This page describes all my favourites:
- my favourite royalty in history links,
- my favourite books and
- my favourite royal in history: Eleanor of Aquitaine!
My favourite royal in history:
Eleanor of Aquitaine (~1122-1204)
Duchess Eleanor of Aquitaine was an intelligent and emancipated woman living in the dark middle ages. Although it is a conventional rule that all ladies of high rank should be described as beautiful, all sources agree that Eleanor of Aquitaine really was beautiful. In addition, she was the richest heiress of France and became successively Queen of France and England.
Eleanor was a granddaughter of William IX of Aquitaine (1070-1127), who was one of the first and most famous troubadours. He was a cheerful man and an ardent lover of women, who joined the First Crusade. Later he "abducted" the wife of the viscount of Châtellerault, Dangereuse, and although he could not marry her, Dangereuse managed to have her daughter Aenor married to his eldest son William X (1099-1137) in 1121. They had two daughters, Eleanor and Petronilla, and a son, William Aigret. Eleanor resembled both William IX and Dangereuse; she possessed the same intelligence, gaiety, restlessness and will power. The court of William IX was the centre of western European culture: the ducal family was entertained by jongleurs, storytellers and troubadours. Unlike most of her contemporaries, male and especially female, Eleanor was carefully educated and she was an excellent student. Eleanor's happy childhood ended with the subsequent deaths of her mother, her little brother and - in 1137 - her father.
The orphaned Eleanor was the richest heiress in France thus a marriage was arranged for her to
its King, Louis VII (1121-1180). Louis had been brought up for an office in the church, but he had become heir to the French throne after the death of his elder brother. He was a weak, dull, grave and pious man and he and the lively
Eleanor were ill matched. Louis never understood his young wife, but he appears to have adored her with a passionate admiration. It wasn't until 1145 that a daughter, Marie, was born. Meanwhile, Eleanor was eager to govern her own duchy, since she knew the troublesome Aquitainians better than anyone.
However, Louis' councillor, the Abbot Sugar, resented female influence in governmental matters.
When Louis went on the Second Crusade to Palestine, Eleanor raised a company of women to join her and thus she accompanied her husband to the Holy Land. In Antioch Eleanor was warmly received by her uncle Raymond, who reminded her of her happy childhood in Poitiers. Eleanor and Raymond were of the opinion that Jerusalem could best be secured by driving back the Turks in the north, but Louis VII rejected the plan and a quarrel followed. Quietly Louis began preparations for his departure and after dark Eleanor was forcibly conducted from Antioch. Soon the crusade became a complete failure and even Louis' brother Robert quickly rushed home. On their way back to France, Louis and Eleanor visited the pope to plead for a divorce. Instead, the pope tried to reconcile them and induced them to sleep in the same bed again.
Back in France their marriage was worse than ever and Eleanor was horrified to realise that she was pregnant. After the birth of a second daughter in 1150 and the death of Louis' chief minister, Eleanor was no longer the only one who wanted a divorce. She finally got it in 1152. She was still the richest heiress of France and on her way from Paris to Poitiers she had to outwit two would-be seducers.
By then Eleanor had fallen in love with Duke Henry Plantagenet of Normandy (1133-1189), who was her junior by eleven years. Their marriage, barely 8 weeks after her divorce, made Henry master of most of today's France. With Eleanor's support Henry became King of England too in 1154.
Although Eleanor's first marriage had resulted in only two daughters born in fifteen year, Eleanor bore Henry five sons and three daughters. As the children grew up and Henry openly took mistresses, the couple grew apart. Eleanor was 44 years old, when she gave birth to their youngest son,
John Lackland. By then she had discovered the existence of Rosamund Clifford, the most famous of Henry's mistresses.
Later Henry arranged a fiancee for his homosexual son Richard Lionheart. She was a daughter of Louis VII and
his second wife. While she was educated at the English court, her fiancee ignored her and his father, Henry, seduced her.
