Portugal - Famous Renaissance Women

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Joan of Portugal
6.2.1452 - 125.1490
Blessed Joan of Portugal

Joan of Portugal was a Portuguese saint, Regent and princess of the House of Aviz, daughter of King Afonso V of Portugal and his first wife Isabella of Coimbra. Infanta Joan of Portugal was the second child of Afonso, but after the early death of her older brother John she was declared heiress to the throne in spite of being female. She was given the title of "Princess of Portugal," a title was reserved for the heir apparent. Other children of the king were styled, "Infante (Prince)" or "Infanta (Princess)". Even though she lost it after the birth of her younger brother, the future John II of Portugal, among the people she continued to be known as Princess Joan. From a young age, Joan expressed a desire to become a nun; however, as she was second-in-line to the throne, her father did not allow it. During his military expedition to Tangier in 1471, Joan served as Regent of the Portuguese Kingdom.

After vehemently refusing several proposals of marriage, Joan joined the
Dominican Convent of Jesus in Aveiro in 1475. Her brother had, by then, been given an heir, so the family line was no longer in danger of extinction. Still, she was compelled several times to leave the convent and return to the court. She turned down an offer of marriage from Charles VII of France, 18 years her junior. In 1485, she received another offer, from the recently-widowed Richard III of England, who was only 8 months younger. This was to be part of a double marital alliance, with his niece Elizabeth of York marrying her cousin, the future Manuel I. However, his death in battle, of which Joan allegedly had a prophetic dream, halted these plans. Joan never formally professed as a nun. She continued to be a great supporter of her brother, John II of Portugal, throughout his reign and her life. Joan died on 12 May 1490 in Aveiro and was buried in the Convent of Jesus in Aveiro. She was beatified in 1693 by Pope Innocent XII. As of this writing she has not been canonized, but she is known in Portugal as the Princess Saint Joan.

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Eleanor of Viseu
Eleanor of Viseu

Eleanor of Viseu was a Portuguese infanta (princess) and later Queen Consort of Portugal. To distinguish her from other infantas of the same name, she is commonly known as Eleanor of Viseu (after her father's title) or Eleanor of Lancaster (Lancaster, a name used by some Portuguese royals after her great-grandmother Queen Philippa). In Portugal, she is known universally as Rainha Dona Leonor. She is considered as one of the more notable of the Portuguese queen consorts. She was the second, and one of only two queen consorts in Portugal, who was not a foreigner.Eleanor was a daughter of Infante Fernando, Duke of Viseu, and his wife and cousin Beatrice of Portugal. Her maternal grandparents were Infante João of Portugal and his wife and niece Isabella of Braganza. Eleanor had a sister, Isabella of Viseu who married Fernando II, 3rd Duke of Braganza, who was later accused and executed for treason by King John II (Eleanor's husband). Eleanor's older brother, Diogo, Duke of Viseu, was also alleged to be involved and was stabbed to death by the king himself.

The marriage of Eleanor and John was not always happy: although some later writers called him 'the Perfect Prince', his subjects called him 'John the Tyrant'. Eleanor resented his affair with Anna de Mendoza, which resulted in the birth of an illegitimate son, George (Jorge). She also objected to the persecution of her brothers Diogo and Manuel. The couple only had one child, Alfonso, who was tragically killed in a riding accident at the age of sixteen, soon after marrying Princess Isabella of Castile, eldest daughter of Ferdinand and Isabella. After this, John attempted to have George legitimised in order to make him heir to the throne. Eleanor was furious: not only was he exalting his mistress's child, he was also trying to disinherit her brother Manuel, the nearest legitimate male heir. She and her allies were successful in blocking the move, and Pope Alexander VI refused to legitimise George.

After her husband's death in 1495 and her brother's accession, Eleanor devoted herself to good works. She founded a charity, the Santa Casa de Misercordia, which set up houses to care for orphaned children and the poor and sick: some survive to this day. Eleanor also used her wealth to establish hospitals and the convent of Madre de Deus, where she died on 17th November 1525 at the age of 67.

