Queen Eleanor Provence ENGLAND
- Born: Abt 1217-1223, Aix, Charentemaritime, France
- Married: 14 Jan 1236, Cathedral, Canterbury, Kent, England
- Died: 25 Jun 1291, Amesbury, Wiltshire, England
- Buried: 11 Sep 1291, Monastery, Amesbury, Wiltshire, England
Other names for Eleanor were BERENGER, "La Belle", PROVENCE Countess and ENGLAND Queen.
Ancestral File Number: 8XJ8-3G. User ID: 4727437/9454921.
"La Belle", Countess of PROVENCE, Queen of ENGLAND 1236- 1272.
Died 1291 at Amesbury and probably buried there although heart at Newgate London.
A History of The Plantagenets, Vol II, The Magnificent Century, Thomas B Costain 1951, Doubleday & Co, p136: "The charm of Provencal princesses was on an ascending scale, each one to arrive being more highly praised than those before her. Marguerite, the first daughter, was fresh and pretty with dark hair and fine eyes. Eleanor, the second, was thought at first to have transcended all comparison and was known as La Belle, although Sanchia, who followed her, was of such subtle charm and fascination that she was described as `of incomparable beauty.' It remained, however, for Beatrice, the fourth daughter, to set men's hearts thumping and the fingers of troubadoursto fevered twanging of lyres. Two of the balladists at the Provenchal court were temporarily deprived of reason for love of the entrancing Beatrice...
"Count Raimund was so poor, in fact, that he never possessed enough money to make up a suitable dowry for any of his beautiful daughters. He had an asset of much greater value than gold, however, an officer named Romeo of Villeneuve, who possessed such a shrewd head on his thread bare shoulders that he could devise ways and meansof snaring kings for the lovely brood without paying out as musch as a single coin...
"About the time that Henry's porposal of marriage was sent to Joanna of Ponthieu, the nimble mind of the machiavellian Romeo was considering means of attracting his attention to Eleanor La Belle, who was now fourteen and ready for marriage. The scheme he evolved was roundabout but sufficiently ingenious to accomplish its purpose. Eleanor had begun already to dabble in versification and had completed a long and romantic poem about one Blandin of Cornwall who had fallen in love with Princess Briende and underwent all manner of adventures and tests for her sake. Romeo saw to it that a copy was sent to Richard of Cornwall (who might be expected to see a compliment in it to himself), written in Eleanor's own fair hand and with a note from her as well. Richard, who was passing through the South of France on his way back from the Crusades, was as charmed and flattered by this attention as the wily major-domo had conceived he would be. If he had not been married happily to Isabella of Pembroke, he might have sought the hand of the royal poetess himself, having heard glowing reports of her beauty and refinement. He did the next best thing; he sent the poem (it is still in existence and a perfect sample of adolescent fervor) to Henry and hinted that here, perhaps, was the very best consort for him. Henry was as much dazzled by the genius of the fair Eleanor ashis brother had been, and his imagination became inflamed with the reports he heard of the court of Provence and the charms of Eleanor La Belle. He decided to jilt the Ponthieu heiress and propose himself instead as a husband for the second ofthe daughters of Provence. Fortunately his Council agreed that there would be an advantage in having Louis of France as a brother-in-law, and negotiations were started at once. Procurators were hurried off to Provence to act for the King, the bishops of Ely and Lincoln and the abbot of Hurle.
"Henry proposed to give his bride the reversion of his mother's dower, but Raimund Berenger objected to this on the score that his daughter would have to wait for the Queen Mother's death before having any adequate provision. Henry had become so enraptured by this time over the prospect of getting the belle of Provence as his bride that word of the count's objections threw him into a panic, as no doubt the shrewd Romeo (whose hand is seen at every stage of the negotiations) had intended it should. He decided at once to lower his own demands in the matter of the bride's dowry, having set his figure at twenty thousand marks. Without a moment's delay he wrote to his representatives and instructed them to reduce their demands, even specifying the steps by which they were to come down: first to fifteen thousand marks, then to ten thousand, to seven thousand, to five thousand, to three thousand. They were not toldthat if the count demurred at the lowest figure (he was certain to do that, not having anything like that amount in his bare cupboard of a treasury) they were to accept the lady empty-handed, but such was Henry's intent. After sending off hisbargaining instructions the King fell into a still greater panic, thinking that he had perhaps compromised his chances, that in Provence they would scorn him as a pinchpenny and niggler. He then sat down in a very great hurry and wrote to his procurators that `they were to conclude the marriage forthwith.' They were to do so with money or without, so long as they procured Eleanor for him and conducted her safely to England. When the question of the bride's dowry was thus dismissed, Count Raimund promptly agreed to accept the reversion of the Queen Mother's dower rights for his daughter and the marriage contracts were signed, the major-domo rubbing his hands with satisfaction, no doubt, as he watched the proceedings.
