Eleanor of Aquitaine
Eleanor of Aquitaine married Henry II out of love in 1154, after having previously been married to the king of France. She brought new territories into the marriage, making Henry II's realm the largest ever ruled by an English king to date. She is also known for her love of culture; she founded her own literary court where she surrounded herself with troubadours and artists from her southern territories. Under her patronage, the ideals and codes of courtly love were promoted in literature.
Eleanor was the eldest child and heiress of William X, Duke of Aquitaine. Before marrying Henry II, she was married to young Louis VII of France in 1137 but they were divorced in 1152. She had already met Henry, who was 11 years her junior, before her separation from Louis and seems to have fallen in love with him immediately.
They married in 1153 and as her love of the arts even surpassed her husband's she was allowed to found her own literary court where she surrounded herself with troubadours and artists from her southern territories.
It was particularly her son Richard the Lionheart who inherited her love of music and poetry, and her daughter Eleanor took the characteristic Angevin style of building with her to Castile.
|History, Middle English Period, Political, Kings + Rulers|