a proud taste for scarlet and miniver

by e. l. konigsburg

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in a proud taste for scarlet and miniver, eleanor concedes that blanche of castile, wife of louis vi of france, was a bad mother-in-law but a good queen. what happened during her reign?

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louis vi, king of france in the early years of the twelfth century, was actually married to adelaide of maurienne, not blanche of castile.

adelaide became eleanor of aquitaine's mother-in-law when eleanor married louis vii in 1137.

according to the book, per the recollection of abbot suger, adelaide complained of eleanor taking over her son's life and crowding her, adelaide, out of the royal spotlight. she also objected to eleanor's taste in interior decoration. there was simply no way for the two queens to live under the same roof. or, per adelaide, in the same city: "there is not room enough in all of paris for two queens."

having said that, what manner of queen was adelaide? in a proud taste for scarlet and miniver, adelaide occupies a couple of pages, then disappears from the narrative. she is not among eleanor's heavenly in-crowd. but as an historical figure, she was at least the equal of her legendary daughter-in-law as a dynamic ruler.

at this point we can begin to list some of the more prominent of adelaide's accomplishments:

  • she contributed to the publication of numerous royal charters. in medieval france, a royal charter was basically a decree from the throne declaring rights and responsibilities of some entity, an individual, group, or institution. it might be interesting to examine the details of one or more of the charters that adelaide cosigned.
  • adelaide, together with her son louis vii, founded a monastery. it's worth noting that she founded other religious institutions as well.
  • while busy with these pursuits, adelaide managed to bear ten children.

in might be interesting to compare and contrast adelaide's queenliness with that of eleanor.

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