Elvira of Castile, Queen of Sicily

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For other people of the same name, see Elvira of Castile.

Elvira of Castile (c. 1100 – 8 February 1135) was the first Queen of Sicily.

Background and upbringing[edit]

She was a daughter of Alfonso VI of Castile by his fourth queen, Isabella (perhaps identical to the Moslem convert Zaida of Seville, baptized as Isabel, who had been Alfonso's mistress). Elvira was raised in Toledo, so she must have gotten used to a significant level of convivencia which was present in Sicily as well.[1]


Elvira married Count Roger II of Sicily in 1117, but only infrequently saw him thereafter, for he was much preoccupied with rebellions on the Italian Peninsula and she stayed with her children in Palermo the capital. Despite this, the marriage was undoubtedly happy.[citation needed] In 1130, she became queen of Sicily when her husband had himself crowned king. She bore Roger five sons and one daughter by 1135.

In 1135, both Roger and Elvira fell ill. The illness was grave and infectious. Roger survived, but Elvira did not. Her death put Roger in such a deep depression that he spent days alone in his room which made people think he had died. This unusual reaction proves that the marriage of Roger and Elvira was not yet another medieval political affair, but an extraordinary happy union.[citation needed] Roger remained a widower for fifteen years and remarried only when four out of five of his sons with Elvira died.[1][2]



  1. ^ a b O'Shea, Stephen (2006). Sea of faith: Islam and Christianity in the medieval Mediterranean world. Walker. ISBN 0-8027-1498-6. 
  2. ^ Houben, Hubert (2002). Roger II of Sicily: a ruler between East and West. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-65573-0. 
  3. ^ SICILY
Royal titles
New title Queen consort of Sicily
1130 – 8 February 1135
Succeeded by
Sibylla of Burgundy