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Leonora of Aquitaine

From Academic Kids

Leonora of Aquitaine (October 13, 1162 - October 31, 1214), was born as Princess Eleanor of England and became Leonora, Queen of Castile.

She was born in Domfront Castle, Normandy. She was the seventh child and second daughter of King Henry II of England and his wife Queen Eleanor of Aquitaine. Her godfather was the chronicler Robert of Torigny, who had a special interest in her and recorded her life as best he could.

Eleanor was a younger maternal half-sister of Marie de Champagne and Alix of France. She was a younger sister of William, Count of Poitiers, Henry the Young King, Matilda of England, Richard I of England and Geoffrey II, Duke of Brittany. She was also an older sister of Joan Plantagenet and John of England.

When she was eight years old, in 1170, she was married to King Alfonso VIII of Castile. The marriage was arranged to secure the Pyrennean border, with Gascony offered as her dowry.

They had 12 children:

  1. Berenguela, Queen of Castile (1180-1244)
  2. Sancho of Castile (1181-1181)
  3. Sancha of Castile (1182-1184?)
  4. Mafalda of Castile (1183?-1204)
  5. Urraca of Castile (1186-1220), married King Alfonso II of Portugal
  6. Blanca of Castile (1188-1252), married King Louis VIII of France
  7. Fernando of Castile (1189-1211)
  8. Constance of Castile (1196?-late 1190's)
  9. Leonor of Castile (1200-1244), married King James I of Aragon
  10. Constanza, nun at Las Huelgas (1203?-1243)
  11. Henry I, King of Castile (1204-1217).

Of all Eleanor of Aquitaine's daughters, her namesake Eleanor (who was called Leonor by her Spanish subjects) best inherited her mother's political influence. She reigned alongside her husband, who specified in his will that she was to rule alongside their son in the event of his death. It was she who persuaded him to marry their daughter Berenguela to the king of Leon in the interest of peace.

When Alfonso died, his queen was reportedly so devastated with grief that she was unable to preside over the burial. Their daughter Berenguela instead performed these honors. Leonora then took sick and died only twenty-eight days after her husband, and was buried at Abbey de las Huelgas, in Burgos.

Sources

  • Fraser, Antonia. The Middle Ages, A Royal History of England.
  • Rada Jiménez, Rodrigo. Historia de los hechos de España.
  • Wheeler, Bonnie. Eleanor of Aquitaine: Lord and Lady, 2002
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