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"Because Father has no male heir to succeed him, I will inherit the duchy of Aquitaine. Oh, how my heart pounded at his words. My courage failed me. I did not ask if he would hunt for the men who plotted to kidnap us. Or who he thinks should be my husband. Even now, as I write this by the side of my bed, I am trembling."
Eleanor[2]

Eleanor: Crown Jewel of Aquitaine is the thirteenth book in The Royal Diaries by Scholastic. It was written by Kristiana Gregory and is her second book in the series after Cleopatra VII: Daughter of the Nile. The book was released in November 2002. It was followed by Barry Denenberg's Elisabeth: The Princess Bride in April 2003.

The story follows thirteen-year-old Eleanor before she becomes Duchess of Aquitaine.

Dedication[]

"With love to my favorite research companions, my patient sons, Greg and Cody."

Book description[]

"June 24th
Such excitement...the horsemen announced travelers, and Count Geoffrey of Anjou arrived an hour later with some of his chevaliers. Petra and I peered from the stairs down to the great hall and saw the visitors. I decided we must put on our loveliest dresses right away. The count is taller and even more striking than Father... Geoffrey the Handsome is our name for him. When he pushed back his hood of chainmail, his hair fell to his shoulders in brown curls. The tunic over his armor was blue with a golden crest. He and Father greeted each other warmly...
The reason for Count Geoffrey's visit? He has invited Father to go to war. He is just twenty-three-years old and needs help invading Normandy.
And without thinking twice, Father said yes! I worry he has made another terrible decision....
"

"Author of Scholastic's best-selling Royal Diaries title, Cleopatra VII, Kristiana Gregory now takes readers to twelfth-century France and introduces Eleanor of Aquitaine, who becomes queen at age 15.
June 24th
Such excitement...Count Geoffrey of Anjou arrived at the castle with some of his chevaliers. Petra and I peered from the stairs down to the great hall and saw the visitors. The count is taller and even more striking than Father. When he pushed back his hood of chainmail, his hair fell to his shoulders in brown curls. The tunic over his armor was blue with a golden crest. He and Father greeted each other warmly.
The reason for Count Geoffrey's visit? He has invited Father to go to war. He is just 23-years old and needs help invading Normandy.
And without thinking twice, Father said yes! I worry he has made another terrible decision....
"

Plot[]

In April 1136, thirteen-year-old Eleanor starts writing in a diary, a gift from her Grandmère to "describe the longings of [her] heart." She starts by writing about her crush on the knight, Clotaire the Strong. Unfortunately, Eleanor is expected to marry a noble one day. Her father is William X, the Duke of Aquitaine, which makes him nearly as powerful as the King of France. She lost her mother and younger brother six years previously and her father has not yet remarried. Eleanor's father has also been feuding with the church for the past several years. Father Bernard convinces William X to stop supporting the Antipope, which sparks a change within him. Eleanor is hopeful that he will stop fighting with others.

Later, William informs Eleanor and her twelve-year-old sister Petronilla "Petra" of his engagement to Emma of Cognac. However, shortly before the planned wedding, William's enemy the Count of Angoulême kidnaps Emma and marries her himself. Eleanor is secretly relieved, having been worried about having a stepmother. William decides to go on "ducal progress," traveling around his lands, to take his mind off what happened. At Talmont, Eleanor is harassed by the Baron of Lezay whom acts like he owns the castle. Soon, Count Geoffrey of Anjou arrives and invites William to invade Normandy with him. Eleanor wants to go with her father, but he says no. He later departs, leaving his daughters at Talmont.

While their father is away, Eleanor and Petronilla are the targets of a kidnapping plot. Clotaire and the other knights save the girls, but the mastermind of the plot is never caught though Eleanor suspects Lezay. In August, their father returns a changed man. He regrets taking part in the war and now plans on taking a pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela. Since the journey will be dangerous, William makes arrangements for Eleanor to succeed him. He also writes to the King of France, asking him to take care of Eleanor if he dies. The family stays in Poitiers for the winter. One day, Eleanor catches Petronilla reading her diary. She does not stay angry for long and later gives her her own diary during the holidays.

