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FRANCIS LANCELOTT, ESQ. Queens of England. Vol.1.

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FRANCIS LANCELOTT, ESQ.
Queens of England. Vol.1.
page 72



"With this view, she is said to have made overtures of love to Geoffrey, Count of Anjou, and husband to the Empress Matilda, when ho visited the court of France in 1150, to do homage for Normandy. It, however, appears probable that her captivator was not Geoffrey, who was then a married man, but his son Henry, the recognised heir to the English crown, who had accompanied his father, and who she then saw for the first time. This conjecture is supported by the fact that, about twenty months afterwards, when Geoffrey died, Henry, Who was not yet in his twentieth year, again visited France, to do homage for Normandy and Anjou, when Eleanora made advances to him that ended in an intimacy which placed her in that position that, for her virtue's sake, she found it expedient to immediately apply for a divorce, which she did under a plea that Louis was her fourth cousin. Political ambition had doubtless induced the youthful Henry to secure Eleanora as his prize, as with her hand he would obtain the sway over the seven fairest provinces in France, which, added to his own patrimonial possessions of Normandy and Anjou, would render him more powerful than his suzerain, the French. King, and place him in a position to enforce his rights in England against the most mighty of foes. Louis, unswayed by the wise counsel of the upright Abbot Sugcr, who was now dead, severely reprimanded his Queen for her indulgency with Henry, and mustering a large army, went into Aquitaine, and laid siege to several castles. But finding the powrer of the south greater than his own, he, after a few futile efforts, returned, and, making a virtue of necessity, restored to his Queen her patrimonial dominions, and willingly consented to the divorce, which was finally pronounced by an assemblage of the bishops at Baugenci, in March, 1152, not on the ground that the Queen wras an adultress, as is too commonly stated, but because she and her royal lord were fourth cousins. Louis and Eleanora were both present when the divorce was published, and being heartily tired of each other, they hailed with rapture the decision which severed their marriage tie, and left them again free. By her marriage with King Louie, Eleanora had two daughters—Marie and Alice, CHAPTEE II. Eleonora returns to Aquitaine—Thibaut, Count of Bloise, endeavours to marry Her by force—Her escape—She is waylaid by Geoffrey Flantagenet—Reaches her own dominions in safely—Marries Henry Flantagcnet—Her court in Normandy—The Kings of England and France league against her husband—She enables him te proceed to England—Treaty of Wailingford—Henry's narrow escape at Barham Downs—Return to Normandy—Death of Stephen—Henry succeeds to the English crown—Coronation of Henry and Eleanora—Birth of their son Henry—-Eleanords court and amusements—Her children—Her jealousy—Henry s love for Fair Rosamond—She is discovered by the Queen—Enters a nunnery—Dies—Her being poisoned a fiction—Eleanora again reconciled to Henry—Marriage of her sons Henry and Richard—Parentage, education, and elevation of Thomas à liecket —He is assassinated—Is canonized—The King deplores his martyrdom. MMEDIATELY on rights of the person were but little rebeing released from spected, many a haughty baron stood the bondage which ready to seize her, and, by a forced marso long fretted and riage, possess himself of the "great annoyed her, the elaProvince dower." ted Eleanora proThibaut, Count of Blois, and a broceeded on her way ther of King Stephen, at whose castle to her southern ter-she on her way southward tarried for α ntorles, But, as in those rude days the short time, offered her his hand in mar


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