Our speaker was Marie-Françoise Adam, an expert on the Plantagenets, who was to talk about Richard Cœur de Lion. We were drawn into the mediaeval world of the rich and powerful Plantagenet family, as Marie-Françoise spoke about Henry the Second of England and Eleanor of Aquitane, the parents of Richard, and how they came to have lordship over a large part of modern day France, and the kingdom of England. Henry the Second is seen as a good ruler, who, during a long reign, tried to establish law and justice after many years of civil war. However, Richard was always a reluctant king of England, willing to be distracted from the responsibilities of government. He seized the opportunity to go on crusade, but was taken hostage on his way back to France. He died in France, where one feels he really felt more at home, and was buried in the Plantagenet vault at Fontevrault Abbey.
After her excellent talk, Marie-François was presented with a bouquet of flowers sent by her friends Lynne and John Turnbull, who were unable to be with us. We then adjourned for a very good lunch, and returned to the Plantagenets over coffee, when Marie-Françoise answered some wide-ranging questions.
At the end of the meeting, we took our leave with the memory of a few agreeable hours spent together.