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Berengaria
Statue of Berenguela of Castile in Madrid (1753).
Queen of Castile
Reign 1217
Predecessor Henry I
Successor Ferdinand III
Queen consort of León
Tenure 1197–1204
Spouse Alfonso IX of León
Issue
Infanta Eleanor of León
Ferdinand III of Castile and León
Infante Alfonso of León, 4th Lord of Molina
Berengaria, Latin Empress of Constantinople
Infanta Constance of León
House House of Burgundy
Father Alfonso VIII of Castile
Mother Eleanor of England
Born 1 January/June 1180
Burgos
Died 8 November 1246
Las Huelgas near Burgos
Burial Capilla Real, Granada, Spain

Berengaria (Castilian: Berenguela; 1 January/June 1180 – 8 November 1246), was briefly queen of Castile and León. The eldest daughter of Alfonso VIII of Castile and Eleanor of England, she was briefly engaged to Conrad II, Duke of Swabia, but he was murdered in 1196 before they could be married.

Contents

Marriage

Berengaria married King Alfonso IX of León in 1197, but this was annulled in 1204 by Pope Innocent III because they were second cousins. Berengaria and Alfonso had five children, including one who died in infancy, and when she returned to her father's court in Castile, she brought her children with her to Otella.

Berengaria often found herself politically at odds with her former husband. Alfonso had two daughters, Sancha and Dulce, by his first wife, Theresa of Portugal, and wished to disinherit Berengaria's children in favor of these daughters. To this end, he invited John of Brienne to marry his eldest daughter, Sancha, and thus inherit his kingdom. Berengaria sabotaged this plan by convincing John of Brienne to marry her own daughter, Berenguela of León, instead. Later, on 24 September 1230 when Alfonso died, Berengaria and Ferdinand acted to set aside the rights of Sancha and Dulce by offering them a lifetime appanage, which they accepted. This was done so that, with Berengaria's aid, he could assume the Leonese throne.

Queen

When her brother Henry died by accident in 1217, Berengaria became sovereign of Castile. She soon renounced her crown in favor of her son Ferdinand. Thereafter she served as the king's motherly advisor; according to the Cronica Latina, her "total intent and desire being to procure honor for her son in every way possible". Berengaria helped quell the rebellious nobles, and then arranged for Ferdinand to marry a high-born wife, Beatrice of Swabia.

Berengaria maintained strong connections with her sister Blanche, who was Queen of France. It was Blanche who suggested sending Jeanne of Ponthieu as a bride for Ferdinand after his first wife's death.

Children

Her children with Alfonso IX included:

Ancestry

Further reading

  • Shadis, Miriam. Berenguela of Castile (1180–1246) and Political Women in the High Middle Ages (Palgrave Macmillan; 2010) Explores Berenguela's use of authority as both queen and regent, at varied times, for the Spanish thrones of Castile and Leon.
  • Shadis, Miriam. Berenguela of Castile's Political Motherhood, 1996
Regnal titles
Preceded by
Henry I
Queen of Castile
1217
Succeeded by
Ferdinand III
Spanish royalty
Preceded by
Teresa of Portugal
Queen consort of León
1198–1204
Succeeded by
Beatriz of Swabia
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