Leadership Exchange - Spring/Summer 2018 - 36

WOMEN I ADMIRE - Members' Dedications to Women they Admire

Eleanor of Aquitaine: A Woman of Substance
When one thinks of inspiring
women, there are a few who
always come to mind; Mother
Teresa, Joan of Arc, Rosa Parks,
et cetera. Most anyone in the
world could tell you who these
women are, and list off their great
deeds. But who has heard of
Eleanor of Aquitaine? Let's turn
the clock back, before the Civil
Rights movement, before the French Revolution, until we land in
the 12th century. That's right, the 12th. Eleanor was one of the
wealthiest and most powerful women in France and throughout
Europe in the High Middle Ages, but this is not what makes her
inspiring. From duchess, to queen, to Crusade leader, Eleanor
accomplished more than most men of her status could in a
lifetime, and proved to her contemporaries and her successors
that women are not built to be locked in towers, but to thrive, to
soar, and to lead.
Born in 1122, the oldest daughter of William X, duke of
Aquitaine, Eleanor was an outgoing and strong-willed child,
who excelled at arithmetic, history, music, and literature, in
addition to domestic skills and languages. At age eight, her
mother and only brother died, leaving Eleanor the sole heir to
her father's duchy, which made up about a third of what is today
modern France. In 1137, Duke William X died on a pilgrimage,
leaving fifteen year old Eleanor the most suitable heiress in all
of Europe. To prevent her kidnapping, which was a common
way to marry an heiress at the time, William X's will named
King Louis VI of France as her guardian, who would care for
her duchy and search for a suitable husband. Louis the fat (as
he was called) was, however, gravely ill with dysentery, and
thus, within hours of William X's death, the King had arranged
for Eleanor to marry his son and heir to the French throne, the
17-year-old Prince Louis.
Eleanor was married to Louis VII of France only three months
later, and they were named Duke and Duchess of Aquitaine (the
duchy would not become part of the crown's holdings until the
next generation). Louis the fat died in August, and on Christmas
Day of the same year, 1137, Eleanor and her husband were
named King and Queen of France. Eleanor was not popular with
the French court; she was too outspoken and independent, and
her dress and speech were often declared immodest. But make
any sixteen year old girl queen of France and see if she does a
better job. Eleanor supported her husband's feud against the
Catholic Church, and used her charm and diplomatic savvy to
help end the war in 1144. In 1145, after eight years of marriage
and at age 23, Eleanor gave birth to their first daughter, Marie.
Following the French war with the Church, the Pope demanded

36

GLA ALA Leadership Exchange I Spring/Summer 2018

Louis VII lead a Crusade to the Middle East as atonement.
In 1147, Eleanor formally took up the cross of the Second
Crusade, and insisted on being the feudal leader of the
soldiers from Aquitaine, her duchy. She and her ladies were
rumored to have dressed as Amazons during the Crusade;
while this is disputed, it is fact that she wore pants and led
her army into battle. Though the Crusade is considered a
failure, Eleanor did bring back the beginnings of maritime law
to Europe, inspired by conventions developing in the eastern
Mediterranean.
After Eleanor bore him a second daughter, Alix of France,
yet no son after 15 years of marriage, the King and Queen of
France were granted an annulment in 1152, on the basis that
they were in fact third cousins. Their daughters were declared
legitimate, custody was granted to Louis, and Eleanor had her
duchy restored to her. However, as soon as Eleanor returned
to Aquitaine, she was kidnapped by the Count of Blois and
the Count of Nantes, one of whom planned to marry her and
steal her lands. She sent word to Henry II, Duke of Normandy,
future king of England, and Geoffrey, Duke of Nantes' brother,
to come and rescue her. Eight weeks later, she and Henry
were married, though ironically, they were even more closely
related than she and Louis. In 1154, Geoffrey V, Henry's father,
died, and Eleanor and Henry became King and Queen of
England. Over the next 13 years, she bore Henry five sons
and three daughters. Two of them survived her.
Dying in 1204 at the ripe old age of 82, Eleanor's life was
marked by passion, intrigue, innovation, and most of all,
her unconquerable strong will. She was the queen of two of
Medieval Europe's most powerful kingdoms, and her impact
lived on; the dynasty she formed with Henry would rule for the
next 300 years. She introduced Europe to maritime law, and
popularized the convention of using a fork to eat one's food.
She accomplished more than most ever could in a lifetime,
and she did so as a woman. Eleanor is a testament to the
strength of the female spirit, and her accomplishments were
immortalized as a result of her influence and persistence.
Next time you use a fork, think of Eleanor, and remember that
women, even in the darkest circumstances, shine through and
thrive. n

