Constance of Castile, Duchess of Lancaster
|Constance of Castile|
|Duchess of Lancaster|
|Died||24 March 1394 (aged 39–40)|
Leicester Castle, Leicestershire, Kingdom of England
|Spouse||John of Gaunt, 1st Duke of Lancaster|
|Issue||Catherine, Queen of Castile|
|House||Castilian House of Ivrea|
|Father||Peter of Castile|
|Mother||María de Padilla|
Constance of Castile (1354 – 24 March 1394) was a claimant to the Crown of Castile. She was the daughter of King Peter, who was deposed and killed by his half-brother, King Henry II. She married the English prince John of Gaunt, who fought to obtain the throne of Castile in her name, but ultimately failed.
Constance was the daughter of King Peter and María de Padilla. Peter had secretly married María, but was forced to repudiate her. Their relationship endured throughout his subsequent marriages, however. Peter was killed in 1369 by his half-brother Henry II, who then ascended the throne. Constance remained outside Henry's control, besieged at Carmona, until 1371. On 21 September, at Roquefort, near Bordeaux, Guienne, she married the English prince John of Gaunt, 1st Duke of Lancaster. Constance's younger sister, Isabella, married John's younger brother Edmund of Langley, 1st Duke of York. John and Constance had a son, John (1374–1375), and a daughter, Catherine.
A third son with no prospect of ascending the English throne, John intended to claim the throne of Castile in Constance's name. On 9 February 1372 Constance made a ceremonial entry into London as the queen of Castile, accompanied by John's eldest brother, Edward, the Black Prince, and an escort of English and Castilian retainers and London dignitaries. Crowds lined the streets to see her as she processed to the Savoy Palace in the Strand where she was ceremonially received by her husband, who had proclaimed himself king on 29 January.
John insisted that English nobles address him as "my lord of Spain", but was unsuccessful in his attempts to obtain the crown. His and Constance's daughter, Catherine, was married to Henry II's grandson, Henry III, thus uniting these two rival claims.
- Leese, Thelma Anna, Blood royal: issue of the kings and queens of medieval England, 1066-1399, (Heritage Books Inc., 1996), 222.
- G.E. Cokayne; with Vicary Gibbs, H.A. Doubleday, Geoffrey H. White, Duncan Warrand and Lord Howard de Walden, editors, The Complete Peerage of England, Scotland, Ireland, Great Britain and the United Kingdom, Extant, Extinct or Dormant, new ed, 13 volumes in 14 (1910-1959 reprint in 6 volumes, Gloucester, U.K. Alan Sutton Publishing, 2000), volume XII/2, page 908 Hereinafter cited as The Complete Peerage
- Jonathan Sumption, Divided Houses: The Hundred Years War III (Faber & Faber, 2009), p. 122.
- Ladies of the Garter, 1358-1488 - website heraldica.org
- Leland's Itenerary Vol.1 Page 17 The Collegiate Church Newarke Constance daughter of Peter King of Castile, and wife of John of Gaunt, lieth before that High Altar in a tomb of marble with an image [Brass] (Like A Queen) on it
- Charles James Billson, Mediaeval Leicester (Leicester, 1920)