Monday, June 6, 2011

Henry II & Eleanor of Aquitaine

So I said I would do some posts about the Plantagenets, so I am finally getting around to do it. I thought I would start with the founders of the ruling family; Henry II and Eleanor of Aquitaine.

The House of Plantagenet was started by Geoffrey V of Anjou (part of France, this will be important latter). I have not read very much in detail but what I could make out from a book was that Henry's mother, Margret, was a member of the ruling family in England. Her brother(the name escapes me) was king of England, but had no heir, so is passed to Henry. That is what it sounded like in the book that I read.

This is just some background info on the Plantagenets. So that you can know where they came from. I was actually surprised by how much French blood was on the English throne. England also had a lot of calms to French land, because Henry II was the son of the Duke of Anjou. He was not only King of England, and Duke of Anjou. It was one of those things that I though interesting.

Henry II is on of my least favorite kings of England. He was particularly fond of women and was not a faithful husband(which for the time period is not surprising). I will say that he was a brilliant king. Our legal system is based on some of the things he did. Here is what he did. He would be the judge in a case he would decided fairly, and write down the details of the case and what decision he came too. If he came across a similar case latter he would refer to other similar cases he had done in the past.

I didn't like how he treated his children. He crowned his son Henry(he is often called Henry the Young King, but does not have a number by his name because he didn't out live his father) while he was still king because he was worried some one would take the throne from Henry(his son) after he died. It might have worked except that Henry II like to be in control, so he gave his son a title with no power which made Henry the Young King very very mad. He also didn't let go of land very easily, once he got it he kept it.

Eleanor of Aquitaine is some one who has a very interesting life. Her father was the Duke of Aquitaine, which was a very very large province in France. When her father died he left the land to her. Because she was so young and had so much land, her father on is death bed arranged for her to marry Louis VII the king of France. In the beginning their marriage was fine. One thing that was big was that Louis went on one the Crusade; she went with his. After the Crusade their marriage fell apart. Eleanor didn't like Louis, because he was not a very good king.*(go to the paragraph with this *) She was not happy and Louis was not happy, so she convinced him that God didn't like their marriage because they were related to each other(this is a pretty common excuse back then for a divorce blessing from the Church). Her reason was that they only had daughters(they had 2) so God was unhappy with their marriage and that was why the didn't have sons. Louis believed her and they were divorced. Little did he know but that she already had her eye on some one and had been planing to marry him after she divorced Louis. she married Henry II. Louis was not please with this because that meant that Henry got Aquitaine along with Anjou.

She was the mother of Henry the Young King(and sympathize with him in is trouble with the throne), and the mother of the famous pair King Richard the Lion Heart and Prince John(he did become King of England after his brother Richard). Her other Children where Alice of Capet, and Maria de Champagne; her daughter by Louis VII of France, and by Henry II of England: William(who died as a baby), Henry the Young King, Richard I the Lion heart, Geoffry duke of Brittany, John "Lackland", her daughters by Henry where Matilda, Eleanor, and Joan.

*Louis was the second son, back then second sons of king where suppose to go into the church so for most of Louis life he was being trained for the Church. But the Louis older brother died, so he was the new heir. Now there is nothing really wrong with being raised for the Church, Louis love the Church, but Louis was a weak king and France needed a strong king. Elinor was very frustrated with him, because he was not what she wanted. This is one of the reasons I am not thrilled with arranged marriages.

Henry and Eleanor didn't have great Marriage, as I said earlier Henry had many affairs(it is good to note that Elanor had her own lovers too). Eleanor was not to much bothered by Henry, it was what kings do and she had her own thing. And Henry did love her and she loved him, she was his queen. What caused the big problem was when Henry met Rosemound, and treated her like she was his queen. That was what made Eleanor mad at him; and my mad I mean really really mad! she did not just have an argument with him about it she went to the nursery and turned her children against their father. Which in the long run was a very effective plan to get back at him(not that she was right to do that).

Eleanor was also upset because Henry was trying to control her land, Aquitaine, when she was suppose to take care of it(the people of Aquitaine didn't like Henry, they loved Eleanor). She caused a rebellion among her sons(Henry, Richard, and Geoffry. John was fathers boy, and he was to young). It didn't work and Henry locked up Eleanor. This made his sons even more mad, especially Richard who was mothers boy. There was a lot of bad feelings between Henry II and his sons because he would not treat them like men, but like children. He would not give them any power. Richard was Duke of Aquitaine, he was really the only one who could stand up to his father and win. Eventually the boys did revolt again and win. Henry died not long after. Henry the Young King died during the rebellion, so Richard became king.

Sorry is this is really long, but there was a lot about Eleanor( Shew as huge political person back then and I am sure you can see why) and Henry. I did try to compress as much as I could but that was not easy. I hope you enjoy this. Eleanor is one of my favorite people to read about in History. I find is most upsetting when some history books don't even mention her!!


P.S. the last picture is of where Henry and Eleanor are buried at Fontevraud Abbey. She is shown reading the Bible.

1 comment:

  1. Was this the Duke the Duck that you were mentioning on Facebook?