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Anna of Austria Queen Consort of Spain and Portugal
Anna of Austria

Anna of Austria, was Queen consort of Spain and Portugal. She was the first daughter of Maximilian II, Holy Roman Emperor and Maria of Spain. She was born in Spain, but lived in Vienna from the age of four.Anna was considered the favorite child of her father. The story goes that he enjoyed playing and gambling with her even once a meeting of the State of Hungary was postponed because Anna was sick. Anna received a Catholic education, even though her father was sympathetic to Lutheranism. Her many brothers, included the later emperors Rudolph II and Matthias, also Archduke Albert of Austria, were partially educated at the Spanish-Habsburg court. As the eldest daughter of the Holy Roman Emperor, Anna was a desirable party for marriage at the European courts. Her parents thought of a Spanish marriage for its links between the Austrian and Spanish Habsburg families. Initially she had her cousin Don Carlos of Spain in mind, the only son of her maternal uncle Philip II of Spain. These plans were shattered in 1568 when Don Carlos died, due to falling out with his father and going on hunger strike. The Spanish marriage plans received a boost when Philip's third wife, Elisabeth of Valois, also died and Philip was now a widower with two young daughters. Philip had been married three times: firstly to his double first cousin Maria Manuela, Princess of Portugal, secondly to first cousin, one removed Mary I of England and thirdly to the previously mentioned Elisabeth of Valois. Philip was now looking for his fourth wife, since he had no male heirs since Carlos died. In February 1569 Anna's engagement to her uncle Philip II was announced. In May 1570 they married by proxy.

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Catherine of Austria, Queen Consort of Portugal
Catherine of Austria

Catherine of Austria, also called Catherine of Castile was (as wife of King John III of Portugal) Queen consort of Portugal. She was the regent of Portugal during the minority of her grandson from 1557 until 1562.An Infanta of Castile, Archduchess of Austria and Princess of Burgundy, she was the posthumous daughter of Philip of Habsburg by Joanna of Castile. She was named in honor of her maternal aunt, Catherine of Aragon, first wife of King Henry VIII of England. She remained with her disturbed mother until the arrival in Spain of her eldest siblings (Eleanor and Charles), all her elder siblings (bar her brother Ferdinand, who had also been born in Spain, and raised by their grandfather) had been put into the care of Margaret of Habsburg (1480-1530), but Joanna kept hold of her young daughter Catherine; Catherine was kept with her mother in her prison cell during her grandfather's time as regent. Catherine and two ladies-in-waiting stayed with Joanna. Catherine had nothing to do all day, except to look out of the window. Eleanor brought about the creation of her own household within the castle that her mother was virtually imprisoned in. She was a younger sister of Eleanor of Habsburg, Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor, Isabella of Habsburg, Ferdinand I, Holy Roman Emperor, and Mary of Habsburg. On 10 February 1525, Catherine married her first cousin, King John III of Portugal. They had nine children, but only two survived early childhood. After the death of her husband in 1557, she was challenged by her daughter-in-law and niece, Archduchess Joan of Austria (1535–1573), over the role of regent for her grandchild infant King Sebastian. Mediation by Charles V resolved the issue in favour of his sister Catherine, over his daughter Joan, who was needed in Spain in the absence of Phillip II. She then served as the regent of Portugal from 1557 until 1562. In 1562, she turned over the regency to Henry of Portugal.

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Eleanor of Aragon,
Queen consort of Portugal
Eleanor of Aragon

Eleanor of Aragon was queen consort of Portugal as the spouse of Edward I of Portugal, and the regent of Portugal as the guardian of her son. She was the daughter of Ferdinand I of Aragon and Eleanor of Alburquerque.She married King Edward of Portugal on 22 September 1428. They had nine children, of whom five survived to adulthood. When her husband died on 13 September 1438, she was appointed as regent of Portugal in his will, which was confirmed by the cortes. However, she was inexperienced and, as an Aragonese, unpopular with the people, who preferred the late king's brother Infante Peter, Duke of Coimbra. The confirmation of her regency therefore caused a riot in Lisbon. The riot was suppressed by her brother Count John of Barcelona. She was supported by the nobility and the will, while Peter was supported by a fraction of the nobility and by the people. Negotiations for a compromise arrangement were drawn out over several months, but were complicated by the interference of the Count of Barcelos, who supported her, and the Archbishop of Lisbon, who supported Peter, and also by her giving birth to a posthumous daughter in March 1439, and by the death of her eldest daughter, Philippa. Eventually, the Cortes appointed Peter the sole regent. Eleanor continued conspiring, but was forced to go into exile in Castile in December 1440. She died at Toledo in February 1445 and is buried in Batalha, Portugal.

