Joanna of Naples (1478–1518)
Queen of Naples
In 1496, the 17-year-old Joanna married her 27-year-old nephew, Ferdinand II, the son of her half-brother, Alfonso II. Ferdinand II died on 7 September of the same year. He was childless and was succeeded by his uncle, Joanna's half-brother Frederick.
Prospective queen of England
King Henry VII of England lost his wife, Elizabeth of York, on 11 February 1503. At age 46, he was interested in taking a second wife and (the still young) Joanna was suggested as a potential bride by her aunt, Isabella I of Castile, who probably wanted to divert Henry's interest from her daughter, Catherine of Aragon. Lacking a portrait of Joanna, Henry sent ambassadors to Naples in 1505 to report on the physical qualities of the prospective bride.
Henry's questions, and the ambassador's answers, were mentioned by Henry Bacon in his 1622 biography, The Historie of the Raigne of King Henry The Seventh. A document containing the questions and answers was published in London, 250 years after the fact, as Instructions given by King Henry the Seventh, to his embassadors, When he intended to marry the young Queen of Naples: together with the answers of the embassadors (published in London: 1761, by T. Becket and P.A. De Hondt).
In the 1761 book, the information - listed as "Articles" in sequential Roman numerals, each "Article" followed by an "Answer" - sought by Henry dealt with all aspects of Joanna's appearance: the color of her hair, the condition of her teeth, the size and shape of her nose, the complexion of her skin, whether she had hair on her upper lip. "Article XVI" instructed the ambassadors to note "hir brestes... whether they be bigge or smale." The ambassadors told the king that Joanna's breasts "be somewhat great & fully, and in as much as that they were trussed somewhat high after the manner of (the) country, which causes her Grace for to seem much the fuller and her neck to be the shorter."
The ambassador's report on Joanna's appearance was satisfactory, but - according to historian Arthur L. Schwarz in 2009 - the marriage negotiations failed for political and financial reasons.
|This section does not cite any references or sources. (August 2012)|
|Ancestors of Joanna of Naples (1478–1518)|
- Charles Cawley, Medieval Lands, Kings of Naples
- Schwarz, Arthur L., VIVAT REX! An Exhibition Commemorating the 500th Anniversary of the Accession of Henry VIII (The Grolier Club, 2009), p. 58 "Henry's Father Searches for a New Wife".
- Marek, Miroslav. "A listing of descendants of Ferdinand IV of Castile". Genealogy.EU.
- A listing for the 1761 book Instructions given by King Henry the Seventh can be found in the on-line ESTC, English Short Title Catalogue; accessed 4 September 2010.
Joanna of Aragon
|Queen consort of Naples
Isabella del Balzo