Eleanor of Aquitaine and Duke William X, by Christy English
In my historical novel, To Be Queen, I explore the childhood and young life of the great medieval queen, Eleanor of Aquitaine. A woman of power in a time when women had little of it, Eleanor is unique both in her own era and ours. But behind every woman, there is a strong man, a teacher who educates her, who trains her to follow the path of power. In Eleanor of Aquitaine’s life, that man was her father, William.
William X, Duke of Aquitaine and Count of Poitou, traced his ancestry from the Emperor Charlemagne who lived and reigned hundreds of years before. Just as Charlemagne united France and Germany under one man, William and Eleanor hoped to unite the kingdom of France with Aquitaine and Poitou to make the most powerful force Europe had seen in a hundred years. To continue the legacy of Charlemagne was William X’s wish, and he passed that intention on to his eldest daughter, Eleanor. (in the picture on the left you can see Eleanor and William’s Palace in their capital of Poitiers)
Eleanor was not always the heir to Aquitaine. Her brother died when she was eight years old, and she was raised by her father from that time on to follow in his footsteps and to become a ruler that, while only a woman, could hold more than half of modern-day France in thrall. That kind of plan called for more than ambition. It required strength, intelligence, ruthlessness, and the ability to put aside her own needs for the good of the higher goal: power.
Eleanor of Aquitaine’s betrothal to the King of France was arranged by her father, but William died before the marriage contract was signed. It was up to Eleanor to see the marriage through, and at the age of fifteen, she sealed the alliance with France. Though she never got the son she longed for to rule both France and Aquitaine from her first husband, Louis, she wore the crown of France for fifteen years and learned what it meant to be queen.
Vera, thank you so much for hosting me on your blog. Please feel free to visit me and hear more about my obsession with Eleanor of Aquitaine and all things literary on my blog http://www.ChristyEnglish.com.
Read our review of To Be Queen here.
I have 1 signed copy of To Be Queen to give away, courtesy of Christy English!
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