In 1169 Henry sent Eleanor to Aquitaine to restore order as its duchess. Once more the ducal palace at Poitiers became the centre of all that was civilised and refined. Troubadours, musicians and scholars were welcomed at Poitiers. There, in 1170 Eleanor reconciled with her first born daughter Marie of France, countess of Champagne. Marie's protégé, Chrétien de Troyes, composed, at Marie's suggestion, the romance of Lancelot and Queen Guinevere. In addition, Marie had a "code of love" written down in thirty-one articles. They described feminist ideas far beyond the 12th century cult of chivalry. In addition, Eleanor sponsored the "courts of love" in which men having problems with the code of love could bring their questions before a tribunal of ladies for judgement.
At Christmas 1172 Henry summoned his wife and sons to his court. When in 1173 their sons revolted against their father, Eleanor backed them and was subsequently imprisoned by Henry until his death in 1189.
By then three of their sons had already died and Henry's successor was Eleanor's favourite son,
Richard I Lionheart (1157-1199), who appreciated his mother's advice. When he went on crusade, Eleanor became regent. Although Richard was a homosexual, he was supposed to provide England with heirs, so Eleanor escorted his bride-to-be to Sicily. When Richard was killed in 1199, he was succeeded by his youngest brother, John Lackland (1166-1216). Eleanor returned to Aquitaine and retired in the
abbey of Fontevraud. She remained busy and active and personally arranged the marriage of her Castilian granddaughter to the grandson of Louis VII. Thus she lived to be about 82, an extraordinary age in the middle ages.
Copyright © 1996 by J.N.W. Bos. All rights reserved.
- Hallam, E. (ed.): The Plantagenet Encyclopedia (An alphabetical guide to 400 years of English history), Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1990
- Kelly, A.:
Eleanor of Aquitaine (and the four Kings), Harvard University Press, 1951
- Lofts, N. : Queens of Britain, Hodder and Stoughton, 1977
- Meade, M.: Eleanor of Aquitaine (A biography), Penguin Books, 1977
- Owen, D.D.R.:
Eleanor of Aquitaine (Queen & Legend), Blackwell, 1993
Video & DVD
My other favourite royals in history are
the mad monarchs Charles II of Spain (1661-1700)
and Ludwig II of Bavaria (1845-1866).
My favourite links for a survey of interesting royals in history:
Genealogy of Italian noble families
and the Visconti family
The Bourbons of Naples and Sicily:
the Duke of Calabria,
the Duke of Castro and a
Other Bourbon branches.
Chronologías Reales del Mundo: España, Portugal, Escandinavia, Balcanes...
The Imperial House of Mexico
The Hashemite Dynasty of Jordan
The Shah Dynasty of Nepal
Genealogies of Maui, Hawaii,
the Kamehameha Kings
and photo's of Princess Victoria Ka'iulani of Hawaii.
Tableaux Généalogiques des Maisons Souveraines.
Royal genealogies of Africa, Asia and Oceania.
Emperors of India, China and Japan
Almanach of the rulers of the world (pay site)
Royal Families of the World Links.
The Royal Ark with royal families of Asia, Africa and the Americas.
Indian Princely States
Genealogy of the Japanese Emperors.
Some royals of Montenegro
History of the Grimaldi Family of Monaco
and Brigitte's images and descend.
My genealogies of
the royal family of The Netherlands,
the counts of Holland and
the lords of Strijen.
- Classical Women
- Britannia British Monarchs.
- Llywelyn the great of Wales (1173-1282) and the castles of Wales
- Biographies of
Catherine de' Medici (1519-1589), Queen of France, and Giulio de' Medici, Pope
Clement VII (1478-1534)
Vlad III the impaler (1431-1476) of Walachia, also known as
Dracula and the
- The notorious Erszébet Bathory (1560-1613)
and Cséjthe Castle.
- Biographies, images and more info about the Russian Tsars
- The Princess who became Catherine the Great
- Short biographies of
Albert I of Belgium (1875-1934)
and other World War I personalities
- Biographies of the Empress
Maria Theresia of Austria (1717-1780) and her son
Joseph II of Austria (1741-1790).
