Trashy Royals podcast

39. Eleanor of Aquitaine, Mother of Europe

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Eleanor's life was no less interesting following the death of Henry II. Rather than fade into the background, her son, King Richard I, instead made her his most powerful deputy in England while he went to the Holy Land on Crusade. In fact, Richard I was an extremely disinterested monarch and spent very little of his decade-long reign in the country. His brother, the future King John, at one point tried to raise and army and take the crown by force, but his mother put an end to that. Then there was the ransom of Richard the Lionheart, by Austrian Duke Leopold V. Eleanor personally traveled to negotiate with, and pay ransom to, Holy Roman emperor Henry VI. Eleanor's final years were spent in the reign of her youngest son, King John, during which she traveled among her children in Europe, arranging marriages for her granddaughters. By the time she died in 1204, at the age perhaps of 82, she had seeded her offspring among the royal houses of the continent, where they and their offspring would be players for generations to come. Listen ad-free at Learn more about your ad choices. Visit

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