WITH THE NAME ELEANOR
Eleanor Roosevelt is one of the most beloved women of modern times, both as First Lady during her husbandâ€™s four terms in office, and as a public figure in her own right. In her long and varied life, she was a humanitarian, a civil rights activist, a teacher, a diplomat, a columnist, a radio spokeswoman, a speechmaker, an advocate for womenâ€™s rights and, incidentally, a wife and mother. Coming from a privileged but lonely background, wherein she suffered the deaths of both parents and siblings at an early age, she was subject to lifelong bouts of depression. She married her cousin, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, when she was twenty-one, and was immediately swept into the press of public life that surrounded and supported him. She was also swept into a world that was fraught with personal harm for her. Her formidable mother-in-law opposed her and her gregarious husband was unfaithful to her. A turning point came in 1921, when Franklin contracted polio, and Eleanor supported his decision to stay in politics against the wishes of his mother. She began making public appearances on his behalf, and by the time he was president, she was a seasoned politico. It is highly likely that she had a romantic relationship with the journalist, Lorena Hickok. She and Franklin, who sustained several long term extramarital relationships himself, seem to have agreed to go their separate ways together, in a very modern and civilized solution to the problems of their public personae. After Franklinâ€™s death, Eleanor continued with her far reaching humanitarian work, and died a revered figure at the age of seventy-eight. She set a high standard for all women, one that is eminently worthy of pursuing.
Eleanor of Aquitaine was the powerful queen of France, wife of Louis VII, and of England, as wife of Henry II; she was also the mother of ten, including three future kings of England. High-spirited, willful and well educated, Eleanor became the wealthy Duchess of Aquitaine while still a child, making her a highly prized candidate as potential Queen Consort. Entrusted to the guardianship of Louis VI, she was almost immediately married off by him to his son and heir, Louis VII. She and her husband took part in the Second Crusade, with less than stellar results, and eventually their marriage was annulled, on the basis of consanguinity, but actually because she had only produced two daughters in fifteen years. On to Part II for our Eleanor â€“ richer than ever, she now marries the man who becomes Henry II of England (to whom she was even more closely related by blood than to Louis). In the parentage department, she fares quite a bit better â€“ providing Henry with five sons and three daughters. This marriage proves to be a fractious one, and Henry II even has Eleanor put under house (castle?) arrest for sixteen years when she supports one of her sons in his rebellion against the king. The indomitable Eleanor, twice a queen, thrice a mother of kings, outlived everyone, except two of her ten children, and died at the age of eighty-two, still considered an â€œadmirable beautyâ€. The scope of this amazing womanâ€™s fortitude was amply portrayed by Katharine Hepburn in the 1968 movie, The Lion in Winter (for which she received an Academy Award).