FRANCIS LANCELOTT, ESQ.
Queens of England. Vol.1.
palace of Bermondscy, where, on the
twenty-eighth of February, 1155, their
second son, Henry, was born. Being de
sirous to ascertain, from personal obser
vation, the general condition of his
English subjects, Henry, accompanied
with Eleanora, made a progress, during
the summer, through the northern coun
ties. Meanwhile, he used every exer
tion to restore peace and prosperity to
the nation, which, during the reign of
Stephen, had been so devastated by civil
war and rapine, that whole villages were
left tcnantless, and trade was ruined.
With this view he destroyed those strongholds of robbery and crime, the castles. And after dismissing from the land the foreign mercenaries hired by Stephen to fight bis battles, men whose sole trade was war and plunder, he called a general meeting in parliament, of all the eminent clergy and nobility, and swore before them to re-establish the laws of Edward the Confessor, as confirmed by the charter of his grandsire Henry the First; and in return,the parliament acknowledged his infant sons as his heirs, the eldest of whom, William, shortly afterwards died, and was ceremoniously interred in the Abbey of Heading,
In 115G, Henry, with his Queen, crossed over to his continental possessions, when, after having done homage for his French dominions to his suzerain the King of France, he unjustly wrested Anjou from the grasp of his brother Geoffrey, and returned to England.
For a period nothing occurred to mar the happiness of tho gay Eleanora. Her English court, the most splendid, wealthy, and liberal in Europe, was visited by learned scholars and talented troubadours, who •'ctfmefrom afar over the sua, to seek the patronage of the renowned literary Queen." She kept court alternately at Westminster, Winchester, or Woodstock, and those crude dramatic entertainments, mysteries and miracles, played by clerks and divines, were her favourite amusement.
In 1156„ she gave birth to the Princess Matilda. In the September of the following year, her warrior son, Itichard Cœur de Eion, came into the world at
Beanmontc Castle, now amouldering ruin
in Oxford, and in September, 1159, she
presented her royal lord with their Prince
Geoffrey. In the year of his birth, tho
infant Geoffrey was betrothed to Con
stance, heiress of Brittany, then but
about two years old, by his politic father
King Henry, who having unjustly at
tacked the Bretons, soothed their wrath,
and added Brittany as another jewel to
the English crown by this marriage.
A few years after her arrival in Eng
land, the precise period has not been
chronicled, the domestic happiness of
Eleanora was destroyed by the heart
rending discovery that her royal lord had
wedded her, not as she had too fondly be
lieved for herself, but for her princely
possessions, and that his affections had
from his youth been devoted to another,
Her fair rival was the peerless beauty Rosamond Clifford, daughter of Walter, Lord Clifford, and known traditionally as Fair Rosamond. It was about the year 1149, that Henry first saw this beautiful maiden, and under a promise of marriage, a promise which his thirst for power and dominion prevented him from fulfilling, so completely won her heart, that she never once doubted his integrity, till apprized of his perfidy and her own shame by Queen Eleanora.
In 1153, Henry, who had returned to Normandy, again visited England, and renewing his acquaintance with Rosamond, he deceived her by a privately solemnized false marriage, and a short time afterwards she gave birth to their eldest born, William, surnamed " Long Sword," Earl of Salisbury. After Henry arrived in England with ileanora, Rosamond, who deeply loved him, and fondly believed herself his lawful and only bride, remained his willing captive in a secret chamber in the grounds of his palace at Woodstock. The circumstance which excited the suspicion of Eleonora, and led to the discovery of her rival's sylvan retreat is a singular one. The King was walking in the gardens of Woodstock, when the Queen observed a ball of silk attached to one of his spurs ; and as silk at that time was only used by persons of high rank, it excited her jealous suspicions. Presently the ball