"The boy who had been crowned with a circlet of plain gold belonging to his mother and in makeshift clothes, and had then sat himself down to a chine of beef with a few noblemen instead of the usual elaborate coronation banquet, decided that hiswedding would make up for all this, that it would be the most dazzling ceremony in the memory of man. He spent the time before his bride's arrival in feverish activities. The royal tailors made wedding clothes for him of gold-threaded baudekinand a whole wardrobe for Eleanor on the same scale. It was his intention to have her crowned immediately after the marriage, and a splendid diadem was designed, studded with precious stones and costing fifteen hundred pounds, an enormous sum in those days. Chaplets of gold filigree, rings of beautiful design, and jewel-encrusted girdles were among the many articles he ordered for her.
"Fearing that she would find the royal quarters at Westminster dingy after the glories (sic!)of Provence, he decided to have the palace redecorated. The Queen's chamber was provided with handsome new furnishings, and the walls were covered with historical paintings. He gave instructions for the Great Chamber to be painted a good greencolor and that a French inscription was to be lettered in the great gable. He had no money for all this- in fact, he was in debt for the dowry of his sister Isabella who had married the Emperor of Germany- but this did not concern him. He wenton spending, freely and lavishly, with both hands...
"The bridal train, with an impressive retinue of relatives, knights, ladies-in-waiting, troubadours, and jugglers, traveled slowly. From Navarre they rode down through the vineyard country of Gascony and on to the fair district of the Loire, where Queen Marguerite met her sister, accompanied by a great train of knights and servants, the knights with red noses and blankets under their armor and gloves instead of gquntlets because the weather was freezingly cold. Marguerite was delighted to see her sister but was perhaps just a shade condescending. Was not Louis considered a much more powerful and important king than Henry?
"The party landed at Dover on January 4, 1236, after a pleasant enough crossing. Eleanor was in the best of health and spirits when Henry met her, and they seemed to like each other at once. There could be no doubt of Henry's feelings, certainly. He paid her extravagant complimentsand handed out gold and presents to her attendants as though he were another King Midas. They went at once to Canterbury, where the archbishop married them; and when Henry saw his bride in a gown of marerial which shimmered like the hot sunlight of Provence, tight-fitting to the waist and then flaring out in generous pleats to her feet, the sleeves long and lined with ermine, he became her captive and never did recover his freedom thereafter.
"The bridal party then rode to London for the Queen's crowning, and here a procession of citizens greeted them, three hundred and sixty of them on horseback, the men in tunics of cloth of gold, their wives with fur-trimmed cloaks, each carrying a cup of gold or silver to be presented to the royal couple. The new Lord Mayor, Andrew Buckerel, a pepperer (as grocers were called), cavorted in the lead. The ride from the Tower to Westminster was through clean streets hung with silk banners and trumpeters at each corner blowing furious fanfares for the lovely young Queen. There could be no doubt that Eleanor La Belle had made a most favorable impression, and no one who saw her on this cold but sunny day, without a hint of fog or cloud or smoke in the sky, would have believed that on a raw and gloomy day much later the citizens of London would pelt her barge on the Thames with stones to drive her back to the Tower, calling her a harridan and a witch.
