Joan of Portugal

Joan of Portugal

Infanta Joana in Genealogia dos Reis de Portugal (António de Holanda; 1530-1534)
Queen consort of Castile and León
Tenure 21 May 1455–11 December 1474
Born 20 March 1439
Quinta do Monte Olivete, Almada, Portugal
Died 12 December 1475 (aged 36)
Burial Convent of San Francisco, Madrid
Spouse Henry IV of Castile
Issue Joan, Queen of Portugal
House House of Aviz
Father Edward of Portugal
Mother Eleanor of Aragon
Religion Roman Catholicism

Joana of Portugal (Portuguese pronunciation: [ʒuˈɐnɐ]; English: Joan; 20 March 1439 12 December 1475)[1] was Queen consort of Castile as the second wife of King Henry IV of Castile and a Portuguese infanta, the posthumous daughter of King Edward of Portugal and his wife Eleanor of Aragon. She was born in the Quinta do Monte Olivete, Almada six months after the death of her father.

Queen of Castile

On 21 May 1455 in Córdoba, Spain,[1] she married as his second wife King Henry IV of Castile who had repudiated his first consort, Blanche II of Navarre, after thirteen years of marriage. It was rumoured that their marriage had never been consummated due to the king's impotence. Henry and Joan shared the same maternal grandparents; Ferdinand I of Aragon and Eleanor of Alburquerque (making them first cousins). They also shared the same paternal great-grandfather; John of Gaunt, 1st Duke of Lancaster (making them second cousins). In February 1462, six years after Joan's marriage to Henry, she gave birth to a daughter, also named Joan, called La Beltraneja because of rumours that she was in fact the daughter of Don Beltrán de la Cueva, 1st Duke of Alburquerque, who was suspected of being Joan's lover.

Henry banished Joan from the royal court and she went to live in Coca at the castle of Henry's supporter, Bishop Fonseca. She soon fell in love with Bishop Fonseca's nephew; they embarked on a sexual affair, which resulted in Joan bearing her lover two illegitimate sons (see below). Henry subsequently declared their marriage had never been legal and thus divorced her in 1468.

At the death of her former husband in 1474, Joan championed her daughter's right to succeed to the throne, but she died shortly thereafter.

Scandals and illegitimate children

Prior to her banishment, Joan had provoked much criticism in the Castilian court as she allegedly wore dresses that displayed too much décolletage, and her philandering with men was considered scandalous. She was considered haughty, unscrupulous, ambitious and ruthless, participating in intrigues and completely controlling her husband. Joan has been credited with many lovers, including the poet Juan Rodríguez de la Cámara.[2][3] Joan had two illegitimate children by Pedro de Castilla y Fonseca "el mozo", nephew of Bishop Fonseca, and a great grandson of King Peter of Castille. Her two sons were Pedro de Castilla y Portugal and Andres Apostol de Castilla y Portugal. The birth of her two illegitimate children only added to Joan's considerable notoriety.

She later entered the convent of San Francisco in Segovia.

Joan died in Madrid on 12 December 1475 at the age of 36. She was buried in the Convent of San Francisco.

See adjacent text
Coat of arms as queen consort 
See adjacent text
Coat of arms as queen dowager 



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  1. 1 2 Charles Cawley, Medieval Lands, Portugal
  2. James Fitzmaurice-Kelly, Chapters on Spanish Literature (A. Constable and Company, ltd., 1908), 74.
  3. James Fitzmaurice-Kelly, A History of Spanish Literature (D. Appleton and Company, 1898), 97.
Royal titles
Preceded by
Isabella of Portugal
Queen consort of Castile and León
Succeeded by
Isabella of Portugal
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