Leonor Teles

Leonor Teles

D. Leonor Telles de Meneses
Queen consort of Portugal
Tenure 5 May 1372 – 22 October 1383
Born 1350
Trás-os-Montes, Kingdom of Portugal
Died 27 April 1386 (aged 3536)
Tordesillas, Crown of Castile
Burial Royal Convent of Santa Clara, Tordesillas, Spain
Spouse Ferdinand I of Portugal
Issue Beatrice of Portugal
House Meneses
Father Martim Afonso Telo de Meneses
Mother Aldonça Anes de Vasconcelos
Religion Roman Catholicism

Leonor Teles (or Teles de Meneses) (1350 – 27 April 1386) was a queen consort of Portugal and regent during the years 1383–1385. She was the wife of a Portuguese nobleman from whom she was forcibly divorced by King Ferdinand I, who afterward married her. She is called the Treacherous (Portuguese: a Aleivosa) by the Portuguese, who execrate her on account of her adultery and treason to her native country; she is considered "a sort of Portuguese Lucrezia Borgia".[1]

Early life

A redheaded beauty, Leonor Telles (or Teles) was the daughter of Martim Afonso Telo de Meneses, a nobleman in the Trás-os-Montes. She was a descendant of Teresa Sanches, one of the illegitimate daughters of King Sancho I of Portugal by his mistress Maria Pais Ribeira. She married, at a young age, João Lourenço da Cunha, 2nd Lord of Pombeiro, with whom she had a son, Álvaro, 3rd Lord of Pombeiro.

Leonor's sister, Maria Telles de Meneses, was a lady-in-waiting to Infanta Beatrice, daughter of Peter I of Portugal and Inês de Castro. While visiting her sister Maria at court, Leonor met Beatrice's elder half-brother, Ferdinand, king of the Portuguese throne, who fell passionately in love with her and proceeded to seduce her, in spite of his promise to marry Eleanor, daughter of Henry II of Castile.[2] Leonor did nothing to resist Ferdinand's advances and lashed out at her sister Maria for her attempts to prevent the affair from developing.

Queen of Portugal

King Ferdinand managed to annul Leonor's first marriage to João Lourenço da Cunha on grounds of consanguinity and on 5 May 1372 they were secretly married.

Upon the death of Ferdinand (1383), Leonor was nominated regent in the name of their daughter Beatrice. From 1383 onwards, Leonor ruled with her lover, João Fernandes de Andeiro, 2nd Count of Ourém, also called "Conde Andeiro", which angered the nobility and the lower classes. Beatrice's marriage to the Castilian king John I led to the expulsion of both mother and daughter.

The loss of independence had been unthinkable for the majority of Portuguese nobles. A rebellion led by the Master of the Order of Aviz, future John I of Portugal, started in that year, leading to the 1383–1385 Crisis.


Notes and references


Preceded by
Beatrice of Castile
Queen Consort of Portugal
5 May 1372 – 22 October 1383
Succeeded by
Philippa of Lancaster
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