Mafalda of Portugal

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Blessed Mafalda
Queen consort of Castile
Lady of Arouca
014 Arouca.jpg
Queen consort of Castile
Tenure 1215–1216
Spouse Henry I of Castile
House House of Burgundy
Father Sancho I
Mother Dulce of Aragon
Born c. 1197
Kingdom of Portugal
Died 1 May 1256
(aged 58–59)
Rio Tinto, Gondomar, Kingdom of Portugal
Burial Arouca Convent, Portugal
Religion Roman Catholicism

Infanta Mafalda of Portugal (c. 1197 – Rio Tinto, Gondomar, May 1, 1256; Portuguese pronunciation: [mɐˈfaɫdɐ]) was a Portuguese infanta (princess), later Queen consort of Castile for a brief period. She was the second youngest daughter of King Sancho I of Portugal and Dulce of Aragon.

In 1215, Mafalda married Henry I of Castile. As he was very young, the marriage was not consummated, and it was dissolved in 1216.

After that she became a nun in Arouca and died in Rio Tinto (Gondomar) on May 1, 1256.

On June 27, 1793 she was beatified.


On the death of her father, Mafalda, under the provisions of his will, was to receive the Seia Castle and the remaining portion of the municipality as well as all income produced there. Furthermore, she was granted the right to use the title of queen. This created a conflict with her brother Alfonso II El Gordo, who, wanting a centralized power, hindered his sister from receiving the titles and the corresponding rights. Alfonso feared that something similar could happen with his two sisters, Teresa and Sancha, and their eventual heirs, creating a problem of sovereignty that could come to divide the country. Much of the Portuguese nobles sided with Mafalda and her sisters, but they were defeated. On the death of Alfonso II, his son Sancho II granted some lands and castles to his aunts but he made them renounce the title of princess-queen. The final peace came in 1223.

Religious life[edit]

Finally, both Mafalda and her sisters became Cistercian nuns. Mafalda founded the Abbey of Arouca. On May 1, 1256 she died in the monastery of Rio Tinto. Wanting to move her body to Arouca they found it had not deteriorated, which generated a strong devotion to the Portuguese princess. On June 27, 1793 she was beatified by Pope Pius VI, accompanying as well her sisters Teresa and Sancha, declared devotees from the early eighteenth century. Her feast is celebrated on May 2.


Preceded by
Leonora of England
Queen Consort of Castile
Succeeded by
Beatriz of Swabia