Eleanor of Castile, Queen of England

Birth:      1241      Castile

“The logical conclusion to be drawn from a straightforward examination of contemporary Castlian evidence is that Eleanor of Castile must have been born in 1240 or 1241. The accounts kept by the queen’s executors show that, on the first anniversary of her death, the number of paupers paid to carry candles in the procession was forty-nine (Botfield and Turner, ‘Manners and Household Expenses in England’, p. 99), an unusual number which may well correspond to Eleanor’s age at her death in November 1290. If she was then aged forty-nine, the year of her birth would have been 1241, which accords exactly with the period indicated by the Castilian sources.”1

Baptism:

“Whom the king [Ferdinand III]–as his Chancellor later remembered–named Eleanor after his grandmother, Alphonso VIII of Castile’s English queen (Ximenez de Rada, De Rebus Hispaniae, bk. 9, Chapter One, is explicit on the choice of Eleanor’s name).”1

Death:      28 Nov 1290      Harby, Nottinghamshire

“Tertio kal. Decembris, anno regni regis Edwardi xix. inchoante, obiit Alienora regina, consors ipsius regis, apud Herdebi in comitatu Lincolniae, defungentium sacramentis prius devote receptis, et fusa prece ad dominum suum regem precibus ejus annuentem, ut omnia per ipsam vel ministros suos injuste quibuslibet ablata restituerentur, et laesis satisfieret, prout videretur magis consonum rationi”2; “Queen Eleanor died in the house of Richard de Weston at Harby. On 28 November a messenger rode to Lincoln for medicines. But Eleanor died that evening”3.

Burial:      17 Dec 1290      Westminster Abbey

“Idibus Decembris, die videlicet sanctae Barbarae Virginis, domina Alienora, regina Angliae, uxor regis Edwardi, filia quondam potentissimi regis Hyspaniae Ferrandi, apud Westmonasterium, juxta feretrum sancti regis Edwardi confessoris, tradebatur honorifice sepulturae”2; “The cortège left Lincoln on 3 December, after the viscera were buried in the cathedral. The procession continued by way of Waltham, reaching London on 14 December. On Sunday, 17 December the queen was buried in Westminster Abbey amid such splendor, the Barnwell annalist thought, as was not seen in England since the coming of the Christian faith. Two days later her heart was deposited in the Dominicans’ London with those of her son Alphonso and her friend John de Vescy”3.

Occupation:      Queen of England 1272-1290

Spouse:

Edward I, King of England

Marriage:      1 Nov 1254      Las Huelgas convent, near Burgos, Castile

“No chronicler recorded the date of Eleanor’s wedding. The Bury chronicle states that Edward reached Burgos on 13 October, but he was at Bayonne as late as 9 October, and a Castilian chronicle more reliably puts his Burgos entry on 18 October. Alphonso then knighted Edward and some English companions, as he had insisted on doing from the outset of marriage negotiations. The wedding all but certainly followed on 1 November, the date of Alphonso’s renunciation of his Gascon claims in Edward’s favor, and most likely at the Cistercian convent of las Huelgas near Burgos, the burial place of its founders, Eleanor’s great-grandparents Alfonso VIII and his Plantagenet queen (For the date, Trabut-Cussac, ‘L’administration anglaise’, 7; Ballesteros Beretta, ‘Alfonso X’, 100).”3

Children:

Katherine of England (1261-1264)

Joan of England (1265-1265)

John of England (1266-1271)

Henry of England (1268-1274)

Eleanor of England (1269-1298)

Beatrice(?) of England (1271-1272)

Joan of Acre (1272-1307)

Alphonso of England (1273-1284)

Margaret of England (1275->1333)

Berengaria of England (1276-1277)

Mary of England (1279-1332)

Elizabeth of England (1282-1316)

Edward II (1284-1327)

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Sources

1. John Carmi Parsons, “The Year of Eleanor of Castile’s Birth and Her Children by Edward I,” Mediaeval Studies, 46, 1984.

2. Flores Historiarum, Volume III: A.D. 1265 – A.D. 1326, Henry Richard Luard (ed.), Rolls Series Volume 95 Part 3 (London: 1890).

3. John Carmi Parsons, Eleanor of Castile: Queen and Society in Thirteenth-Century England, St Martin’s Press (New York: 1995).