"The crowning was followed by a banquet which perhaps blotted finally from Henry's mind the painful memory of his humble start as King. Never before in the history of merrie England had there been such feasting. The nobility were out in full force, performing their hereditary parts in the ritual. The Lord Mayor served wine to those who sat at the head table, the finest wine that Gascony could supply. Food was lavishly provided for the spectators who had braved the cold to walk from London and who packed the gardens and roadways about Westminster. At the finsh everything which had figured in the ceremony was given away to those who had served the newly married couple, even the Queen's bed being claimed by the chamberlain."
p143: "The Queen, having conceived a poor opinion of the people over whom her husband ruled, was never happy unless surrounded by her relatives and favo- rites from Provence. In addition to those who remained permanently there was a constant stream of visitors. It is recorded that when the four sisters were together the two elder, Marguerite and Eleanor, insisted on the two younger sitting on stools in their presence because they were not queens. This irked Sanchia and Beatrice very much, neither realizing that fate (without any assistance from the archschemer Romeo) would provide both of them with crowns ultimately and the Beatrice particularly would live a most romantic and exciting life."
p151: "There can be no doubt that Eleanor was beautiful. No description of her is available, but it is probable that she inclined to the ivory and brown of the South rather than the dazzling gold-and-pink loveliness of the former Queen. Peter Langtoft speaks of her as `The erle's dauhter, the fairest may of life.' Even after people began to entertain a wholesome dislike of her they remained fascinated by the legend of her learning, and the women never did lose their interest in the clothes she continued to import from France. England even then was under Latin influence in all matters of dress. There had been insouciance in the trousseau Eleanor brought to the court of Henry; the parti- colored `cotte,' the gold or silver girdle in which a dagger was carelessly thrust, the wide goring at thehips, the daring effect of red silk damask and decorations of gilt guatrefoil, the mantle of honor over the shoulders, the very high and very new type of wimple into which the head receded until the face seemed like a flower in an enveloping spathe, the saucy pillbox cap.
"That she failed to produce an heir until after nearly four years of marriage added to Eleanor's unpopularity. A land tired of succession quarrels had no place in its affections for a barren queen."
p164:"A curious situation developed out of the arrival of Henry's relatives. Eleanor remained loyal to her own uncles and cousins, the Provencals and Savoyards, and wanted all the plums for them. Henry's preference had been transferred to his half brothers, and he was determined to make the wealthy and influential. The two parties, as was to be expected, began to clash, openly and bitterly. The public, wryly amused at the struggle between the rival bands of harpies, called them the Queen's Men and the King's Men. They had no reason to find any satisfaction, however, in the situation. Between them the warring relatives were gobbling up all the offices in the kingdom and filling their pockets with the national wealth..."
p169: "...Eleanor as Queen is as easily understandable: haughty, passionately conscious of her high destiny, contemptuous of the lower orders, unwilling to yield an inch from her conception of what was due royalty. It is only fair now to depict them as private individuals, as husband and wife, as father and mother of a growing family. It is a much pleasanter picture which emerges.
"They were a devoted family. Henry was deeply attached to Eleanor and remained so to the end of his days except for a few furious but brief rifts. He is one of the few kings who seems never to have taken a mistress, a strange degree of constancy to find in a son of John. Eleanor was a faithful and, as far as can be seen, an affectionate wife. They loved their children as wholeheartedly as any butcher and his mate in the Shambles or any pair of villeins in wattled cottage and toft. The children returned this love in full measure..."
p220: "Eleanor, it is clear, hated the Londoners. Her first aggressive act was to demand back payments on a form of tribute called queen-gold. It had been a prerogative of the Queen to receive a tenth of all fines which came to the Crown...Eleanor claimed that she had not received her percentage (the rule had always been for the King to pay his wife out of the amount received) and that the city must make it up to her. London gasped, first in wonder at such sheer audacity, then in angry denial. The Queen's temper was too sharp tobrook any opposition, and she promptly seized the two sheriffs of the city...and lodged them in prison. The queen-gold was paid...
"The violent dissatisfaction she had stirred up in the city spread throughout the country when she summonedParliament for the purpose of raising war funds. It was reported to the barons and bishops assembled that Alfonso of Castile was planning to invade Gascony with a huge army of Christians and Moors. This was a subterfuge, and a stupid one to boot, because the barons knew that negotiations for peace with Castile were proceeding satisfactorily, based on the proposed match between Prince Edward and the infanta. They had a shrewd notion that an agreement would be reached, and under the circumstances their reply was that they would grant supplies when proof of the invasion was forthcoming, and not before.
