The "Queeny Park Queens Rule!" Series -
Eleanor of Aquitaine.
This is the fifth in the series.
NOTICE: The Queens have returned from their winter's excursion at long last!
They are ready to receive visitors once again!
This series features a set of historic Queens.
I selected "Queens" as the theme, because, obviously, the very name of
the park just begged for that (even if Queeny is simply the
last name of the man that originally owned the land there)!
Anyway, Some of the Queens that I chose to honor may be familiar to
some of you; others may be unfamiliar to most.
That is because, in selecting the queens, I attempted
to satisfy a number of things.
First, I wanted the queens to be true rulers. That is, not only were
these women titular queens, they also had
power and responsibility of rulership during at least some
part of their tenure.
Second, I wanted to select a variety of queens from relatively recent history,
as well as some from distant to ancient times.
Third, I wanted these queens to be considered rather more
"historic" than "mythological."
Fourth, I wanted to try and repesent queens from various
continents and cultures.
This final criterion was particularly difficult to satisfy, since
our western culture offers us far more historical material to work with
in some areas, and very little in others.
In any case, these are all fabulous women who had fascinating
lives, and I hope you enjoy learning a bit about each of them!
How this works:
I have planted 7 Queen letterboxes, plus one final box.
Each of the 7 Queen boxes will stand on its own, so you can track down any one of them,
in any order, and stamp in for as many or as few of them as you choose.
However, this is also a series. So, for those of you that wish to collect
all 7, you have a further reward you can attain. I have also planted
a final letterbox, which may be viewed as the "crowning glory"
(um... pun intended ;-) of the series.
The final letterbox requires that you find all the others first, and once you
do that, the full instructions for the final one will become available to you.
Featured Queen V - Eleanor of Aquitaine
This Queen lived during 1122 - 1204 AD.
Eleanor was born in France in 1122 AD, and was heiress to Poitou, Aquitaine and Gascony
(nearly 1/3 of France) by the age of eight.
At age 15 she was married to Louis the Fat, whose father died within a week of the
wedding. Thus Louis and Eleanor became King and Queen of France at ages 16 and 15.
As Queen of France, she changed the culture of court by bringing in courtiers, troubadours,
and minstrels. She was a great patron of the arts, and loved poetry and romance.
She accompanied her husband Louis on a crusade, leading 300 women who joined their husbands for the cause.
After this crusade, which was not only unsuccessful but stressful for her marriage,
she and Louis divourced in 1152. That same year she remarried.
Her new husband was Henry, the son of the King of England. Henry became King Henry II
after two years, making Eleanor the Queen of England.
As Queen of England, she again patronized the arts and promoted a culture of music and
poetry that had a lasting impact long after her death. She established the "Courts of
Love" which instituted and popularized the ideals of romance and chivalry that we now
so particularly associate with the Middle Ages. These ideals are the foundation of
works such as "King Arthur and his knights of the Round Table."
Eleanor had 8 children in this marriage, her favorite of which was Richard the Lion-Hearted.
Acting on her ambition to extend her realm, she supported her sons in rebelling
against their father. This rebellion was squashed and landed her in prison for
15 years until her husband's death. Her son Richard became king, but Eleanor
ruled the kingdom with vice-regal powers during Richard's absence when he joined the crusades.
Richard was eventually captured and Eleanor raised the ransom to free him, personally
delivering it and escorting him home.
She lived longer than 80 years. For nearly all her life, and until the last two years
before her death, she involved herself in diplomatic campaigns and political intrigues.
Powerful, ambitious, and exquistely cultured, her life epitomizes courtly life of
the Middle Ages.
Park in the Queeny Park parking lot that is accessed via Mason Road, and is
closest to the Dog Museum. Make your way toward the Dog Museum. Find the main
path that runs behind the Dog Museum and follow it north.
You will pass by some park buildings on your right and eventually get to where
the cars can drive into the park area. You have the option to turn right (which goes
out to Mason), or go left-ish, or go straight. You want to go straight.
Keep on this path, following it as it goes along parallel to the road, until you come
to a sign on the left that lists the trees along the trails. After reading the sign,
keep going on the path. Notice that the path begins to veer left-ish
away from the road and takes you deeper into the woods.
At the point that it begins to veer like that, count about 80 steps.
At about 80 steps you will notice a long fallen log on the right.
Go to the far end of the fallen log (farthest end away from Mason Road) and
look for the letterbox under it, covered by some pieces of wood.
Watch for people and be discreet! This park can be amazingly busy!
NOTICE how the box is hidden so that you can re-hide it
very well, and leave no parts of it visible from any angle.
Bring your own ink or ink pad, and of course paper or a logbook to stamp into,
as well as a pen to log your name, date and where you are from.
This stamp measures 3.25 X 3.5 inches, so you make sure your paper
or logbook is big enough for this.
You may enjoy using magenta, tourquoise, and gold or yellow for this stamp.
Finally, Please be discrete when uncovering and re-hiding this letterbox, if you happen
to visit the site during one of its more crowded times.