Profession: Queen of France and England and Duchess of Aquitaine
Why Famous: One of the most powerful women in the Middle Ages, Eleanor of Aquitaine was the most eligible bride in Europe during her tenure as the Duchess of Aquitaine. She married the King of France, Louis VI, and became Queen consort of France, and took part in the Second Crusade.
After 15 years of marriage, she was granted an annulment, which Louis agreed to as the marriage had not produced a son. Almost immediately after she became engaged to the future Henry II of England, with whom she had five sons, three of whom became king: Richard the Lionheart, Henry the Young King and King John.
Her husband would imprison her during a revolt by their son Henry, and she would not be released until her son, Richard, ascended the throne. She lived well into the reign of her son, John.
Birthplace: Poitiers, Duchy of Aquitaine, Angevin Empire
The Most Expensive Divorce in History
Enter King John – England's Worst-Ever Monarch
The Queen Who Never Saw Her Realm
- 1137-07-15 Louis dauphin of France (later Louis VII) (17) marries Eleanor of Aquitaine (about 15) at Cathedral of Saint-André in Bordeaux
- 1152-03-21 In one of the most expensive divorces in history, French King Louis VII is granted an annulment from Eleanor of Aquitaine on the grounds of consanguinity (being from the same kinship as another person)
- 1152-05-18 Eleanor of Aquitaine marries Henri of Anjou, handing the future King Henry II of England most of France, allowing future kings of England to claim France for centuries thereafter
- 1146-03-31 Bernard of Clairvaux preaches his famous sermon in a field at Vézelay, urging the necessity of a Second Crusade. Louis VII and Eleanor of Aquitaine are present and join the Crusade
- 1148-07-24 Louis VII of France lays siege to Damascus during the Second Crusade
- 1148-07-28 Second Crusade: Crusaders abandon their siege of Damascus