Ines De Castro: A Tragic Heroin
Inês de Castro ( 1320-1355) was a noblewoman from Galicia who found herself involved in a plot filled with power, betrayal, dishonor and death. She was the daughter of Pedro Fernandez de Castro, an illegitimate grandson of King Sancho IV of Castile. In 1339 she arrives in Portugal to be a lady-in-waiting to her cousin, Infanta Constanza of Castile, who was to marry the heir to the Portuguese throne, Don Pedro.
Love has no boundaries, destroys kingdoms, and does not understand about kings, alliances or compromise. Pedro fell madly in love with Ines in spite of being already married to Constanza. King Alfonso IV, Pedro’s father, tries to put distance between the lovers and sends Ines back to Spain. However, this move not only didn’t break them apart but made their love stronger.
In 1349, Constanza, Pedro’s wife, died after giving birth to their daughter Maria and he decided to call Ines back to Portugal against his father’s orders. They both settled in the Monastery of Santa Clara, Coimbra and have four children together. In 1351, they ask for a papal dispensation to get married as they were cousins and according to the Catholic Church they could not wed. However, the Pope never accepted the request.
King Alfonso was afraid that if Ines became queen she could be a danger to Portugal’s monarchy, so on January 7, 1355, while his son Pedro was on a hunting trip, he ordered the execution of Ines.
After Ines was murdered at the order of his father, Pedro started a military uprising that led Portugal to a civil war that lasted two years until King Alfonso dies and Pedro becomes king.
His revenge was horrific. He executes two of the men who murdered Ines by tearing their hearts out while still alive, except for the third one that was able to escape. Afterwards, he proclaims his secret marriage to Ines, made her lawful queen and legitimized her children as rightful heirs. And now here is where reality and legend mix.
Pedro commissions two ornate beautiful tombs to be built in the Monastery of Alcobaça, orders the exhumation of Ines’ corpse, that was buried in Coimbra, and prepares a coronation ceremony for the dead queen. She is placed on the throne dressed in royal garments and forces all noblemen to pay their respects by kissing the “queen corpse” hand.