When I look back over my long and tempestuous life, I can see that much of what happened to me-my triumphs and most of my misfortunes-was due to my passionate relationships with men. I was a woman who considered herself their equal-and in many ways their superior-but it seemed that I depended on them, while seeking to be the dominant partner-an attitude which could hardly be expected to bring about a harmonious existence. Eleanor of Aquitaine was revered for her superior intellect, extraordinary courage, and fierce loyalty. She was equally famous for her turbulent relationships, which included marriages to the kings of both France and England. As a child, Eleanor reveled in her beloved grandfather's Courts of Love, where troubadours sang of romantic devotion and passion filled the air. In 1137, at the age of fifteen, Eleanor became Duchess of Aquitaine, the richest province in Europe. A union with Louis VII allowed her to ascend the French throne, yet he was a tepid and possessive man and no match for a young woman raised in the Courts of Love.
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May 22, 2006
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Excerpt from The Courts of Love by Jean Plaidy
In the Courts of Love
When I look back over my long and tempestuous life, I can see that much of what happened to me--my triumphs and most of my misfortunes--was due to my passionate relationships with men. I was a woman who considered herself their equal--and in many ways their superior--but it seemed that I depended on them, while seeking to be the dominant partner--an attitude which could hardly be expected to bring about a harmonious existence.
I inherited my good looks and fiery passionate nature from my forebears--and my surroundings no doubt played a big part in forming my character, for until I was five years old I lived at the Court of my grandfather, the notorious William IX of Aquitaine, poet, king of the troubadours, adventurer, lecher, founder of the "Courts of Love," and the most fascinating man of his day.
It was true that I knew him when he was past his adventuring and had reached that stage when a man who has lived as he had is casting uneasy eyes toward the life hereafter and forcing himself into reluctant penitence; but, all the same, even to my youthful eyes, he was an impressive figure. Engraved on my memory forever are those evenings in the great hall when I sat entranced watching the tumblers and listening to the jongleurs--and most of all hearing my grandfather himself singing songs of his exploits in those days when he was a lusty young man, roaming abroad in search of love. I thought him godlike.