Eleanor of Castile: The Shadow Queen: Additional Materials
Although my biography of Eleanor is already pretty long, there were a number of things for which we didn't quite have room. This page, and its subpages, are devoted to those extra bits and pieces. The idea is that it will gradually pick up extra family trees and maps, and other material which will be useful as you read the book. Keep checking back, as it will be a work in progress!
I had already decided on the title "The Shadow Queen" before I visited Geddington and Hardingstone. But when I reviewed the pictures, this one of Geddington seemed particularly apposite - Eleanor determinedly hides behind the framework of the cross, almost challenging you to try to see her properly ....
The French Dimension: Family tree
There is a reasonable amount in the book about the French royal family as it descends from Louis VII (here pictured with wife No 3, Alix of Blois and the infant Philip Augustus) and its various offshoots, and its overlappings with the English and Castilian royal families. However there wasn't quite enough to justify actually incuding a family tree. But in case anyone finds it useful, here is taht family tree. Formatted only by me, I am afraid, so less lovely than the professional version!
The Castilian family tree
There is a similar isue with the Castilian family, too. For one thing, Eleanor had a seemingly endless supply of brothers - so much so that it is easy to lose track. And then they all fell out - leading to political issues with which she had to deal. I was rather aware as I wrote some of it, that if I were reading the book rather than writing it, my head might well be spinning. So here is an attempt to unpick the Castilian and Leonese family tree:
I don't believe that the resemblence between the Eagle Tower at Caernarfon and the Castilian arms is an accident.
Of course the Eagle Tower was not completed until well into Edward II's reign, but its polygonal layout must have been part of the original design, and three floors were completed in the first year. So someone - in my view Eleanor - conspired with Master James of St George to produce a fairly clear homage to the Castilian royal arms. The detailed reasoning is set out in the document below.
I have mentioned in the book that Eleanor's property acquisitions led to her becoming a major landlord, and that she co-ordinated her purchases with her proposed dower assignment.
This map gives a rough impression of what I mean.
The black dots are parts of the 1275 dower.
The yellow patches are areas in which Eleanor acquired multiple properties. Ultimately she had over 200 properties yielding over £2,000 annually - the equivalent of a major lordship.
Eleanor's property empire
- an overview
Eleanor's final journey - summer-autumn 1290
In late July 1290 Eleanor commenced what was to be her final journey. Although I have explained in the book some of the reasoning behind my view that she was, at this point, already dying, in my view the point is strongly conveyed by following her steps through that final summer. This illustration, and the document below, which accompanes it, attempt to do just that.
Eleanor's successor - Marguerite of France c1279-1318
Not much is known about Eleanor's successor, Marguerite of France, sister of Philippe IV - she tends to get overshadowed by Eleanor or melded into the other French Margaret - Margaret of Anjou. Here, I have tried to piece together a fuller account of her life than has previously been done
To celebrate the 900th anniversary of Leeds Castle, here is a short piece about Eleanor's love affair with the castle - it appears that like so many visitors since, she fell in love with it at first sight!