In February 1137, Eleanor and Petronilla are placed in the care of Archbishop Geoffrey du Loroux at Bordeaux before their father departs for his pilgrimage. In May, word of William's death reaches them. The Archbishop immediately writes to the King of France, whom then sends his son Louis the Younger to wed Eleanor. Louis arrives in mid-July. Eleanor is uneasy about the match at first, but feels better after being alone with Louis. They are wed on July 25 and leave during the banquet to bypass her father's enemies. After reaching Poitiers, Louis departs for Talmont which Lezay has attempted to seize. He returns victorious and learns of his father's death, making him and Eleanor the King and Queen of France.

Epilogue[]

In Paris, Eleanor found her life as Queen of France to be "difficult." Louis was not a "gallant knight" and instead returned to his religious studies, preferring the "life of a monk." When Louis agreed to lead the Second Crusade, Eleanor demanded to go with him. Leaving in June 1147, the journey took two and a half years. The stress only served to "further erode" their marriage. Upon their return, Eleanor had their marriage annulled. Louis took custody of their daughters, Marie and Alix. Petronilla fell in love with Count Ralph of Vermandois, whom was already married. Wanting her sister to be happy, Eleanor arranged for his marriage to be annulled. They had a son, who died of leprosy, and two daughters.

At thirty, Eleanor married the nineteen-year-old Henry of Anjou, later crowned King Henry II of England. The pair had eight children and their marriage was initially peaceful. Unfortunately, having several sons meant many potential heirs. Eleanor's involvement in these "intrigues" lead to Henry II imprisoning her. Their sons, Henry, Richard, Geoffrey, and John each plotted against their father. Henry II died in 1189 and Richard "the Lionheart," Eleanor's favorite son, became King. After Richard's own death, Eleanor fought for John's right to the throne. Her final days are "blank" though some say that she became a nun 1202. She was entombed at Fontevrault Abbey beside her husband Henry and son Richard.

Historical Note[]

Eleanor of Aquitaine was the eldest daughter of the Duke of Aquitaine, William X. When Eleanor was eight, her mother and younger brother William Aigret died within months of each other. William X died suddenly when Eleanor was fifteen, leaving her the vast territory of Aquitaine. She was immediately betrothed to Louis VII whom became King of France after his father's death. Eleanor would be Queen of France and later of England. She died at eighty-two, a remarkable age for someone in the Middle Ages. The note also thoroughly discusses Eleanor's education, which was rare for a girl even of her rank to receive at the time. Other topics are French dialects, the legends of King Arthur, and food of the twelfth century.

The section includes "The Capet-Plantagenet Family Tree," which lists Eleanor's immediate family with short descriptions of each. Eleven pictures follow, including one taken by the author of a crystal vase. The vase is the only known surviving artifact of Eleanor. A map of the Duchy of Aquitaine rounds out the section.

Characters[]

Main article: List of Eleanor: Crown Jewel of Aquitaine characters
  • Eleanor is the eldest child of William X, the Duke of Aquitaine. She is free-spirited and fun-loving, which often earns her scoldings from her Grandmère who wants her to be ladylike.
  • Petronilla "Petra", Eleanor's beloved younger sister whom is also her best friend. She is similar to Eleanor in many ways, but often bolder in her actions than her older sister.

Author[]

Main article: Kristiana Gregory

Kristiana Gregory is an American children's author whom has written over thirty books. She is the author of three books in The Royal Diaries, including Cleopatra VII: Daughter of the Nile and Catherine: The Great Journey. Gregory also wrote five books in Dear America and three in My America. In the "About the Author" section, she said "It was a lot of fun imagining a fourteen-year-old girl living during the Middle Ages." For research, Gregory visited France a few times, including once with her son's French class. During another trip, she went with her other son to the Louvre in Paris to see the only known surviving artifact of Eleanor.[3]

Editions[]

Acknowledgements[]

"Much appreciation to Father John F. Donoghue, Diocese of Boise, Idaho, for his colorful explanations and insights into the twelfth-century Roman Catholic Church: and to Annie Anderson, a good friend and careful reader."

Notes[]

References[]

See also[]



External links[]

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