“-Live in three-”
The lights illuminate the stage-
-as a balding man with CREW on his shirt signals to the crowd-
-and the Hostess flashes her I paid way too much for these teeth! smile.
“Heeeeeello, and welcome to We’ve! Got! History!” The audience chants along with her and erupts into applause, right on cue.
“I’m Jennifer Lowton, your ever curious host, and today on the show, well, have I certainly got something for you! A woman who definitely has history, the ever-glowing: Eleanor of Aquitaaaaaaine!”
The cameras turn as Eleanor strides out, long steps in time with the introductory music. Her cold, set face tramples the mixed Booooo!’s and Wooooo!’s, and she sits herself on a red, cushioned chair, adjusting her dress as she does so.
“Now,” our illustrious hostess continues once the crowd quietens. “Eleanor! Quite the history you’ve got here…”
Jennifer pretends to consult her notes that aren’t really notes at all. Just her shopping list that she was writing right before the cameras went live.
“Married… divorced… married again… a rebellion… a Crusade… you’re almost as bad as me!” she laughs to herself. The CREW shirt quickly commands the audience to laugh. She taps her ringless finger against the plush, red material of her chair.
“Yes, well… tell us about this first husband of yours. What’s his name? What does he do? What is the history?!”
Eleanor rearranges herself in her seat, puts her left leg over the right. “Louis. Louis the VII, I might add. The King of France, but he didn’t do a whole lot anything, really, if you know what I mean.”
Jennifer gives a knowing smile towards the audience. “In the bedroom area, you mean?”
“In the ruling area! The man, would you believe it, he did nothing to expand his territory, nothing to expand his rule; he didn’t even own half of France, and he was the King of France! The most useful thing he did was go on a Crusade, and even that failed!”
“A Crusaaaaade, you say? I’m ever so curious…” she glances at her notes, wishes they had something more useful than a list of PG Tips, avocado, and lemon juice. “Do tell us about this Crusade.”
“He dragged me on it, would you believe it? On his silly journey to save the Holy Lands. I would have been a better leader than that fool, not that I could do anything about it. I am just a woman.”
The men in the audience laugh, and their wives hit them on the leg.
“Oh! But I’ll tell you what was good; my uncle was there, in Outremer, Roger of Toulouse. Old Roger, now he’s from where I live! The good lands of Southern France, where we speak the good language of Occitan. Ohhhh, it was good to be able to speak to someone in my language.”
“But things didn’t go all to plan did they, El? Can I call you El?”
“Eleanor. And no. Louis saw Roger and I talking, and accused me of cheating on him!”
The audience gasp.
“I didn’t, of course.”
A few sceptical Mmmmm, suuuuuure’s come from the audience.
“He was just jealous because he couldn’t understand us, the utter fool. He never did bother to learn Occitan, despite a good chunk of his Kingdom speaking it!”
Jennifer’s hand was hovering near her mouth in fake shock. “What ever did you do?”
“Left him as soon as we got back to Paris!”
“Damn right, girl! We can applaud that, can’t we ladies?!”
More enthusiastic applaud is heard, directing by the balding CREW man.
“Now, this husband of yours, Louis. He had a few enemies didn’t he? A certain… King of England?”
Eleanor re-crossed her legs again and picked up her wine glass. The image proclaimed power, dignity, supremacy.
“Oh, yes. King Henry II of England. Henry held a lot of French lands, and Louis was not happy about it.”
Jennifer gave a smile. The kind of smile that, when directed at you, reveals a secret only you are aware of.
“Did you know Henry well?”
Eleanor sips her red wine, a colour that compliments the red rubies on her crown.
“I married him.”
“Did she just say-”
Jennifer pauses for the audience, and drinks up her own wine, just as she was drinking up all the views she’d be getting from this interview. Or maybe she wasn’t pausing for the audience. Maybe she was pausing to considering what plastic surgery she was going to get next with all the revenue from this episode.
“So, you married your now ex-husband’s worst rival?”
“That would be correct.”
“Oooooh, El, you slippery lady!” She looks backstage. “I think we need some more wine, here! Now, El-”
“-You and Louis couldn’t have sons, could you?” She continues speaking with a wave of her hand before Eleanor could jump in. “Which must be pretty vital for a King. Needing an heir, and all… So just how many sons did you have with your second husband, Henry?”
“Foooouuuuur! Louis must have been livid!”
“I assume livid is the word, yes.”
“But your sons didn’t quite like their father did they, El?”
“Henry always tried to keep power from them. Didn’t want them becoming stronger than he was. It was rather unfair, especially on my poor Richard.”
“So what did they do about this?”
Jennifer smiled her thanks at the CREW member who had brought in more drinks. She could say speeches with a smile, this one.
Eleanor accepts a second glass of wine with a curt nod.
“I told them to rebel against their father.”
Timed to perfection, Jennifer, mid-sip, chokes on her wine in shock.
“Let me get this straight. You told your own sons, Henry, Richard, Geoffrey, and John, to rebel against their own father, your husband?”
The crowd was in silent shock. The CREW member, totally enveloped in the History! of the situation completely forgot to get the audience to react.
“But Eleanor, where did you stand in all of this?”
“With my sons.”
“But where did any of you get the power to rebel?!”
“We went to Louis VII of France.”
The calls of, “Whore!” and, “Slut!” got mixed in with the applause from the members finding this situation shockingly hilarious.
“So, you rebelled against your husband, with your sons, against your ex-husband, who was your current husband’s biggest enemy? I can already see this trending on Twitter.”
“Trending on what?”
“Oh, I’d love to hear how this one turns out! Wouldn’t you, loving audience?”
“Who even is she?!”
“Well,” Eleanor takes off her crown. “It failed.”
“Noooooo!” gasped Jennifer, clutching her wine glass with the lipstick stain on it.
“What on earth happened next?”
“Henry imprisoned me, like a cattle, until the day of his death. And helped himself to my money to repay his debts, and fund a few monasteries while he was at it.”
“Until the day of his death… you mean… you outlived him?”
Some people in the audience Woop!
“Eleanor of Aquitaine: married twice, to two men who despised each other, partook in a Crusade, a rebellion, survived imprisonment, and outlasted both of her ex-husbands?! Well, my beauties, that’s Quite! A! History!”
Again, the audience joined in chanting the title. Well, those that had recovered from the whole ordeal.
“-that I don’t think will ever be surpassed on this show! Even more controversial than when Genghis Khan was on!”
Groans of agreement came from the audience.
“Tune in next time to We’ve! Got! History! and find out just why Vincent Van Gogh likes to eat paint so much! Ta ta, lovelies!”
The CREW member signals applause, and Jennifer, somewhat reluctantly, shakes Eleanor’s hand and smiles a goodbye at the camera. The lights turn off.