- The Emperor
Francis Joseph I of Austria (1830-1916) with quotes.
- A biography,
images and a chronology
of Marie Antoinette of Austria (1755-1793), Queen of France, and another
- Biographies of
St. Louis IX of France (1215-1270) and his daughter
St. Isabel of France (1225-1270)
- Madame Guillotine's
Diane de Poitiers – cougar, gold drinker, fashionista (mistress of Henry II of France)
Napoleon Bonaparte (1769-1821) and
the Bonaparte family
- A Treasury of Royal Scandals with royal t-shirts
- Brigitte's biographies of the rich and (in)famous.
- Britannia's biographies of historical persons
- Palace Princess' links to profiles of female Royals
- Royalty.Nu with biographies
- A biographical search service
- My Princess Juliana Tribute Page and
another page about Queen Juliana
- My biographies of the Mad Monarchs Series
My favourite books for a survey of interesting royals in history:
Recommended books for a survey of interesting royals in history:
Norwich, J.J.: Byzantium (The Early Centuries, The Apogee), Penguin Books, 1993
- Mangan, J.J.: The King's favour, Allan Sutton, 1991
- Kent, Princess of: Cupid and the King (Five royal paramours), Weidenfeld and Nicholson, 1986
- Erlanger, Ph.: The age of courts and Kings (Manners and morals 1558-1715), Weidenfeld and Nicholson, 1967
- Gies McGuigan, D.: The Habsburgs, W.H. Allen, 1966
Simon, K.: Gonzaga, Kosmos Historisch, 1988
- Green, V.: The madness of Kings (Personal trauma and the fate of nations), Allan Sutton, 1993
Midelfort, M.C.E.: Mad Princes of Renaissance Germany, University of Virginia, 1994
King, G.: The Mad King (Ludwig II of Bavaria), Aurum Press, 1997
Tranter, N.: The story of Scotland, Neil Wilson Publishing, 1987
Kinross, L.: The Ottoman Centuries (The Rise and Fall of the Turkish Empire), Morrow Quill Paperbacks, 1977
Duffy, J.P., Ricci, V.L.: Czars (Russia's rulers for over one thousand years), Facts on File, 1995
Martin, P.: The Chrysanthemum Throne (A history of the Emperors of Japan), University of Hawai'i Press, 1997
Paludan, A.: Chronicle of the Chinese Emperors (The reign-by-reign record of the rulers of Imperial China), Thames and Hudson, 1998
Clayton, P.A.: Chronicle of the Pharaohs (The reign-by-reign record of the rulers and dynasties of ancient Egypt),
Thames and Hudson, 1994
Tyldesley, J.A.: Private Lives of the Pharaohs, TV Books, 2000.
Martin, S., Grube, N.: Chronicle of the Maya Kings and Queens
(Deciphering the Dynasties of the Ancient Maya), Thames and Hudson, 2000.
Vocelka, K., Heller, L.: Die Private Welt der Habsburger (Leben und Alltag einer Familie), Styria, 1998.
Neumann, H.J.: Erbkrankheiten in europäischen Fürstenhäuser
(Habsburg, Hohenzollern, Romanow, Welfen, Wettiner, Bourbonen), edition q, 1993
Recommended books for a superfluous overview of interesting royals in history:
Williamson, D.: Kings and Queens of Europe, Webb & Bower, 1988
Waldherr, K.: Doomed Queens, Broadway Books, 2008
Jackson, G.M.: Women Rulers throughout the Ages (An Illustrated Guide), ABC-CLIO, 1999
Hilliam, D.: Kings, Queens, Bones and Bastards (Who's Who in the English Monarchy from Egbert to Elizabeth II), Sutton, 1998
Shaw, K.: Royal Babylon (The alarming history of European royalty), Virgin, 1999
Ashdown, D.M.: Royal Murders, Sutton Publishing, 2000
Regan, G.: The Guinness Book of Royal Blunders, Guinness, 2004
Farquhar, M.: A Treasury of Royal Scandals (The Shocking True Stories of History's
Wickedest, Weirdest, Most Wanton Kings, Queens, Tsars, Popes and Emperors), Pinguin Books, 2001.
