Eleanor of Castile (1246-1290)
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Eleanor of Castile (1246-1290)

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We cannot cease to love our consort now that she is dead, whom we loved so dearly when alive.
Her husband, Edward, in a note written at the time of her death.

Additional Information on
Eleanor of Castile (1246-1290)

The arranged marriage, for political reasons, of the ten-year-old Infanta to the tall handsome fifteen-year-old Edward became one of English royal history's great romances. After the marriage she was immediately parted from her new husband and the marriage was not consummated for at least another three years. As they could not bear to be apart, Eleanor accompanied her husband on all his expeditions to fight the Scots, Welsh and French which was very hard on her health and on that of her children. She bore Edward at least fourteen children of whom only five, four girls and their son Edward, later given the title Prince of Wales, survived to adulthood. He was the first to be given this honour, since conferred on every royal firstborn son, and was even brought up by a Welsh nurse.

Eleanor was an excellent queen and wife, helping her husband and moderating his fiery temper. Her good influence continued for all of their 36 years of marriage.

One of their daughters, Joanne of Arc, born during the Seventh Crusade, was married in 1290 to Gilbert de Clare, Earl of Gloucester, the most powerful noble in England. A descendant of this marriage was Thomas Dudley, who was an early settler in America and became Governor of Massachusetts. Many Americans are thus connected to the Royal Family.

Soon after the marriage, Edward had to travel north to fight the Scots and on the way, in Nottinghamshire, Eleanor became ill and died in Edward's arms. He was inconsolable, abandoned his plans to go north and returned with her coffin to London. At every night's resting post (eleven in all) he ensured that a stone cross was erected with her likeness on it. The locations are so named even today, for instance Charing Cross in London. She was placed in a tomb in Westminster Abbey topped with a bronze sculpture of her by William Torell. She remembered everyone, even her lowliest servants, in her will.


To our nation she was a loving mother, the column and pillar of the whole nation.
- Epitaph.

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