Friday, September 7, 2007

For other Eleanors of England, see Eleanor of England (disambiguation)
Queen Leonora (October 13, 1162October 31, 1214), was born as Princess Eleanor of England (and Aquitaine) and became Leonora, Queen of Castile as wife of Alfonso VIII of Castile.
She was born in Domfront Castle, Normandy. She was the sixth child and second daughter of King Henry II of England and his wife Queen Eleanor of Aquitaine. Her godfather was the chronicler Robert of Torigny, who had a special interest in her and recorded her life as best he could. She received her first name as a namesake of her mother, whose name "Eleanor" (or Alienor) had previously been unrecorded though may have been related to the Greek Helen or the Italian Elena. Another view holds that in the Occitan language, Eleanor simply meant "the other Aenor," since Eleanor of Aquitaine was named for her mother, called Aenor.
Eleanor was a younger maternal half-sister of Marie de Champagne and Alix of France. She was a younger sister of William, Count of Poitiers, Henry the Young King, Matilda of England, Richard I of England and Geoffrey II, Duke of Brittany. She was also an older sister of Joan of Sicily and John of England.
When she was eight years old, in 1170, she was married to Alfonso VIII. The marriage was arranged to secure the Pyrennean border, with Gascony offered as her dowry.
Of all Eleanor of Aquitaine's daughters, her namesake Eleanor (who was called Leonor by her Spanish subjects) best inherited her mother's political influence. She reigned alongside her husband, 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 Berenguela to the king of Leon in the interest of peace.
When Alfonso died, his queen was reportedly so devastated with grief that she was unable to preside over the burial. Their daughter Berenguela instead performed these honors. Leonora then took sick and died only twenty-eight days after her husband, and was buried at Abbey de las Huelgas, in Burgos.

Children of Leonora and Alfonso
Leonora of England
Berenguela, Queen of Castile (August 1180 - 8 November 1246), married King Alfonso IX of Leon
Sancho of Castile (born & died 1181)
Sancha of Castile (1182 - 3 February 1184)
Henry of Castile (born & died 1184)
Urraca, princess of Castile (1186-1220), married King Alfonso II of Portugal
Blanca of Castile (4 March 1188 - 26 November 1252), married King Louis VIII of France
Fernando of Castile (29 September 1189 - 1211)
Mafalda of Castile (1191-1204)
Constance of Castile (1195-1198)
Leonor of Castile (1200-1244), married King James I of Aragon
Constanza, nun at Las Huelgas (1201-1243)
Henry I, King of Castile (14 April 1204 - 1217)