How the dead Ines de Castro became Queen of Portugal

How the dead Ines de Castro became Queen of Portugal

Categories: Europe | History

They say that love conquers death. Of course, this is a figurative expression, but the story of the Portuguese king Pedro I and his beloved Ines de Castro illustrates it well. The monarch's love for his bride was so strong that even the fact that the woman died did not interfere with the wedding. This couple is called the Portuguese Romeo and Juliet, and over the centuries their romance has acquired many myths.

How the dead Ines de Castro became Queen of Portugal

The events took place in Portugal in the 14th century. The son of King Alfonso IV, heir to the throne Pedro, was forced into a political marriage at the insistence of his father. His bride was Princess Constance of Castile. The Infante did not feel any warm feelings for his betrothed - nothing personal, only dynastic goals and strengthening the alliance with neighboring Castile.

How the dead Ines de Castro became Queen of Portugal

A large retinue came to Lisbon with Constance. Among the noble ladies who arrived with the bride was the maid of honor Ines de Castro. The heir to the monarchy saw her and fell in love at first sight. He secretly met with Ines and explained himself, and she reciprocated.

But this novel could not influence the course of events - state affairs came first. 7 years passed and Pedro's wife died in childbirth. The heir grieved for show and was completely focused on his feelings for the beautiful Spaniard. Pedro brought Ines to the palace and announced to his father that he was going to marry her. King Alfonso could not allow this marriage to take place.

How the dead Ines de Castro became Queen of Portugal

Ines de Castro was noble enough to turn a blind eye to her non-royal origins. The matter was completely different. She came from a Castilian family, whose members were ardent supporters of the return of Portugal to Castile rule. Ines had numerous brothers who actively took part in the political intrigues of the Castilian court. King Alfonso IV and his entourage were afraid that Pedro, inexperienced in state affairs, would fall under their influence.

They tried to get rid of Inez in a variety of ways. They tried to discredit her, persuade her, bribe her and even threatened her. But the lovers’ feelings only became stronger and nothing helped. The relationship developed rapidly and de Castro gave birth to four children for Pedro. The king feared that they would lay claim to the Portuguese throne, which would lead to civil war.

The king's associates managed to convince him that the only way out was to kill Ines. To prevent Pedro from interfering with his plan, he was sent on a military campaign, and hired killers were sent to de Castro. There is a legend that the woman threw herself at the feet of the king and he called off the reprisal. But probably everything was different and a terrible murder was committed. Karl Bryullov’s painting “The Death of Inessa de Castro”, exhibited in the Russian Museum, is dedicated to this historical event.

How the dead Ines de Castro became Queen of Portugal

The canvas of the great painter has no historical authenticity. It is not known exactly how Ines died. According to one version, she was stabbed to death by three assassins; according to another, the woman was executed on false charges of treason. But the fact remains that in 1355 Ines de Castro died.

Pedro learned of the king's treacherous act and vowed revenge. He rebelled against his father and the civil war, which Alfonso did not want, began. It continued until the death of the monarch in 1357. After this, Pedro, as the rightful heir, ascended the throne.

They say that after becoming king, Pedro’s first act was to deal with the murderers of his beloved. He personally killed them and tore out their hearts. And then the new monarch expressed a desire to marry... Ines de Castro. On June 25, 1361, 6 years after her death, the woman’s body was removed from the crypt and dressed in a wedding dress. The corpse was seated on the throne and Pedro I personally placed the crown on its head.

How the dead Ines de Castro became Queen of Portugal

After this, the king forced all the courtiers to kneel before the dead body and kiss his hand. Thus, they took the oath of allegiance to the new queen. Immediately after the terrible ceremony, the dead Ines was taken to the city of Alcobaza and placed in the sarcophagus of the royal tomb. Most likely, the ceremony was needed only so that Pedro I’s beloved could be buried with royal honors.

King Pedro I himself did not reign for long. In 1367 he died and was buried next to Ines de Castro. Their sarcophagi are installed opposite each other. This was done so that on the Day of Judgment the king and queen could rise from their tombs to meet each other. The inscription on the king’s sarcophagus reads: “Ate o fim do mundo...”, that is, “until the end of the world...”.

How the dead Ines de Castro became Queen of Portugal

Many historians question this romantic story. There is not a single document confirming the coronation of the dead Ines de Castro. All records of this case appeared much later and, due to differences in facts, they are all subject to skepticism. But the Portuguese believe in this story, making it a national legend.

Several theatrical productions have been created based on the tragic love of Pedro and Ines. And in 2009, French filmmakers presented the feature film “The Dead Queen.” There are other stories when monarchs, after the death of their loved ones, did not want to part with them. The Castilian queen Juana I the Mad did not allow her husband Philip the Fair to be buried for 8 months.

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