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For other Princes of Asturias named Alfonso, see Alfonso, Prince of Asturias
Sculpture of Alfonso in his tomb in Brugos

Alfonso, Prince of Asturias (1453–1468) was the figurehead of rebelling magnates against his brother Henry IV of Castile.

Alfonso was the only surviving son of John II of Castile, by his second wife, Isabella of Portugal, Henry IV being the product of his first marriage. Alfonso's sister, the future Queen Isabella I of Castile, was also the product of this second marriage.


After the death of his father, John II, Alfonso, his mother and sister were virtually exiled, his mother to Arevalo and the children to Segovia. When Alfonso was around seven years of age the two children were moved to Henry's court at Madrid and were placed in Queen Joan's household. During this period it is rumored that Queen Joan tried to poison Alfonso on at least one occasion, to pave the way for her own daughter to inherit the throne.

Castilian and Leonese royalty
House of Trastámara
Escudo Corona de Castilla.png

Henry II
Children include
   John I
   Eleanor, Queen of Navarre
John I
Children include
   Henry III
   Ferdinand I of Aragon, Valencia and Sicily
Henry III and II of Leon
Children include
   John II
   Maria, Queen of Aragon, Valencia, Sicily and Naples
John II
Children include
   Henry IV
   Isabella I
   Alfonso, Prince of Asturias
Henry IV and III of Leon
   Joan, Queen of Portugal
Isabella I with Ferdinand V
   Isabella, Queen of Portugal
   John, Prince of Asturias
   Joanna the Mad
   Maria, Queen of Portugal
   Catherine, Queen of England

Heir to the Throne

In early 1460s, Castilian nobles became dissatisfied with the rule of King Henry IV, and believed that the child (Joanna, Princess of Asturias) that Henry's wife Queen Joan had given birth to was not sired by Henry. Propaganda and rumour encouraged by the league of rebellious nobles argued that her father was Beltrán de la Cueva, a royal favorite of low background who had been elevated to enormous power by Enrique and who, by some, has been suggested as Henry's lover. This resulted in the name "Juana la Beltraneja," which has stuck with the girl throughout history. If Joanna was truly illegitimate, the next candidate would have been Alfonso. If she was legitimate—which is entirely possible—then Alfonso and, ultimately, his famous sister Isabel the Catholic would both have been usupers. Considering Isabella's impact on world history, this question has fascinated historians for centuries.

The league of nobles controlling Alfonso forced Henry with the 1464 Representation of Burgos to repudiate Joanna and recognize Alfonso as his official heir. Alfonso then became Prince of Asturias, a title previously held by Joanna. Henry agreed to the compromise with the stipulation that Alfonso someday marry Joanna, to ensure that they both would one day receive the crown.

Not long after this, Henry reneged on his promise and began to support his daughter's claim once more. The nobles in league against him conducted a ceremonial deposition-in-effigy of Enrique outside the city of Avila and crowned Alfonso as a rival king. Shortly thereafter, Alfonso began handing out land and titles as if he were already uncontested ruler. A civil war began. The most notable clash was at the Battle of Olmedo in 1467, which concluded as a draw.

However, in 1468 at the age of only 14, Alfonso died of a sickness, most likely the plague (Although poison and slit throat as alternative causes of death have been suggested). His will left his crown to his sister, Isabella, who was asked to take her brother's place as the champion of the rebels. Shortly thereafter, she declined, and after a negotiation at Toros de Guisando, in which she and her allies received most of what they desired, Enrique was convinced to exclude Joanna la Beltraneja from the succession, and to recognize Isabella as his official heir. Though Henry continued to resist this decision when possible, his actions were ineffective, and he remained at peace with Isabella for the rest of his reign. Isabella became Castile's next monarch when he died in 1474.

Alfonso, Prince of Asturias (1453–1468)
Born: 1453 Died: 1468
Preceded by
Joan "la Beltraneja"
Prince of Asturias
Succeeded by
Infanta Isabella


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