Leonor de Castro Mello y Meneses

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Leonor Castro de Mello y Meneses (born 1512, died March 27 of 1546, in Gandía) was the IVth Duchess of Gandia.[1][2] She was a noble Portuguese and the Lady and close friend of the Empress Isabella of Portugal. She was daughter of Álvaro of Castro "the Old", Captain-general of Africa of the King Manuel I of Portugal and of Isabel de Melo Barreto e Menezes. Her brother, Rodrigo de Castro, was governor of the Portuguese seat of Safí (Morocco).


During 1529 the negotiations took place to resolve her marriage with Francis de Borja.[3] The emperor Carlos I of Spain, represented by his butler Pedro González de Mendoza, negotiating in name of Leonor, urging the Duke of Gandía to accept her conditions. After agreeing the marriage, the spouses met in Toledo in August, 1529.

Her marriage with Francis Borja took place in 1529 in the Royal Alcazar of Madrid. They had eight children, of whom five were males and three women: Carlos in 1530, Isabel in 1532, Juan in 1533, Álvaro in 1535, Juana Francisca in 1535, Fernando in 1537, Dorotea in 1538 and Alonso in 1539.

She accompanied her husband to Grenada for the burial of Isabella of Portugal, (mother of Philip II of Spain). Meneses was her Lady and a close friend.


She passed her last days in the Monastery of Sant Jeroni de Cotalba, very near to Gandia. Leonor de Castro died on March 27 of 1546.

At the death of Leonor de Castro, her husband, Francis Borja, saddened, resigned his goods and possessions in favor of his children, yields the pertaining to nobility titles and goes to Rome, where in June, 1546, he would enter in the Society of Jesus.


See also[edit]


  1. ^ Tabla de parentescos de don Fernando de Castilla, Regidor de La Palma (S. XVI). (English)
  2. ^ Biography about Sant Francis Borja (Spanish)
  3. ^ Sebastián Lozano, Jorge (2011): San Francisco de Borja, Grande de España, Arte y espiritualidad en la cultura de los siglos XVI y XVII. page 69. (Spanish)

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