Profile of Eleanor of Aquitaine
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The tough queen who led medieval England and France
Eleanor of Aquitaine was the consort of Louis VII of France, then of Henry II of England, and two of her sons (Richard and John) went on to become kings of England. As a teenager she received an impressive inheritance when her father and older brother died in the same year. She married Louis of France, who would become King Louis II, and they had two daughters. With no sons and not much of a relationship after a failed Crusade to Jerusalem, their marriage ended in 1152 and she married Henry of Anjou, then duke of Normandy. Henry became King Henry II two years later, and Eleanor had an active role in government. Together they had five sons and three daughters. They each brought land and power to the marriage, but she threatened Henry's power and even urged three sons into an unsuccessful revolt in 1173. Henry stuck Eleanor in prison for fifteen years, but in 1189 she helped her son Richard ("The Lion-Hearted") to the throne, and for many years ruled in his absence. After Richard died, Eleanor saw her other son, John, become the king in 1199.
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