Eleanor of Provence

Marking this International Women’s Day with a salute to Eleanor of Provence, the wife of Henry III who may rightly be credited with establishing the rise of queenship in post-conquest England. Sure, we know all about Eleanor of Aquitaine, but she never achieved a consistent role in her husband’s affairs the way this Eleanor did. Her influence has been falsely attributed to the presence of her relatives at court, an almost perverse need to want to see her as a pawn and Henry as weak, hardly a power couple in the fashion of Henry II and that other Eleanor. But a formidable team they were, and when matched against that other formidable team, Simon and Eleanor de Montfort, the result was a revolution that at one point had the London mob pelting her from the bridge. During her Montfortian exile, Queen Eleanor was just a wave of the hand away from being the first woman to launch an invasion of England.

Eleanor of Provence
                                                            Eleanor of Provence

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