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Infanta Isabel of Portugal: Wikis


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Isabella of Portugal
A statue of Isabella of Portugal
Queen consort of Castile and León
Tenure 1447 – 1454
Spouse John II of Castile
Isabella I of Castile
Alphonse, Prince of Asturias
House House of Aviz
Father Infante John, Lord of Reguengos de Monsaraz
Mother Isabella of Braganza
Born 1428
Died 15 August 1496
Burial Miraflores, Spain

Isabella of Portugal (Isabel in Portuguese and Spanish; 1428 – 15 August 1496) was Queen consort of Castile and Leon. She was the mother of Queen Isabella I "the Catholic".

She was born as a scion of a collateral branch of the Aviz dynasty that had ruled Portugal since 1385. Her father was Infante John, Lord of Reguengos de Monsaraz, the youngest surviving son of John I of Portugal, and her mother was Isabel of Braganza, a high noblewoman of some royal blood, being daughter of the 1st Duke of Braganza, who was an illegitimate son of John I of Portugal. Isabella's father held some lordships, but was not among the forefront of the Portuguese royal house, there being a multitude of powerful dukes ahead of him.



Isabella was married to the elderly king John II of Castile as his second wife. His first wife, Mary of Aragon, had given him four children, though only one, the future Henry IV of Castile, had survived. Henry had been joined to Blanche II of Navarre in an unconsummated marriage for seven years and was called "El Impotente." Because of this, John decided to seek another wife, and the eyes of his trusted adviser and dear friend Alvaro de Luna fell on the much younger Isabella. The two were wed on 22 July 1447 when John was 42 and Isabella only 19.


Conflict with de Luna

De Luna had dominated the king for years and doubtless expected this to continue. After all, he had arranged the marriage. Unfortunately for de Luna, he made the mistake of attempting to control the young queen, even going as far as to attempt to limit the couplings between the amorous king and his bride. Isabella took exception to de Luna's influence over her husband and attempted to persuade her husband to remove this favourite.

She had little success until after the 1451 birth of her daughter and namesake who would become Isabella I of Castile. The queen's confinement was long and difficult, and the new mother sank into a deep depression during which she refused to speak to anyone but her husband. Alternatively hysterical and withdrawn, Isabella tired out the weak-willed John, and he agreed to rid himself of this hated favourite. To do this, the royal couple employed Alfonso Pérez de Vivero. When de Luna discovered this, he murdered Pérez and gave John an excuse to execute him. The death of his favourite saddened the old king, and his health began to decline rapidly. On 15 November 1453, Isabella gave birth to a son, Alfonso, and nine months later, John came to his deathbed, expiring at last on 20 July 1454. Henry IV, newly divorced from Blanca, became king.


After Henry ascended the throne, he sent his stepmother, who was three years younger than himself, and his two little half-siblings to the Castle of Arévalo. While there, the dowager queen and her two children lived austerely and without ever considering any proposals.

While at Arévalo, Isabella sank deeper into the melancholy that had begun after the birth of her elder child. She became increasingly unhinged with every passing year. Despite this, her children were kept with her until about 1461, the year in which Henry's second queen, Joan of Portugal, became pregnant with Joanna La Beltraneja, supposedly by her alleged lover, Beltrán de La Cueva. The dowager queen thought she was plagued by the ghosts, particularly de Luna's spirit, and would spend days wandering the castle calling his name. She also forgot who everyone around was and at times did not even remember her own identity.

Relationship with daughter

Her daughter Isabella did not visit her (Alfonso had died under suspicious circumstances in 1468), though in 1469, she did tell her half-brother that Arévalo was her destination when in fact she was going to Valladolid to marry Infante Ferdinand of Aragon, the heir of John II of Aragon. When Henry IV died in 1474, Isabella bypassed the claims of her niece, who had never been considered legitimate, to become Queen of Castile. Together, she and Ferdinand spent their time uniting Spain by completing the reconquista. It was not until 1496, when the queen heard that her mother was dying, that she finally visited Isabella. The deranged and distraught old woman did not recognize her daughter. After her death, she was interred next to her husband and son at the Monastery of Miraflores.


Her children were:


Spanish royalty
Preceded by
Maria of Aragon
Queen Consort of Castile and Leon
1447 – 1454
Succeeded by
Joan of Portugal


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