Juana I pp 305-325 | Cite as

The Demons of Tordesillas (1550–1555)

  • Gillian B. Fleming
Part of the Queenship and Power book series (QAP)


The absence through captivity of the proprietary monarch and the absence of the emperor in Europe for much of his reign marked the strangeness of the period, in which governors followed one after the other. The string of ‘regents’ increased tensions within government administration. At the same time, and in the absence of a will and testament by the lawful monarch of the Spanish kingdoms, the Trastámara legacy was contested within the family and threatened to tear the dynasty apart. Thus, the crisis of legitimacy that is the subject of this monograph ate its way into the heart of the dynasty until it erupted in bitter hostilities between Juana’s sons and grandsons at the summit of Augsburg of 1550–1551. Juana, at this stage in her life, is glimpsed through the prism of the visits made to Tordesillas by her grandchildren, and, in particular, by the monarchs of Bohemia, Maximilian and María. Juana’s inability to leave a will (which would have provided evidence of her sanity) clearly troubled her, for wills were of spiritual as well as material importance. At the same time, the queen seemed tormented by the demons that, she believed, were haunting the palace. Among the priests summoned to examine her state of mind, the Jesuit and later saint, Francisco de Borja, made repeated attempts to persuade her to carry out the rites of penitence and confess her sins. I conclude with a description of Juana’s last days, death and obsequies, and the funerary monument eventually placed in the Royal Chapel at Granada.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Gillian B. Fleming
    • 1
  1. 1.BrightonUK

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