The second Eleanor

Eleanor of Provence
Eleanor of Provence

Eleanor of Provence was the second of the four daughters of poverty-stricken Count Ramon Berenger. Known as Eleanor La Belle for her beauty, she wrote poetry, one of which found its way to Henry through the hands of his brother. So smitten was Henry that he insisted on marrying Eleanor, dowry or no dowry. The council agreed, if only because Eleanor’s older sister Margaret was married to Louis, the king of France, and making these two brothers-in-law seemed like the wise thing to do. She is described as being “jamque duodennem” (already twelve) when she arrived to marry Henry. Theirs was a happy marriage but she never warmed to the English and they would remind her of that fact during the outbreak of hostilities.

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