Monday, November 17, 2008

powerful women

I'm at the part in the book I'm reading about Eleanor of Aquitaine where her husband, King Henry II of England has taken her captive, as a punishment for her urging her sons to rebel against him. Eleanor was an unusual woman for her time, and an unusual queen for any age.

Most royal marriages were arranged to bring wealth and land to the kingdom. That was definitely the case in Eleanor, who was the Duchess of Aquitaine, a vast land which comprised most of what is now modern southern France. What makes Eleanor different from other queens, was her desire to still maintain her control over the lands that were her birthright, and the fact that both her husband (before her betrayal) and her son, Richard the Lionheart, at various times in their reigns left Eleanor in charge.

I haven't seen the Lion in Winter since I was a kid. I've got to check that out again...

There are lots of interviews happening with the next first family, and one of the most consistent questions of Michelle Obama, is "what else" the First Lady might do, besides being, well, the First Lady. It will be interesting to see if Michelle, once she gets her girls settled in to White House life and Washington, picks a First Lady "project' or gets more deeply involved in national policy. We'll see...

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