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An Aquitaine Historical Society

An Aquitaine Historical Society is open to all who are interested in history and in particular, local Aquitaine history and the history of France. It was founded in 1990 to help summertime residents appreciate some of the local culture but it has now become a fully-grown Association, which offers cultural activities throughout the year. Speakers come from within the society or are invited, to give lectures in English on a topic of interest to all our members. These topics are varied and wide-ranging. Talks have included The History of Vietnam and the French Colonial Experience, Eugene Le Roy, The Lavoirs of South West France and An Illustrated Life of Berthe Morisot.

In 2003 I became President, which seems to be a politburo post, that is for life! I am sure someone will take over from me as the Society is proving more and more dynamic as we get older and older. There is a distinct feel that we are like a university of the third age.

It was because of the winter study groups that AAHS ran for 10 years that I discovered Isabella. We were researching the history of Normandy and when the loss of Normandy was discussed references were made to King John’s wife, Isabella of Angoulême. As this city is only 40 minutes away from me I was intrigued, why didn’t I know about her?   So I began to research and discovered that she was known as the Helen of Troy of her day, as more Jezebel than Isabelle, was accused of many wrongdoings, keeping the king in bed until noon and making him neglect his duties as a warrior. So the loss of Normandy was blamed on her. Of course this was all too easy, to pin the blame on a young foreign queen. In 1204 she was 16. So I set about creating my version of Isabella, based on all the facts but with some of the stories mixed in. I had begun to write historical fiction.

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