The Author's Web Site: royalscandals.com.
Recommended books about royal genealogy:
Louda, J. & MacLagan, M.: Lines of Succession (Heraldry of the Royal Families of Europe),
Orbis Publishing, 1981
Genealogies of European Royal Houses per country from medieval times till present, including Serbia, Burgundy, the Palatinate, Brabant and Mecklenburg.
Sokop, B.: Stammtafeln europäischer Herrscherhäuser, Böhlau Verlag, 1993
Genealogies of European Royal Houses from medieval times till present, including the Karolinger, Salier, Babenberger, Wittelsbacher and Brunswicks.
- Stokvis, A.M.H.J.: Manuel d'Histoire, de Généalogie et de Chronologie de tout les États du globe..,
B.M. Israël, Reprint, 1966
Male lines of Royal Houses and high nobility all around the world from antiquity till 1880, including the Incas, the Mongols and Hawaiï. Four books.
Isenburg, W.K. Prinz zu, Schwennicke, D.: Europäische Stammtafeln. Stammtafeln zur Geschichte der Europäischen Staaten, 1937
Detailed genealogies of European Royal Houses, illegitimate branches and high nobility. A collection of more than 20 books.
Thiele, A.: Erzählende genealogische Stammtafeln zur europäischen Geschichte, R.G. Fischer Verlag, 1997-2000,
Detailed genealogies and additional biographical info of European Royal Houses. A collection of 6 books.
Band I-1: German Emperors, Kings, Electors and Grand Dukes, Luxemburg,
Band I-2: German Princes, Dukes and Counts, Liechtenstein,
Band II-1: France, Spain, The Netherlands and Great-Britain,
Band II-2: Scandinavia, Russia, Poland, Balkan and Italy,
Band III: European Counts and Dukes, Emperors of Byzantium, Sultans of Turkey, etc.,
Band IV: British Peerage.
- Cannuyer, Ch.: De Europese Vorstenhuizen (De gekroonde families die het oude continent maakten),
French Title: Les Maisons royales et souveraines d'Europe, Brepols, 1989
Detailed genealogies and additional info of European Royal Houses from ca. 1750 till present, including Anhalt, Montenegro, Liechtenstein and Reuss.
Grote, H.: Stammtafeln, Zentralantiquariat der DDR, Reprint, 1990
Male lines of the Royal Houses and high nobility of Europe with an emphasis on Germany from medieval times till 1880.
- Volkmann, J-Ch.: Généalogies des Rois et des Princes, Collection Bien Connaître, Editions Jean-Paul Gisserot, 1998
Main genealogical lines of European Royal Houses from ca. 1200 till present, including Luxembourg, Liechtenstein and Monaco.
Almanach de Gotha (Annuaire Généalogique, Diplomatique et Statistique)
Genealogical information of currently living members of all European Royal Houses.
Ashley, M.: British Monarchs (The Complete Genealogy, Gazetteer and Biographical Encyclopedia...), Robinson, 1998
Genealogies and biographies of all known British rulers, including rulers of the Picts, Powys, Deheubarth, Orkney, Man, Mercia and Kent.
Weir, A.: Britain's Royal Families (The Complete Genealogy), Pimlico, 1996
Detailed genealogical information of all members of the royal families of England and Scotland from 800 till present.
Burke's Royal Families of the World, Burke, 1980
Detailed genealogical information of all members of Royal Houses all over the world from ca. 1750 till present. Two volumes.
I can also recommend this nice apartment in Utrecht, The Netherlands:
Goed onderhouden, lichte driekamer maisonnette met vrij uitzicht richting het centrum van Utrecht.
Bos. Design: Klaas Vermaas.
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