File:Elisabet, reina de Portugal.jpg

Isabella,Queen Consort of Portugal and the Algarves
Isabella of Asturias

Isabella of Asturias was the Queen Consort of Portugal and the eldest daughter and heiress presumptive of King Ferdinand II of Aragon and Queen Isabella of Castile. She was the sister of Catherine of Aragon. In 1490 Isabella married Afonso, Crown Prince of Portugal, the heir of John II of Portugal. Though it was an arranged marriage, Isabella and Afonso fell in love, and Isabel was grief-stricken when he died in 1491: sent home to her parents by John II, she declared that she would never marry again, and would enter a convent. Her parents ignored this, and in 1497 she was married to Manuel I of Portugal, Afonso's uncle and John II's successor. In the same year, she became Princess of Asturias and heiress of Castile, following the death of her brother, John.

In 1498, she herself died in child-birth, giving birth to Miguel da Paz, who was heir to the thrones of Castile and Portugal until his death in 1500. Manuel's chance to become king of Castile vanished with Isabella's death, and the main hope of uniting all Iberian kingdoms vanished at Miguel's death. Manuel then married Isabella's younger sister, Maria of Aragon, who bore him his son and heir John III. Portugal and Spain would themselves be united from 1580 -1640, when Manuel and Maria's grandson (by their daughter Isabella and Charles I of Spain), Philip II of Spain, claimed Portugal.


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Infanta Isabella of Coimbra
Infanta Isabella of Coimbra

Her paternal grandfather was King John I of Portugal and her maternal grandfather was James II Count of Urgel.Isabella was a daughter of Infante Peter Duke of Coimbra and Isabella of Aragon, Countess of Urgel. Isabella fell in love with Alfonso V her cousin, and he felt in love with her as well; and her father was the regent of her cousin.In 1445 they were engaged, but the engagement caused trouble between the Duke Alfonso of Braganza and Peter of Coimbra, because Duke Alfonso wants to marry his grandchild to the monarch.The day of the marriage she was given the income of: Santamaren, Alvaiazere, Sintra and Torres Vedras. On May 1447 Isabella and Alfonso v were married. By the time of their marriage they both was fifteen years of age, together they have 3 children.

In 1448, the father of Isabella died, people suspected he had been killed, her brother was exile and the King took Alfonso of Braganza as his advisor. Isabella took control over the duchy of Coimbra until her brother return to Portugal in 1554, however Isabella did not fall out of favour with the King.Isabella died at twenty-three years of age, possibly by poisoning.

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Maria of Aragon, Queen of Portugal

Maria of Aragon- Queen of Portugal

Making her the queen consort of Portugal, and the second wife of Portuguese King Manuel I, she was a Spanish Infanta, and was queen consort from her marriage on 30 October 1500 until her death.
She had 10 children, eight of whom reached adulthood.

She was the fourth of five children, and has a twin sister, who was still born.
On 29 June 1482 she born in Cordoba , she was the third surviving daughter of Isabella I of Castile and Ferdinand II of Aragon.( The Catholic Monarchs).
One of her sister was Joanna, married Philip, Duke of Burgund; Joanna was the mother of Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor.Her other sister was Catherine of Aragon, wife of Henry VIII of England and she was the mother of Mary I of England.The insanity that supposedly ran in the royal family, Mary did not inherit, and was said to have affected her sister Joanna, who was know as Joanna the Mad.

Before her marriage to Manuel I of Portugal, as a Infanta of Spain, her hand of marriage was very important in European politics;her parents entertained the idea of marrying her off to King James IV of Scotland.
All this happened Catherine's her younger sister marriage to Arthur, Prince of Wales, was being planned.
Maria's parents Ferdinand and Isabella, though that if she became Queen of Scotland, between their husbands the two sisters could keep the peace.These plans came to nothing; the first wife of Manuel I was her eldest sister isabella Princess of Asturias.
In 1498 when Isabella died, that created a necessity for Manuel to remarry; reaffirming dynastical links with the future Spain, Maria became the next bride of the Portuguese King.
On October 30, 1500 Manuel and Maria married in Alcazar de Sal. They had 10 children, eight reached adulthood, including King John III of Portugal, Isabella, Holy Roman Empress and Beatrice, Duchess of Savoy.

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