Vamp or victim?
By Express Features | Published: 05th December 2012 10:06 AM |
Presenting the turbulent life of Queen Eleanor, Dr Priya Ramachandran’s lecture on the British royale at Apparao Galleries recently, offered an insight into the glorious and dramatic story of the queen who was considered to be one of the most wealthiest and powerful rulers of the high middle ages.
It was the licentious period of early 1100 AD and the time when women were allowed to become rulers. Fifteen-year-old Eleanor of Aquitaine that is today part of France became the duchess and later queen of consort after marrying Louis VII, a monkish ruler of France. France was a tiny spot in comparison to its current size. The consequent annulment of her marriage and her marriage to Henry Plantagenet of Normandy, who happened to be her cousin within the third degree and nine years younger than her, led to an eventual turn of happening that made her infamous in history.
Touching upon the tumultuous life of the queen who was the patroness of such literary names like Wace, Benoît de Sainte-Maure, and Bernart de Ventadorn and belonged to the French House of Poitiers, the Ramnulfids, Dr Ramachandran engagingly took the audience through the tale of excesses, greed, astute leadership and retribution.
Interestingly, Queen Eleanor had outlived her children except for King John of England and Queen Eleanor of Castile.
In popular works, Queen Eleanor has been portrayed in a few landmark movies like Lion in Winter and Becket.
“She was earlier perceived as the vamp of the high middle ages, but it was only in the early 20th century that the historians portrayed her life in an empathetic light,” says Dr Ramachandran, a paediatrician at CHILDS Trust Hospital, who spent seven years researching on the life and times of the controversial figure. Part II of this series - War of the Roses will be presented in January 2013