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    Eleanor Of Aquitaine

    Eleanor of Aquitane was the Queen of France and England. She was the mother of two English kings, Richard (The Lion-Hearted) and John I and was the most politically influential woman of her time.

    She was born in France as the daughter of William X and wed Louis VII of France in 1137. During her marriage to Louis, she had two daughters and accompanied her husband on The Second Crusade (Holyland). She took 300 women with her on the Second Crusade to fight and help nurse the wounded.

    Her marriage to Louis was consentially annuled in 1152.

    She later married King Henry II in 1154 and bore to him 5 sons and 3 daughters. She inherited the Duchy of Aquitane at 15 and brought it in her marriage, which marked the beginning of the ever present conflict between France and England that continued throughout the Middle Ages.

    Eleanor convinced Henry to invest in their son, Richard, with these lands. There were problems within Henry's marriage to Eleanor, his continued unfaithfulness alienated Eleanor and in turn, she joined her son's rebellion against Henry in 1173. They were unsuccessful in their attempt to overthrow Henry and Eleanor was captured while fleeing and imprisoned until Henry's death in 1189. Once she was released, she was a powerful influence at the court. She granted amnesty to prisoners and secured the succession of Richard to the throne. She ruled during Richard's absence on the Third Crusade and thwarted an attempt by John to conspire with France against England. She also negotiated a reconciliation between the brothers upon Richard's return in 1194. This reconciliation maintained the peace in England and insured John's succession to the throne. Eleanor's influence also extended into culture and education, she gathered the leading poets, scholars and musicians to form an educational institution.