The daughters of Henry II and Eleanor of Aquitaine: a comparative study of twelfth-century royal women
Bowie, Colette Marie
Doctor of Philosophy, School of History, University of Glasgow, April (2011)
This thesis compares and contrasts the experiences of the three daughters of Henry II and Eleanor of Aquitaine. Matilda, Leonor and Joanna all undertook exogamous marriages which cemented dynastic alliances and furthered the political and diplomatic ambitions of their parents. Their later choices with regards religious patronage, as well as the way they and their immediate families were buried, seem to have been influenced by their natal family, suggesting a coherent sense of family consciousness. To discern why this might be the case, an examination of the childhoods of these women has been undertaken, to establish what emotional ties to their natal family may have been formed at this time. The political motivations for their marriages have been analysed, demonstrating the importance of these dynastic alliances, as well as highlighting cultural differences and similarities between the courts of Saxony, Castile, Sicily and the Angevin realm. Dowry and dower portions are important indicators of the power and strength of both their natal and marital families,
and give an idea of their access to economic resources which could provide financial means for patronage. The thesis then examines the patronage and dynastic commemorations of Matilda, Leonor and Joanna, in order to discern patterns or parallels. Their possible involvement in the burgeoning cult of Thomas Becket, their patronage of Fontevrault Abbey, the names they gave to their children, and finally where and how they and their immediate families were buried, suggests that all three women were, to varying degrees, able to transplant Angevin family customs to their marital lands. The resulting study, the first of its kind to consider these women in an intergenerational context, advances the hypothesis that there may have been stronger emotional ties within the Angevin family than has previously been allowed for.