Eleanor of Aquitaine

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Eleanor of Aquitaine (1122-1204) was the daughter of William X, Duke of Aquitaine, and his wife, Aenor. She was the granddaughter of Guilem de Peitieu, the first troubadour. Her reputation is that of a formidable political manipulator and a patron of the arts. She is also remembered as wife to two kings as well as mother to two.

Both her mother and her brother died in 1130, and when her father died in May 1137 on pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela, she was Countess of Poitou and Duchess of Aquitaine and Gascony. In July of that year she married the dauphin, and on the death of Louis VI in August she became Queen of France and her husband Louis VII.

Though her marriage seems to have been affectionate at first, and she even went so far as to travel on crusade with him, their marriage was annulled in 1152 on the grounds of consanguinity. The real reason for the annulment seems to have been the fact that she had born no sons.

Within eight weeks of her annulment she had married Henry II of England, thus transferring control of her landholdings to the English king.

She did bear sons to Henry. Four of them and each at the others' and their father's throats. Of these the second and fourth (Richard I and John Lackland) were to gain the throne.