Courtesy of Mental Floss

"I have learned by experience that imprisonment is distasteful to mankind and it is a most delightful refreshment to the spirits to be liberated therefrom."

180) Eleanor of Aquitaine

Queen of France and England

Born: c.1122, France

Died: c.1204, Poitiers, France

She was one of the most powerful figures of the Middle Ages.

When Eleanor was fifteen, she inherited a very large estate and became the most eligible bachelorette in Europe (but within hours was engaged to the king of France’s son Louis). They were wed in 1137 and within weeks the king died and Eleanor and her new husband she barely knew were in charge of France.

In 1152 they were granted an annulment and Eleanor left her two daughters with her former husband.

Two months later she was married to the heir of the English throne and two years after that they were crowned Queen and King of England. They would eight children together but would also separate in 1167.

Eleanor spent five years living on her own and holding her own court before being arrested after it was thought she was plotting with her son to depose her husband (The one from England).

After sixteen years of being imprisoned in various locations around England, she was released on the condition she take up her ceremonial duties as queen once more and join her husband in his household for a time each year.

After her husband died their son Richard (The Lionheart) succeeded him and freed his mother completely. She ruled as regent when he left to lead the Third Crusade.

Eleanor lived long enough to see another of her son’s—John—crowned after Richard’s death and he employed her as an envoy to France.

She then supported her son when her grandson Arthur attempted to usurp the throne.

Eleanor finally retired to live as a nun in an abbey at the end of her life.

Random Fact: Eleanor is said to be responsible for the introduction of built-in fireplaces (after moving from the more temperate southern France to the frigid North she had them installed in the castle she was staying in at the time).

Badges Earned:

Find a Grave Marked

Located In My Personal Library:

Helen of Troy: The Story Behind the Most Beautiful Woman in the World by Bettany Hughes

History’s Naughty Bits by Karen Dolby

Kings & Queens of England and Scotland by Plantagenet Somerset Fry

National Geographic History Magazine Article "Life of the Lioness, Eleanor of Aquitaine" (January/February 2020 Edition)

The Oxford Encyclopedia of Women in World History Edited By Bonnie G Smith

The Plantagenets: The Warrior Kings and Queens Who Made England by Dan Jones

Powers & Thrones: A New History of the Middle Ages by Dan Jones

Queens of the Conquest: England's Medieval Queens Book One by Alison Weir

Scandalous Women: The Lives and Loves of History's Most Notorious Women by Elizabeth Kerri Mahon

Sex With the Queen: 900 Years of Vile Kings, Virile Lovers, and Passionate Politics by Eleanor Herman

Uppity Women Speak Their Minds by Vicki Leon

Warrior Queens by Antonia Fraser

Who Knew? Women in History: Questions That Will Make You Think Again by Sarah Herman