SPARE PICTURES

There are actually a huge number of Eleanor-related images, and I only had room for a few of my favourites in the book. Here are some of those which didn't make the cut ...
 
 
Ferdinand III of Castile

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A lovely image of Ferdinand III of Castile, flanked by the arms of Castile and Leon.  It may just be me, but I think one can see a resemblence between his brow, eye, and nose, and those of Eleanor on her tomb effigy in Westminster Abbey

Charles of Anjou - how are the mighty fallen ....

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When I went to visit Ste Chapelle I was very keen to see Charles' giseant - and very puzzled to find he was not near his niece in law Isabelle of Aragon (whose image will appear in the book), but tucked away amongst the dead royal babies.  The reason is that being a viscera or heart tomb (it's recorded as the viscera tomb, but he is pictured carrying his heart) it is a "scaled down" tomb, making him child size.  So the self proclaimed latter day Caesar spends his life surrounded by school trips (see top left corner).  It couldn't happen to a nicer man.

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Eleanor's cousin the Empress?

Also at Ste Chapelle we can find an image which is claimed to be that of Marie of Brienne, daughter of the great Jean of Brienne and his wife, Eleanor's aunt Berengaria of Leon.

Marie was married to the Emperor of Constantinople, for whom Jean was acting as Regent - the last chapter in his adventurous and distinguished career.  The effigy is mysterious however - in some ways it seems more likely that Marie occupies an enigmatic tomb in Assisi. Some have suggested that this image is that of Marie of Eu, a Brienne by her marriage to Jean's son Alphonse - but the crown makes that unlikely.  Whichever it is, it is a lovely tomb ...

The Hardingstone Cross

 

There will be a few pictures of the Hardingstone Cross in the book, so there definitely won't be room for these pictures from the Vetusta Monumenta survey of the late eighteenth century. It can be seen that at this stage the monument had been given a replacement cross for its top storey - later removed in the nineteenth century renovations.  One of the very striking things to note, however, is the difference in surroundings - the cross is now hemmed in on two sides by towering trees - the saplings in the background of this picture ...

 

 

Below can be seen the detail portions of the survey.  They have a painstaking accuracy which completely misrepresent the actual figures, each of which seems to speak of Eleanor in a different mood ...

The Hardingstone cross then and now

Below we have a comparison of the images which now appear on the Hardingstone Cross with their representations in the Vetusta Monumenta depiction of the late eighteenth century.  Despite the painstaking nature of the work, it is clear that the character of the figures has escaped the artist and that even three centuries later a far more characterful depiction can be discerned

Eleanor's fondness for her arms

Two examples from the surviving crosses of the repeated iteration of Eleanor's arms: the castles and lions of Castile and Leon, lining up with Eleanor's arms as countes of Ponthieu.

In the Hardingstone cross on the left there is the added feature of the book.  Commonly thought to represent a  plea to passers-by to pray for Eleanor, it may well actually reference Eleanor's own obsession with books - a part of the very personal tribute which the crosses represent

Eleanor of Castile's letters at the National Archives

One of the thrilling things about researching the book was the chance to actually visit the National Archives at Kew and get my hands on some of Eleanor's letters, and some of those of Eleanor of Provence. The excitement of flicking through the actual letters of two thirteenth century queens was pretty overwhelming! One of the key letters is reproduced professionally for the illustrations section of the book.  But here are some of my own snaps of  the letters I examined.  As you will see, some of them have weathered the 800 years which have passed since they were written better than others ...