These statues mark the burial places of Henry II of England; his wife, Eleanor of Aquitaine; and their son
Richard I the Lion-Heart (Richard I seen above).
Richard I, King of England (08Sep1157 – 06Apr1199) was King of England and ruler of the Angevin Empire from 06Jul1189, until his death in 1199.
He was known as Richard the Lionheart, or Cœur de Lion, even before his accession because of his reputation as a military leader.
At 16, Richard had his own command, putting down rebellions in Poitou against his father, Henry II.
Richard was a central Christian commander during the Third Crusade, gaining victories against his Muslim counterpart, Saladin.
He spoke very little English - his first language was Occitan and spent very little time (6 months over a period of 10 years) in his Kingdom, preferring to use it as a source of revenue to support his continental armies.
In March 1199, Richard was in the Limousin suppressing a revolt by Viscount Aimar V of Limoges. He besieged the lightly armed castle of Chalus-Chabrol. When Richard was walking around the castle perimeter, without wearing his chain mail, while investigating the progress of sappers on the castle walls, a man who was standing on the walls aimed his crossbow at the king and an arrow struck him in the left shoulder near the neck... The wound became infected, then gangrenous and he died in the arms of his mother Eleanor of Aquitaine.
Isabella of Angoulême (French: Isabelle d'Angoulême, c.1188 – 4 June 1246) was queen consort of England
as the second wife of King John from 1200 until John's death in 1216.
There is no remaining corporal presence of Henry, Eleanor, Richard or the others on the site. Their remains
were probably destroyed during the French Revolution.
Henry II (5 March 1133 – 6 July 1189), also known as Henry Curtmantle (French: Court-manteau), Henry FitzEmpress or Henry Plantagenet, ruled as Count of Anjou, Count of Maine, Duke of Normandy, Duke of Aquitaine, Count of Nantes, King of England (1154–89) and Lord of Ireland; at various times, he also controlled Wales, Scotland and Brittany.
Henry was the son of Geoffrey of Anjou and Matilda, daughter of Henry I of England.
He became actively involved by the age of 14 in his mother's efforts to claim the throne of England, then occupied by Stephen of Blois, and was made Duke of Normandy at 17.
He inherited Anjou in 1151 and shortly afterwards married Eleanor of Aquitaine, whose marriage to Louis VII of France had recently been annulled.
Henry was an energetic and sometimes ruthless ruler. By 1172, he controlled England, large parts of Wales, the eastern half of Ireland and the western half of France.
He was the first of the House of Plantagenet to rule England.
Henry and Eleanor had eight children. His legitimate children, chroniclers record him saying, were "the real bastards".
He retreated to Chinon in Anjou, where he died while suffering from a bleeding ulcer in 1189. Richard, Henry's oldest living son, was crowned Richard I of England on 01Sep1189.
Eleanor of Aquitaine (French: Aliénor/Éléonore; 1122 or 1124 – 01Apr1204) was one of the wealthiest and most powerful women in western Europe during the High Middle Ages.
She became Duchess of Aquitaine in her own right while she was still a child, then later Queen consort of France (1137–1152) and of England (1154–1189).
Eleanor married King Louis VII of France. As Queen of France, she participated in the unsuccessful Second Crusade. Soon after, Eleanor sought an annulment of her marriage, but her request was rejected by Pope Eugene III. However, after the birth of her second daughter Alix, Louis agreed to an annulment in consideration of her failure to bear a son after fifteen years of marriage.
As soon as the annulment was granted, Eleanor became engaged to Henry, Duke of Normandy, who became King Henry II of England in 1154 and were married 18May1152.
Over the next 13 years, she bore Henry eight children: five sons, three of whom would become kings; and three daughters. However, Henry and Eleanor eventually became estranged. Henry imprisoned her in 1173 for supporting her son Henry's revolt against her husband, and she was not released until 1189 when Henry died (on 6 July), and their son ascended the English throne as Richard I.
Eleanor acted as regent while Richard went on the Third Crusade where he was captured and held prisoner. Eleanor lived well into the reign of her youngest son John.
She died in 1204 and her tomb effigy she is depicted reading a book, a mark of her great culture, the ability to read being exceptional for a layman and even more for a woman in an age when the church discouraged all learning!
Jean Plaidy has written about her in several novels. 'Courts of Love' is written from a first person perspective in Plaidy's Queens of England series, and in The Plantagenet Saga, Eleanor of Aquitaine is featured in 'The Plantagenet Prelude', 'Revolt of the Eaglets', 'The Heart of the Lion', and 'Prince of Darkness'.