The order of Fontevraud was founded in 1101, but the Abbey was not built until 18 years later. The beautiful and peaceful Abbey Cathedral is the spiritual heart of the monastery.
Interestingly, this French abbey is the resting place of one of the royal dynasties of England. Fifteen Plantagenet Royals are buried in the vaults, including three of the most famous; King Henry II, his queen Eleanor of Aquitaine and their son, Richard the Lionheart. Their effigies lie in the abbey nave facing the altar.
It was the custom for great lineages to pick a church as a necropolis. Since Henry was the Duke of Anjou and Eleanor brought all of South-west France to the Plantagenet dynasty with her dowry, it’s not surprising they would choose Fontrevaud as their resting place. Eleanor loved the abbey and endowed with many donations. She also lived the last five years of her life at the abbey and died there.
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