian dominance of Palestine.  In the September of 1192, Berengaria, Joanna and the former Cypriot princess set sail from Acre, bound for Poitou in France.  Richard chose to remain behind, and negotiate a treaty, ending the Third Crusade.

Duke Leopold of Austria, captured King Richard I of England, handing him over to the Holy Roman Emperor, supported by Philip Augustus of France, to be held prisoner in Germany.

On one hand Richard’s brother, Prince John wanted nothing more than to see his brother remain in prison, so he could claim the English throne.  It fell to Eleanor of Aquitaine, Richard’s mother, who was overseeing Richard’s government to raise the ransom money.  She resorted to fair and foul means to raise the 100,000 marks required, leading to Richard’s release in 1194.

In the March of 1199, Richard’s forces were besieging “Chateau de Chalus-Chabrol” in Chalus, France.  On the 25th March, was struck down by a crossbow bolt, from the castle’s battlements.  The wound became infected and turned gangrene.

King Richard I of England died in his mother’s arms, on the 6th April 1199.  Richard’s neglected wife; Berengaria of Navarre was not even summoned, she was not invited to Richard’s funeral at Fontevrault Abbey.

Wife of Henry II: Eleanor of Aquitaine…

Eleanor of Aquitaine was born in France of 1122, to parents William X, the Duke of Aquitaine and Aenor de Chatellerault.  In 1130, Eleanor’s mother, brother and sister died, and on Good Friday 1137, her father died at Compostela.

Eleanor became the sole heir to the duchy of Aquitaine, considered at the time, to be the largest and richest province in France.

In June 1137, Eleanor of Aquitaine married Louis VII, and upon the death of King Louis VI on the 1st August 1137, Eleanor and Louis VII, became King and Queen of France.

Eleanor had influenced her husband Louis, in letting her accompany him on the Second Crusade to the Holy Land, to free Jerusalem for Christianity in 1141, aged nineteen.

It is said, the church was pleased to receive many warriors through Eleanor, but they had not bargained on the three-hundred ladies, who would tend to the wounded.

Their relationship, and lack of male heirs, saw the annulment of their marriage, approved by the Pope on the 21st March 1152.  Eleanor had only given Louis two children; Marie 1145-1198 who married Henry I, the Count of Champagne, and Alix 1151-1198 who married Theobald V, the Count of Blois.

On the 18th May 1152 Eleanor of Aquitaine married Henry of Anjou, and on the 25th October 1154 King Stephen dies, leading to the coronation of King Henry II and Queen Eleanor of England in December 1154.

On the 28th February 1155, their first child and son was born; Henry, followed by Matilda in 1156, Richard the Lionheart in 1157, Geoffrey the Duke of Brittany in 1158, Eleanor in 1162, Joanna in 1165 and finally John in 1166.

Eleanor suffered much neglect, from her husband, as he paraded his mistresses, like Rosamund Clifford, believed to be the mother of two of his many illegitimate children.

Neglect, drove Eleanor to return to Aquitaine, along with her son; Richard the Lionheart in 1173.  Eleanor even went to the point of encouraging her sons to rebel against their father.

In 1174, Henry exiles Eleanor and her royal women back to England, and she spent the next fifteen years as Henry’s prisoner.

King Henry II died on the 6th July 1189, and she witnessed her favourite son Richard the Lionheart ascend to the English throne.  His first order of business as the English King, was the release of his mother.

Richard was taken prisoner, whilst returning from the Holy Land, and on the 3rd February 1194, she delivers the ransom, which set her son free.

Eleanor saw her youngest son John, become King of England, and she worked as his envoy in France.  Eventually she retired, living the life of a nun, at Fontevrault Abbey where she was buried upon her death in 1204.