Sunday, April 12, 2009

Today in History, Joanna of Castile the "Mad Queen"

On April 12, 1555 Isabella passed from this realm to the next. The daughter of Isabella I of Castile and Ferdinand II of Aragon. Together her parents laid the foundation for the political unification of Spain. Joanna of Castile more commonly referred to as Juana the Mad, Queen of Castile, Leon, and Queen of Aragon. She was the older sister of Catherine of Aragon who married the notorious king Henry VIII. In the end she was locked up by her son who later became Charles V The holy roman emperor. Held in a windowless room in the castle of Tordesillas. She died at the ripe age of 75 on good Sunday. Many believed she suffered from schizophrenia or manic depression.

It was only that easy to dismiss a sick queen and have legitimate reasoning for her life long imprisonment. First by her husband, then by her father, and later on by her own son. However she only showed signs of manic behavior and clinical depression when she was in under duress by her treatment from her husband and father. The men in her life just wan
ted her out of the way so they could take her rightful crown.

oanna was married to the Archduke Philip the Handsome. Joanna and Philip's marriage was filled with obsessive jealousy and later they had separated when Philip left her in Spain to go home with out her. She was in Spain to be become sworn heir to the Castile kingdom. After Philips death it is rumored that Joanna went mad some accounts claim that she took her husband's corpse with her to Tordesillas to keep it close to her.

She gave birth to six children two em
porers and four queens. Her youngest Catherine became Queen of Portugal. Catherine was kept with her mother in her prison cell during her grandfather's time as regent. Nobody would dare take Catherine off her mad mother so Catherine stayed with Joanna. She remained with her disturbed mother until the arrival in Spain of her eldest siblings Eleanor and Charles.One key point is that whether it was the rebels or her family after her, she never signed away her rights to her queenship, she would live as regent queen until her death.

I am very passionate ab
out Joanna because of a recommended read to me by my absolute favorite author Robin Maxwell. C.W. Gortner's The Last Queen is one of the best books I have ever read. It is a really eye opening point of view, with complete raw emotions of a vivid what if real life novel. A doomed Queen. Never allowed to rule.

"Juana of Castile, the last queen of Spanish blood to inherit her country’s throne, is an enigmatic figure, shrouded in lurid myth. Was she the bereft widow of legend who was driven mad by her loss, or has history misjudged a woman who was ahead of her time?"


  1. I really need to read The Last Queen. I haven't read any story directly about her... she was a very minor character in one of Jean Plaidy's Catherine of Aragon novels, but that is the extent of my knowledge. I like books that redeem the characters of the infamous.


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