Book Series Histoires de famille. La parenté au Moyen Age, vol. 16

The Daughters of Henry II and Eleanor of Aquitaine

Colette Bowie

  • Pages: 250 p.
  • Size:156 x 234 mm
  • Illustrations:3 b/w, 9 tables b/w.
  • Language(s):English
  • Publication Year:2014

  • ISBN: 978-2-503-54971-2
  • Paperback
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  • ISBN: 978-2-503-56076-2
  • E-book
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"The Daughters of Henry II and Eleanor of Aquitaine" makes a contribution to popular fields for investigation by medievalists today: childhood, emotions, families, marriage, and queenship. Because original sources are so scarce, the book is necessarily more a synthesis of recent scholarly writings than a work of archival research. The author's mastery of current trends in historical thinking is formidable." (Ralph Turner in: Sehepunkte 15, 2015, Nr. 3:

"Dennoch sind die vielen Synthesen, die Bowie in den Forschungsfeldern der Mentalitäts-, Familien- und Frauengeschichte bietet, durchaus beachtenswert." (Clara Harder, in: H-Soz-Kult, 02.12.2015,

"Colette Bowie hat dennoch eine insgesamt anregende, methodisch ambitionierte Studie vorgelegt und mit dem emotionsgeschichtlichen Erklärungsansatz neue Fragestellungen aufgeworfen. Darüber hinaus hat sie zahlreiche Einzelbeobachtungen zusammengetragen und bei der Diskussion um die Etablierung der Klöster in Fontevrault und Las Huelgas als Familiengrablegen eine weitere bemerkenswerte These formuliert, indem sie die Mutter Eleanor in ihren Bemühungen um die Aufrichtung einer dynastischen Grablege in Fontevrault durch ihre Tochter Leonor beeinflusst sieht." (Amalie Fößel, in: Francia-Recensio 2017/1

Mittelalter - Moyen Âge (500-1500)

ISSN: 2425-3510

« (…) le travail de C. Bowie constitue un apport important à l’historiographie et aux études médiévales, car il octroie à ces trois femmes du XIIe s. l’importance qu’elles méritent dans une étude comparative, qui est novatrice dans les thématiques qu’elle aborde et qui s’éloigne des traditionnelles approches biographiques qui sont souvent purement chronologiques. » (Jean Manuel Cerda , dans Cahiers de civilisation médiévale, 57, 2014, p. 462) 




Colette Bowie received her doctorate in 2011 from the University of Glasgow, where she currently holds affiliate status in the School of History.  She has presented research at a number of international conferences, and is a founding member of the recently-established “The Angevin World” research project. “The Daughters of Henry II and Eleanor of Aquitaine” is her first monograph.


The three daughters of Henry II and Eleanor of Aquitaine all undertook exogamous marriages which cemented dynastic alliances and furthered the political and diplomatic ambitions of their parents and their spouses. It might be expected that the choices made by Matilda, Leonor, and Joanna with regard to religious patronage and dynastic commemoration would follow the customs and patterns of their marital families, yet in many cases these choices appear to have been strongly influenced by ties to their natal family. Their involvement in the burgeoning cult of Thomas Becket, their patronage of Fontevrault Abbey, the names they gave to their children, and the ways in which they were buried, suggests that all three women were able, to varying degrees, to transplant Angevin family customs to their marital lands.

By examining the childhoods, marriages, and programmes of patronage and commemoration of Matilda, Leonor and Joanna, this monograph compares and contrasts the experiences of three high-profile twelfth-century royal women, and advances the hypothesis that there may have been stronger emotional ties within the Angevin dynasty than has previously been allowed for.



PART I: Carissima filia nostra: Birth, Childhood and Formative Education
Chapter 1. Birth and Childhood
Chapter 2. Medieval Emotions
Chaptre 3. Medieval Childhood

PART II: Satisfied as to her beauty: Marriage Negotiations and Political Motivations
Chapter 1. Matilda and Henry the Lion
Chapter 2. Leonor and Alfonso VIII of Castile
Chapter 3. Continuation of Angevin Marriage Policy
Chapter 4. Joanna and William II of Sicily
Chapter 5. Love and Marriage in the Twelfth Century

PART III: Bodas muy grandes: Marriage, Dowry and Dower Settlements
Chapter 1. Matilda, Duchess of Saxony
Chapter 2. Leonor, Queen of Castile
Chapter 3. Competing Queens and Conflicting Claims
Chapter 4. Joanna, Queen of Sicily

PART IV: The sins of the father: Endowment, Benefaction, and the Dissemination of the Cult of Thomas Becket
Chapter 1. From Denial to Appropriation
Chapter 2. The Role of Henry's Daughters
Chapter 3. Royal Women and Saints' Cults

CHAPTER V: For the health of our soul: Dynastic Connections, Nomenclature and Commemoration
Chapter 1. Dynastic Nomenclature
Chapter 2. Fontevrault, Patronage and Family Ties
Chapter 3. Burial Patterns and Dynastic Mausolea
Chapter 4. The Tombs at Fontevrault and Las Huelgas


Index of Names
Index of Places