Laura Whipple

Director of Administration
Adams Stirling PLC
lwhipple@adamsstirling.com
(800) 464-2817



Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Leadership Exchange - Spring/Summer 2018

Leadership Exchange - Spring/Summer 2018 - Cover1
Leadership Exchange - Spring/Summer 2018 - Cover2
Leadership Exchange - Spring/Summer 2018 - 3
Leadership Exchange - Spring/Summer 2018 - 4
Leadership Exchange - Spring/Summer 2018 - 5
Leadership Exchange - Spring/Summer 2018 - 6
Leadership Exchange - Spring/Summer 2018 - 7
Leadership Exchange - Spring/Summer 2018 - 8
Leadership Exchange - Spring/Summer 2018 - 9
Leadership Exchange - Spring/Summer 2018 - 10
Leadership Exchange - Spring/Summer 2018 - 11
Leadership Exchange - Spring/Summer 2018 - 12
Leadership Exchange - Spring/Summer 2018 - 13
Leadership Exchange - Spring/Summer 2018 - 14
Leadership Exchange - Spring/Summer 2018 - 15
Leadership Exchange - Spring/Summer 2018 - 16
Leadership Exchange - Spring/Summer 2018 - 17
Leadership Exchange - Spring/Summer 2018 - 18
Leadership Exchange - Spring/Summer 2018 - 19
Leadership Exchange - Spring/Summer 2018 - 20
Leadership Exchange - Spring/Summer 2018 - 21
Leadership Exchange - Spring/Summer 2018 - 22
Leadership Exchange - Spring/Summer 2018 - 23
Leadership Exchange - Spring/Summer 2018 - 24
Leadership Exchange - Spring/Summer 2018 - 25
Leadership Exchange - Spring/Summer 2018 - 26
Leadership Exchange - Spring/Summer 2018 - 27
Leadership Exchange - Spring/Summer 2018 - 28
Leadership Exchange - Spring/Summer 2018 - 29
Leadership Exchange - Spring/Summer 2018 - 30
Leadership Exchange - Spring/Summer 2018 - 31
Leadership Exchange - Spring/Summer 2018 - 32
Leadership Exchange - Spring/Summer 2018 - 33
Leadership Exchange - Spring/Summer 2018 - 34
Leadership Exchange - Spring/Summer 2018 - 35
Leadership Exchange - Spring/Summer 2018 - 36
Leadership Exchange - Spring/Summer 2018 - 37
Leadership Exchange - Spring/Summer 2018 - 38
Leadership Exchange - Spring/Summer 2018 - 39
Leadership Exchange - Spring/Summer 2018 - 40
Leadership Exchange - Spring/Summer 2018 - 41
Leadership Exchange - Spring/Summer 2018 - 42
Leadership Exchange - Spring/Summer 2018 - 43
Leadership Exchange - Spring/Summer 2018 - 44
Leadership Exchange - Spring/Summer 2018 - 45
Leadership Exchange - Spring/Summer 2018 - Cover4
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/elawmktg/leadershipexchange_fall2019
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/elawmktg/leadershipexchange_summer2019
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/elawmktg/leadershipexchange_winter2019
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/elawmktg/leadershipexchange_fall2018
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/elawmktg/leadershipexchange_springsummer2018
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/elawmktg/leadershipexchange_fall2017
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/elawmktg/leadershipexchange_summer2017
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/elawmktg/leadershipexchange_spring2017
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/elawmktg/leadershipexchange_fall2016
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/elawmktg/leadershipexchange_summer2016
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/elawmktg/leadershipexchange_earlysummer2016
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/elawmktg/leadershipexchange_winter2016
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/elawmktg/leadershipexchange_summer2015
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/elawmktg/leadershipexchange_2015summer
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/elawmktg/leadershipexchange_20141011
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/elawmktg/leadershipexchange_20140809
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/elawmktg/leadershipexchange_20140607
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/elawmktg/leadershipexchange_20131011
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/elawmktg/leadershipexchange_20130809
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/elawmktg/leadershipexchange_20130607
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/elawmktg/leadershipexchange_20130405
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/elawmktg/leadershipexchange_20131201
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/elawmktg/leadershipexchange_20120405
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/elawmktg/leadershipexchange_20110809
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/elawmktg/leadershipexchange_20111201
http://www.nxtbookMEDIA.com