Eleanor of Provence

Eleanor of Provence died on the day of the Nativity of St John the Baptist (24 June) in 1291, age about 68. She had chosen to retire at the nunnery in Amesbury, presumably because Guinevere from her idolised Arthurian romances had done the same. If Eleanor too had a mystical side like her husband Henry III, she may have chosen the Wiltshire retreat also because of Stonehenge, which was then a part of the nunnery. After her death, confusion reigned over where to bury her. Everyone expected it to be in Westminster Abbey next to her husband, but Edward I had appropriated his mother’s tomb there for his wife Eleanor of Castile, who had died suddenly seven months earlier. Not until September, when Edward was back from Scotland, was the decision made to inter her at Amesbury, with her heart going to London for burial next to her beloved daughter Beatrice, shown here.

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