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Middle Ages
Eleanor of Aquitaine



Eleanor of Aquitaine
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 5 to 7
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   8.09

Vocabulary
     challenging words:    fief, plotted, queenly, crusade, revolt, wealthy, various, participate, plots, successful, throne, poetry, kings, marriage, murder, legendary
     content words:    Middle Ages, Louis VII, Holy Land, Henry Plantagenet, Henry II, Queen Eleanor, King Henry, Thomas Becket, King Richard, When Richard


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Eleanor of Aquitaine
By Sharon Fabian
  

1     Eleanor inherited Aquitaine at the age of 15. Aquitaine was a large, rich fief - one of the best in Europe. This inheritance began Eleanor's career as one of the wealthiest and most powerful people of the Middle Ages, but it was only the beginning.
 
2     While still a teenager, Eleanor married Louis, who would very soon become Louis VII, King of France. Eleanor became queen of France.
 
3     Eleanor wasn't one to just sit around and look queenly; she was very involved in the running of the country. When she heard that Louis was planning a crusade, she offered the services of thousands of vassals from Aquitaine, but there was a catch. Eleanor planned to join the crusade herself, along with three hundred other women. This was during a time when men ruled and only men rode out to do battle, but they made an exception for Eleanor. Maybe they didn't want to lose the extra troops that she offered, but for whatever reason, Eleanor and her ladies were permitted to join the crusade. Eleanor suited up in battle gear and rode out on her white horse. She and her ladies must have been an unusual sight in the year 1144 as they marched to the Holy Land.
 
4     Eleanor and Louis's marriage ran into problems during the crusade, and when they returned to France, their marriage was annulled. Soon afterwards, Eleanor married Henry Plantagenet. Henry was eleven years younger than Eleanor, but he was about to become Henry II, King of England.
 
5     The marriage of Henry and Eleanor united the lands of England and Aquitaine. Henry II and his Queen Eleanor ruled a vast kingdom.

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