Blanche of Castile, Infanta of Portugal
|Blanche of Castile|
|Abbess of Santa María la Real|
|Spouse||Infante Peter of Portugal
m. 1325 - div. 1330
|House||House of Burgundy|
|Father||Infante Peter of Castile, Lord of Los Cameros|
|Mother||Infanta Maria of Aragon|
Blanche of Castile (1319 – 1375), was by birth Infanta of Castile as a member of the Castilian House of Burgundy and by marriage Infanta of Portugal as the first wife of the heir of the throne.
Blanche was born in the city of Alcocer, Guadalajara in August 1319, two months after the death of her father in the Disaster of la Vega de Granada (25 June 1319). Her parents had married in December 1311 in the city of Calatayud. Her father, Infante Peter, was Lord of Los Cameros, Almazán, Berlanga de Duero, Monteagudo and Cifuentes and Mayordomo Mayor of his brother, King Ferdinand IV of Castile; after the latter's death (which occurred in 1312) he was appointed guardian of his nephew Alfonso XI of Castile and joint Regent of the Kingdom together with the infant King's grandmother (and Peter's mother), Maria de Molina and Infante John of Castile, Lord of Valencia de Campos (son of King Alfonso X of Castile), who was also killed in la Vega de Granada with Peter.
After the death of Infante Peter of Castile, Garci Lasso de la Vega (who later became in confidant of King Alfonso XI), wrote to King James II of Aragon that his son-in-law promised him that his unborn child would be raised by him as his ayo. King James II responded to Garci Lasso in a letter dated 7 August 1319 that he approved the late Infante's wish and also recommended him to continue to be a loyal servant for his daughter, the Infanta Maria.
In the spring of 1320, Blanche and her mother left the Kingdom of Castile for the Kingdom of Aragon, with the consent of Blanche's uncle Infante Philip of Castile and grandmother Maria de Molina, despite the fact that Blance was the sole heiress of Infante Peter's possessions.
However, Juan Manuel, Prince of Villena (grandson of King Ferdinand III of Castile and contender for the Regency of the Kingdom) and his wife Constance of Aragon (daughter of King James II and in consecuence Blanche's maternal aunt), insisted to King James II that Blanche and her mother remained in Castile under their protection. Several historians believed that the real purprose of Juan Manuel to kept his sister-in-law and niece under his control was to secure the support of his father-in-law King James II in his fight for the regency, and in the same time, managed Blanche's inheritance.
In 1322, her mother and Garci Lasso de la Vega, who was the administrator of her states in Castilian territory, agreed that Blanche should marry her cousin King Alfonso XI when she came of age; however, the plans fell through and the marriage didn't take place.
In 1325 King James II planned to marry his granddaughter to John of Castile, Lord of Biscay, nicknamed the One-Eyed, an enemy of Philip of Castile, Garci Lasso de la Vega and Alvar Núñez Osorio, who were the new confidants to Alfonso XI of Castile. In 1325 Alfonso XI attained his majority and annulled the betrothal of Blanche and John, feared that the Lord of Biscay would take possession of Blanche's lands, who are in the borders of the Kingdoms of Castile and Aragon, and from them he rebelled against him. On 31 October 1326, John of Castile was murdered in the town of Toro by orders of Alfonso XI.
In the city of Alfayete in September 1325, was signed the marriage contract between Blanche and Infante Peter of Portugal, son and heir of King Afonso IV; however, the bride, being underage, remained in Aragon until she had the proper age to travel to Portugal and performed the formal wedding.
In 1329, during the meetings between Kings Alfonso IV of Aragon and Alfonso XI of Castile in the cities of Ágreda and Tarazona, the Castilian King, using his presence in the Aragonese Kingdom, disposed that his cousin Blanche, who had lived with her mother there, returned with him to Castile, according to the Gran Crónica de Alfonso XI. One year later, in 1330, the Portuguese King obtained the annulment of his son's marriage on the grounds of non-consummation.
Once in the Kingdom of Castile, Blanche was appointed in 1331 Abbess of the Monastery of Santa María la Real at Las Huelgas, a post she held until her death in 1375. She was the last Abbess who held the civil dominion over the Monastery.
Blanche was buried in Las Huelgas, alongside her parents. During excavations in the Monastery in the first half of the 20th century was discovered that her remains are mummified, the mummy was big and corpulent, and her habit, black and white, was chopped.
Her body now rests on a simple stone tomb placed in the nave of the Epistle, opposite the tomb containing the remains of her mother, the Infanta Maria of Aragon.
|Ancestors of Blanche of Castile, Infanta of Portugal|
- Manuel García Fernández: La infanta Doña María, monja de Sijena, y su política castellana durante la minoría de Alfonso XI (1312-1325), Anuario de estudios medievales (Editores Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas, CSIC: Institución Milá y Fontanals. Departamento de Estudios Medievales) (28), 1998, p. 165.
- Jaime de Salazar y Acha: La casa del Rey de Castilla y León en la Edad Media (1ª edición). Madrid: Centro de Estudios Políticos y Constitucionales, 2000, p. 383.
- Máximo Diago Hernando: Vicisitudes de un gran estado señorial en la frontera de Castilla con Aragón durante la primera mitad del siglo XIV: los señoríos sorianos del Infante Don Pedro. Anuario de estudios medievales (Madrid: Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas) (35), 2005, p. 71.
- Manuel García Fernández: La infanta Doña María, monja de Sijena, y su política castellana durante la minoría de Alfonso XI (1312-1325), Anuario de estudios medievales (Editores Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas, CSIC: Institución Milá y Fontanals. Departamento de Estudios Medievales) (28), 1998, p. 170.
- Diego Catalán: Cátedra Seminario Menéndez Pidal, ed. Gran Crónica de Alfonso XI. Tomo II (1ª edición). Madrid: Editorial Gredos, 1977, p. 463.
- Manuel García Fernández: La infanta Doña María, monja de Sijena, y su política castellana durante la minoría de Alfonso XI (1312-1325), Anuario de estudios medievales (Editores Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas, CSIC: Institución Milá y Fontanals. Departamento de Estudios Medievales) (28), 1998, p. 173.
- Ricardo del Arco y Garay: Sepulcros de la Casa Real de Castilla. Madrid: Instituto Jerónimo Zurita. Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas, 1954, p. 272.
- Manuel Gómez-Moreno Martínez: El Panteón de las Huelgas Reales de Burgos. Instituto Diego Velázquez. Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas, 1946, pp. 34-36.
- Manuel Gómez-Moreno Martínez: El Panteón de las Huelgas Reales de Burgos. Instituto Diego Velázquez. Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas, 1946, p. 36.
- Translations from Spanish Wikipedia