Eleanor of Aquitaine and the Four Kings

David Vagamundo

Ad Honorem
Jan 2010
4,439
Atlanta, Georgia USA
Eleanor of Aquitaine is one of those people in history whom everyone has heard of and few know much about. Amy Kelly’s Eleanor of Aquitaine and the Four Kings not only gathers just about everything known about this vers powerful lady—who also styled herself Queen of England when her son Richard Lionheart was in captivity—but also is a very good history of the short-lived but historically important Angevin Empire.

The « four kings » of the title are her first husband, Louis Capet, and three kings of England: Henry II, Richard, and John Lackland, the first her second husband and the last two her sons.

Much of what Professor Kelly describes might have given Shakespeare ideas for King Lear. Henry described his four sons (two of whom died before him) as eaglets tearing at his head and body. He could not bring himself to grant them any real power during his lifetime, and they revolted against him.

This is family is the subject of the play and movie The Lion in Winter.

Professor Kelly was an English teacher, not a professional historian. Her many vignettes of life in the 12th century bring that time back to life.

Highly recommended
 
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David Vagamundo

Ad Honorem
Jan 2010
4,439
Atlanta, Georgia USA
Yes, and Eleanor had more than a helping hand in that, too....
We visited Fontevrault Abbey several years ago. Eleanor, Henry and Richard are buried there and their restored effigies are there. It speaks volumes that Richard’s is next to Eleanor’s. Henry’s is quite.a distance from the two of them.
 
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