Eleanor of England, Queen of Castile

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
  (Redirected from Leonora of England)
Jump to: navigation, search
For other people named Eleanor of England, see Eleanor of England (disambiguation).
For other people named Eleanor of Castile, see Eleanor of Castile (disambiguation).
Eleanor of England
Queen consort of Castile
Tenure September 1177 – 5 October 1214
Spouse Alfonso VIII of Castile
Berengaria, Queen of León and Castile
Urraca, Queen of Portugal
Blanche, Queen of France
Eleanor, Queen of Aragon
Henry I of Castile
House House of Plantagenet / Angevin[nb 1]
Father Henry II of England
Mother Eleanor of Aquitaine
Born (1162-10-13)13 October 1162
Domfront Castle, Normandy
Died 31 October 1214(1214-10-31) (aged 52)
Burgos, Castile
Burial Abbey of Santa Maria la Real de Huelgas, Burgos

Eleanor of England (Spanish: Leonor; 13 October 1162[1] – 31 October 1214[2]) was Queen of Castile and Toledo[3] as wife of Alfonso VIII of Castile.[4][5] She was the sixth child and second daughter of Henry II of England and Eleanor of Aquitaine[6] and received her first name as a namesake of her mother.[7]

She was born in the castle at Domfront, Normandy, and was baptised by Henry of Marcy. Her half-siblings were Marie and Alix of France, and her full siblings were Henry the Young King, Matilda, Richard the Lionheart, Geoffrey, Joan and John.

When she was 14 years old, before 17 September 1177, Eleanor was married to King Alfonso VIII of Castile in Burgos.[8][9] The marriage had been arranged some years earlier; the couple were betrothed in 1170 but, because of Eleanor’s youth at that time, the wedding was delayed. The purpose of the marriage was to secure Aquitaine’s Pyrenean border. It is often repeated that the duchy of Gascony was her dowry, but there is no historical foundation for that claim. It is highly unlikely that Henry II would have parted with so significant a portion of his domains. At most, Gascony may have been pledged as security for the full payment of his daughter’s dowry. Decades later, her great-grandson Alfonso X of Castile would claim the duchy on the grounds that her dowry had never been fully paid.

Of all Eleanor of Aquitaine’s daughters, her namesake was the only one who was enabled, by political circumstances, to wield the kind of influence her mother had exercised.[10] She was almost as powerful as Alfonso, who specified in his will that she was to rule alongside their son in the event of his death. It was she who persuaded him to marry their daughter Berengaria to Alfonso IX of León. Troubadours and sages were always present on Alfonso VIII’s court due to the Eleanor’s influence.

When Alfonso died, Eleanor was reportedly so devastated with grief that she was unable to preside over the burial. Their eldest daughter Berengaria instead performed these honours. Eleanor then took sick and died only twenty-eight days after her husband, and was buried at Abbey of Santa María la Real de Las Huelgas.[11]

Eleanor was played by Ida Norden in the silent film The Jewess of Toledo.[12]


