Eleanor: April Queen of Aquitaine.
Eleanor: April Queen of Aquitaine. Douglas Boyd. Sutton Publishing.
[pounds sterling]20.00. viii + 376 pages. ISBN 0-7509-3289-9. The author
of this book is a healthy reminder that one may write a learned and well
researched biography without the benefits of a university background. Mr
Boyd was for many years a BBC producer and then retired to live in
southwestern France where he came across what remains of the ancient
Occitan language, the language of Eleanor of Aquitaine. This fascinating
woman, ruler in her own right of Poitou and Aquitaine, Queen of France
(consort of Louis VII) and then of England (consort of Henry II), has
received a 'bad press' from chroniclers, historians and until
recently, biographers. His emphasis, that Eleanor was not
'French' in the modern sense, is a healthy reminder. She was
'a far more extraordinary person than the chroniclers ever hint at
... a woman frequently obliged by birth and circumstance to act the
traditional male role in government, diplomacy and war'.