María de Molina

María de Molina
Queen consort of Castile and León
Reign 12841295
Lady of Molina
Reign 12931321
Predecessor Blanca Alfonso of Molina
Successor Alfonso XI of Castile
Born c.1265
Died 1 July 1321
Burial Santa María la Real de las Huelgas (Valladolid)
Spouse Sancho IV of Castile
among others...
Isabella, Queen of Aragon
Fernando IV of Castile
Beatrice, Queen of Portugal
Full name
María Alfonso de Menezes
House House of Burgundy
Father Alfonso of Molina
Mother Mayor Alfonso de Menezes
Religion Roman Catholicism
Coat of Arms as Queen of Castile

María Alfonso Téllez de Menezes (c. 1265 – 1321), known as María de Molina, was the wife of Sancho IV of Castile. She was queen consort of Castile and León from 1284 to 1295, and served as regent for her minor son Ferdinand IV (1295 - c.1301) and later her grandson Alfonso XI of Castile (1312-1321).


María was the daughter of the infante Alfonso of Molina and Mayor Alfonso de Menezes. Her paternal grandparents were King Alfonso IX of León and Queen Berengaria of Castile.[1]

She married her second cousin Sancho IV of Castile in 1282, the second son of Alfonso X the Learned, although the matrimonial dispensation for kinship was not previously granted. Upon the death of Alfonso X, she became queen consort of Castile-León and was crowned alongside her husband in the cathedral of Toledo. Although the couple was pressured to separate by Rome and others, Sancho chose to honor his wife and delegated many responsibilities to her, including the regency of their son after his death. His reign was short since he died in 1295.

After the death of Sancho IV, he was succeeded by their eldest son Ferdinand IV, who was under age. Though according to the Crónica de Sancho IV, Sancho designated María as the sole regent,[2] she was forced to share the regency with Sancho's uncle, Henry the Senator, younger brother of Alfonso X. Fernando's rule was challenged by a coalition that included his uncle, John, his cousins the infantes de la Cerda, sons of the infante Ferdinand de la Cerda, eldest son of Alfonso X, as well as King James II of Aragón and King Denis of Portugal.[3][4]

Through marriage alliances, gifts of territories, and shrewd politics María was able to lead Ferdinand's cause to victory, though it did not come easily. María built her own coalition, relying on the Castilian Cortes to confirm her authority and playing the powerful family clan of Haro against the Lara clan, who supported the opposition. Civil war continued for several years, and María's coregent Henry was often more of an antagonist than a defender of his great-nephew's cause. Around 1300 the alliance against Ferdinand began to crumble when one of his principal enemies, Juan Núñez de Lara, was captured and later reconciled to the young king. Portugal returned to allegiance with Ferdinand with the promise of a marriage between the Portuguese princess Constance and the young king of Castile. María's victory for her son seemed sealed in 1301, when she finally received a papal bull from Pope Boniface VIII, legitimizing her marriage and her children. Eventually, only Aragon was left to support the claim of Alfonso de la Cerda and his brother, which was finally set aside in a treaty between Castile and Aragon a few years later.

María de Molina died in Valladolid in 1321.


Queen María de Molina presents her son Ferdinand IV of Castile to the Cortes of Valladolid of 1295. (1863)


Royal titles
Preceded by
Violant of Aragon
Queen consort of Castile and León
Title next held by
Constance of Portugal
Preceded by
Blanca Alfonso of Molina
Lady of Molina
Succeeded by
Alfonso XI of Castile


  1. Carmona Ruiz, María (2005). María de Molina. Barcelona: Random House Mondadori.
  2. Rosell, Cayetano (1875). Crónicas de los reyes de Castilla: Desde don Alfonso el Sabio, hasta los católicos don Fernando y doña Isabel. Madrid: Cárlos Bailly-Baillier.
  3. De Loaysa, Jofré (1982). Crónica de los reyes de Castilla: Fernando III, Alfonso X, y Fernando IV (1248-1305). Murcia: Edición de la Academia Alfonso X el Sabio.
  4. del Valle Curieses, Rafael (2000). María de Molina: El soberano ejercicio de la concordia. Madrid: Aldebarán Ediciones.
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