Name Birth Death Notes
Infanta Berenguela (Berengaria) Burgos,
1 January/
June 1180
Las Huelgas near Burgos,
8 November 1246
Married firstly in Seligenstadt on 23 April 1188 with Duke Conrad II of Swabia, but the union (only by contract and never solemnised) was later annulled. Married in Valladolid between 1 and 16 December 1197 to Alfonso IX of León.[13] After their marriage was dissolved in 1204, she returned to her homeland and became regent of her minor brother Henry I. Queen of Castile in her own right after the death of Henry in 1217, she immediately abdicated in favour of her son Ferdinand III of Castile.
Infante Sancho Burgos,
5 April 1181
26 July 1181 Heir to the throne from birth, died aged three months.
Infanta Sancha 20/28 March 1182 3 February 1184/
16 October 1185
Died in early childhood.
Infante Enrique (Henry) July? 1182 bef. January 1184 Heir to the throne from birth, probably was twin with Sancha.
Infante Fernando (Ferdinand) bef. January 1184 1184? Heir to the throne from birth, he died shortly after birth or in early infancy.
Infante Sancho ca. 1185 1199 From dubious existence, he was placed in the Monastery of San Audito until his death, perhaps because was severely handicapped and thus ineligible for the succession.
Infanta Urraca 1186/
28 May 1187
3 November 1220
Married to Afonso II of Portugal.
Infanta Blanca (Blanche) Palencia,
4 March 1188
27 November 1252
Married in the Abbaye de Port-Mort near Pont-Audemer, Normandy on 23 May 1200 to Prince Louis, who succeeded his father in 1223 as King Louis VIII of France. Regent of the Kingdom of France during her son's minority (1226–1234) and during his absence on the Seventh Crusade.
Infante Fernando (Ferdinand) Cuenca,
29 September 1189
14 October 1211
Heir to the throne from birth. On his behalf, Diego of Acebo and the future Saint Dominic travelled to Denmark in 1203 to secure a bride[14] He died soon after returning from campaigning against the Moors.
Infanta Mafalda Plasencia,
Betrothed in 1204 to Infante Ferdinand of Leon, eldest son of King Alfonso IX and stepson of her oldest sister.
Infanta Constanza (Constance) 1195 Las Huelgas,
A nun at the Cistercian monastery of Santa María la Real at Las Huelgas in 1217, she later became abbess of her community.
Infanta Leonor (Eleanor) 1202 Las Huelgas,
Married to James I of Aragon.
King Enrique I (Henry I) of Castile Valladolid,
14 April 1204
6 June 1217
Only surviving son, he succeeded his father in 1214, aged ten, at first under the regency of his mother and later of his eldest sister Berengaria. He was killed by a tile falling off a roof.



  1. ^ Historians are divided in their use of the terms "Plantagenet" and "Angevin" in regards to Henry II and his sons. Some class Henry II to be the first Plantagenet King of England; others refer to Henry, Richard and John as the Angevin dynasty, and consider Henry III to be the first Plantagenet ruler.


  • Cerda, José Manuel, La dot gasconne d'Aliénor d'Angleterre. Entre royaume de Castille, royaume de France et royaume d'Angleterre, Cahiers de civilisation médiévale, ISSN 0007-9731, Vol. 54, Nº 215, 2011.
  • Rada Jiménez, Rodrigo. Historia de los hechos de España.
  • Weir, Alison. Britain's Royal Families: The Complete Genealogy. London: Vintage Books, 2008. ISBN 0-09-953973-X.

External links[edit]

Spanish royalty
Preceded by
Richeza of Poland
Queen consort of Castile
Succeeded by
Mafalda of Portugal
  1. ^ Abbreviationes Chronicorum
  2. ^ Annales Compostellani
  3. ^ Fraser, Antonia. The Middle Ages, A Royal History of England. University of California Press, 2000. ISBN 0-520-22799-9.
  4. ^ Crónica Latina, Anales Toledanos
  5. ^ Cerda, José Manuel, Leonor Plantagenet y la consolidación castellana en el reinado de Alfonso VIII, Anuario de Estudios Medievales, ISSN 0066-5061, 42.2, 2012.
  6. ^ José Manuel Cerda, The marriage of Alfonso VIII of Castile and Leonor Plantagenet: the first bond between Spain and England in the Middle Ages
  7. ^ Gillingham, John. "Events and Opinions: Norman and English Views of Aquitaine, c.1152–c.1204." The World of Eleanor of Aquitaine: Literature and Society in Southern France between the Eleventh and Twelfth Centuries, edd. Marcus Bull and Catherine Léglu. Woodbridge: Boydell Press, 2005. ISBN 1-84383-114-7.
  8. ^ Cawley, Charles, ENGLAND KINGS 1066-1603, Foundation for Medieval Genealogy, retrieved August 2012 
  9. ^ Weir, 64.
  10. ^ Wheeler, Bonnie, and Parsons, John Carmi. Eleanor of Aquitaine: Lord and Lady. Palgrave Macmillan, 2002. ISBN 0-230-60236-3.
  11. ^ Ricardo del Arco y Garay, Sepulcros de la Casa Real de Castilla
  12. ^ Eleanor of England, Queen of Castile at the Internet Movie Database
  13. ^ New international encyclopedia, Vol.13, (Dodd, Mead and Company, 1915), 782.
  14. ^ Vicaire. pp 89–98.