I struggled to think of anything beginning with X so I am going to take it as a cross and the romantic story of Edward and Eleanor. As we are nearing the end of this Plantagenet journey I thought it would be fitting to end with a story of true love.
Edward I, Edward the Hammer of Scots, Edward who conquered the Welsh was also a man that had a soft heart for his family and his dearest beloved and beautiful wife Eleanor of Castile.
Eleanor’s Cross, in fact twelve crosses, are memorials that Edward erected following the death of his wife as she was travelling to meet him in Scotland in 1290. The twelve crosses were placed in towns along her cortege from Lincoln to Westminster. The most famous in folk etymology is chère reine — “dear queen” in French then to become Charing Cross. Although I would love to believe this, Charing was a hamlet that pre-dated Eleanor’s death and only the cross part thus now known as Charing Cross is true.
The other eleven crosses were placed at: Lincoln, Grantham, Stamford, Geddington, Hardingstone near Northampton, Stony Stratford, Woburn, Dunstable, St. Albans, Waltham, Cheapside. Unfortunately only three remain today Geddington, Northampton and Waltham Cross.
Eleanor was the daughter of the king of Castile and came to England when she about 12 years old in 1254 to marry Edward the future king of England. She provided Edward with up to 16 children which seven of whom survived into adulthood. She travelled with Edward on all his campaigns and went on crusade in 1270. Whilst on crusade Edward was wounded with a poison arrow and it is said that Eleanor’s grief and worry over Edward was so immense she had to be removed from the room he was being treated in.
The monument at Charing Cross was constructed in Victorian times in front of the entrance to the station. The original monument was a five minute walk up Whitehall.