"That the marriage contract was signed while Parliament debated became known later. Queen Eleanor was arranging to accompany Edward to the South at the very time she was demanding of the House the funds for a full-scale war..."
p303: "A number of women, all of them fair by repute, were to play parts in the drama which now unfolded. First there was Queen Eleanor, who was still in France and moving heaven and earth to find support for the royal cause and to get her husband out of captivity. She had pawned all her jewels and personal possessions and had contracted debts of such size that their redemption later swallowed up all of the fine of twenty thousand marks paid by the city of London. Nothing could discourage the firm-minded Queen, not even the letters of warning which Henry (under pressure, without a doubt) addressed to her..." p326: "On October 29, 1265, Queen Eleanor returned to England, landing at Dover and accompanied by Dona Eleanora, the young wife of Prince Edward. The King and his heir met them at Dover with becoming state and ceremony..."
The Oxford Book of Royal Anecdotes, Elizabeth Longford, 1991, Oxford Univ Press, pxix: "Normans and Plantagenets Genealogy: Eleanor of Provence, mar Henry III (2), died 1291."
The Political History of England 1216-1377, Vol III, T F Tout, 1905, AMS Press, p54:"...[In spring of 1235] Henry sought the hand of Eleanor, a girl of twelve years old, and the second of the four daughters of Raymond Berengar IV, Count of Provence, and his wife Beatrice, sister of Amadeus III, Count of Savoy. The marriage contract was signed in October. Before that time Eleanor had left Provence under the escort of her mother's brother, William, bishop-elect of Valence. On her way she spent a long period with her elder sister Margaret, who had been married to Louis IX of France in 1234. On January 14, 1236, she was married to Henry at Canterbury by Archbishop Edmund, and crowned at Westminster on the following Sunday.
"The new queen's kinsfolk quickly acquired an almost unbounded ascendency over her weak husband. With the exception of the reigning Count Amadeus of Savoy, her eight maternal uncles were somewhat scantily provided for. The prudence of the French government prevented them from obtaining any advantage for themselves at the court of their niece the Queen of France, and they gladly welcomed the opportunity of establishing themselves at the expense of their English nephew. Self-seeking and not over-scrupulous, able, energetic and with the vigour and resource of high-born soldiers of fortune, several of them play honourable parts in the history of their own land...
p175: "... Eleanor of Provence, who had entered a convent, joined with the archbishop in urging her son to take severe measures against [the Jews]..."
p184: "... A few months later Edward's mother, Eleanor [of Provence], ended her long life in the convent of Amesbury, in Wiltshire..."
Encyclopaedia Britannica, 1981, Micropaedia, Vol III, p830, Eleanor of Provence: "Born 1223, Died 25 Jun 1291, Amesbury Wiltshire, Queen Consort of King Henry III of England (ruled 1216-1272). Her widespread unpopularity intensified the severe conflicts between the King and his barons. Eleanor's father was Raymond Berengar IV Count of Provence, and her mother was the daughter of Thomas I Count of Savoy. The marriage between Eleanor and Henry (Jan 1236) was designed to further the King's continental ambitions. Eleanor soon alienated the barons by having her Savoyard andProvencal uncles installed in high offices in England. After rebel barons captured Henry and took over the government in May 1264, Eleanor became the leader of the royalist exiles in France. She raised an invasion force, but her fleet was wrecked at Sluis, Flanders. Nevertheless, the rebels were crushed in August 1265, and Eleanor then returned to England. Upon the death of Henry and the accession of her son Edward I, she retired to a nunnery at Amesbury."
World Ancestral Chart No. 17779 James Carl Romans.
World Ancestral Chart No. 31759 Ancestors of Warren Cash 1760.
World Ancestral Chart No. 125360 Ancestors of Patricia Ann Kieffer.
Ancestral File Ver 4.10 8XJ8-3G Eleanore Born Abt 1217 Died/Buried Ambresbury, TPHE and EBMicro Born Abt 1223 Died Amesbury, Ancestral File Ver 4.10/4.11 8XJ8-3G Born 1223 Of Aix-en- Provence Bouches-du-Rhone France Died 24 Jun 1291 Ambresbury Wiltshire England Bur 11 Sep 1291 Ambresbury Monastary Wiltshire England.
Eleanor married King Henry ENGLAND, III, son of King John ENGLAND and Queen Isabella De Taillefer ENGLAND, on 14 Jan 1236 in Cathedral, Canterbury, Kent, England. (King Henry ENGLAND, III was born on 12 Oct 1206-1207 in Winchester, Hampshire, England, died on 16 Nov 1272 in Abbey, Westminster, London, Middlesex, England and was buried on 20 Nov 1272 in Abbey, Westminster, London, Middlesex, England.)