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What was Eleanor of Aquitaine's part in the Second Crusade? Relate it to A Proud Taste for Scarlet and Miniver if possible. |

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Eleanor of Aquitaine, married to King Louis VII of France, was enthusiastic about the Second Crusade (1147-1149) to conquer Jerusalem and wrest it from the Muslims who were occupying it. A queen at nineteen years old, she presented herself to Abbé Bernard of Clairvaux at the Cathedral of Vézelay to offer her vassals (persons granted a ruler's land in return for loyalty and military service) to fight in the Crusade, which from a twelfth century Catholic Christian perspective seemed like a noble undertaking.

The story isn't definitively proved, but the lengend is that Eleanor dressed like a warrior and rode through the streets on a white horse urging people to join the Crusade. Eleanor herself joined the Crusade with 300 of her ladies in waiting and attending ladies who stated their purpose in accompanying the Crusade was to care for the wounded. However, the 300 women, including Eleanor dressed in armour and carried lances into the Crusade. Incidentally, after the failure of the Crusade a papal bull (Pope's proclamation) forbade women from joining future crusades in any capacity.

In Antioch, Eleanor renewed her friendship with her uncle Raymond who wanted to recapture Edessa while King Louis VII wanted to comply with the objectives of the Crusade and do battle to claim Jerusalem. Eleanor and Louis had a bitter fight about whom she would follow, Raymond or Louis. In the quarrel she contested the church sanction of their marriage because of a family tie that was forbidden by Church doctrine. Louis was hurt and furious but forced her to honor her marriage vows and follow him to Jerusalem. They were badly defeated; Jerusalem still lay with the Muslims; Eleanor and Louis returned to France in separate ships.

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