S2, Ep 9 Eleanor of Aquitaine, The Matriarch: Sara Cockerill (1199)

In this captivating episode of Travels Through Time, we venture back to the year 1199 to see Eleanor of Aquitaine, one of the great operators of the High Middle Ages, at the peak of her powers.

Eleanor is a remarkable character. She was queen of France and England and the mother of two English kings. One chronicler, describing her in late life, asserted that she was, “a matchless woman, beautiful yet chaste, powerful and modest, meek yet eloquent … whose power was the admiration of her age.”

But how much of this was reputation and what was the reality?

Our quest to answer this riddle begins in early spring 1199 when Eleanor’s son King Richard I, “the Lionheart”, is struck in the shoulder by a stray shotgun arrow. Richard’s wound swiftly becomes gangrenous. With death imminent, and the fate of his kingdom uncertain, Richard sends for his mother.

Today’s guest Sara Cockerill guides us, in three scenes, through the dramatic and uncertain sequence of events that follows.

Show notes:

Scene one: 6 April 1199, near Limousin, France. Deathbed of Richard the Lionheart

Scene two: 20 July 1199 Tours. Eleanor at the age of 65 performing homage to Philip Augustus.

Scene three: Autumn 1199. Fontevraud, Aquitaine. Eleanor burying her daughter Joanna.

Memento: A gold ring with a sapphire inset, inscribed with the letters R A.

Sara Cockerill’s book, Eleanor of Aquitaine: Queen of France, Queen of England, Mother of Empires is available in hardback now.

People / Social

Presenter: Peter Moore

Guest: Sara Cockerill

Producer: Maria Nolan

Digital Production: John Hillman

Titles: Jon O.