Eleanor of Castile, Queen of England

Born: 1241

Castile, Spain

Died: November 28, 1290

Harby, Nottinghamshire, England (Age 49)

Eleanor in History

The daughter of Ferdinand III of Castile, Eleanor very much resembled her predecessor and mother-in-law, Eleanor of Provence, wife of King Henry III, in the fact that she was a strong, ambitious woman, with a taste for wealth. Eleanor first journeyed to England in 1255 to marry Prince Edward, the heir to the English throne. She was held captive with Henry III during the Baron's War, led by Simon de Montfort (1263), but was released after the rebel's defeat at Evesham (1265), thanks mainly to her husband and mother-in-law, and shared in the forfeited lands that the rebels left behind. In 1270, Eleanor accompanied her husband to the Holy Land, but left for England when they heard of the death of Henry III. The couple did not return to England to be crowned though, until 1274. As queen, Eleanor was known for her lavish lifestyle and for the fact that she brutally taxed the tenants who lived in the vast lands in her possession, drawing criticism from the clergy in the process. Unlike her mother-in-law, Eleanor seems to have played a very small part in governmental affairs, showing how much stronger a king Edward I was then his father, who was practically led by his wife. By 1287, the queen had contracted a sickness of some sort, that led to her slow decline; she died in 1290.

Eleanor in Peele

Appears in: Edward I

Queen Eleanor is portrayed as a woman who has extremely lavish tastes and who acts condescendingly, in many ways, to those around her - including the king himself. She gives birth to a son, Prince Edward, while in Wales and becomes sick and dies shortly after the birth. Historically, Prince Edward was not born until 1284, two years after Llywelyn's death, and the queen herself did not die until 1290, six years after the prince's birth and eight years after the death of Llywelyn. All in all though, the portrayal of Queen Eleanor as a woman who is much loved by her husband but who is infatuated with wealth and luxury is strikingly similar to that of her the historical figure. This can be considered one of the few historical accuracies within Edward I.


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