Royal Women in Late Medieval Spain: Catalina of Lancaster, Leonor of Albuquerque, and María of Castile

  • Theresa Earenfight
Part of the The New Middle Ages book series (TNMA)


Queens Catalina of Lancaster (1372–1418), Leonor of Albuquerque (1374–1445), and María of Castile (1401–1458) were deeply involved in the political life of the realms of Castile and the Crown of Aragon and instrumental to the success of the Trastámara family. Like many of the women whose lives animate the chapters in this volume, they were at the center of, if not central to, significant events in their lifetimes. As Linda Mitchell demonstrates in this volume, scholars have treated noblewomen such as Joan de Valence as overshadowed by the men in their lives or have dismissed them as not important even though they left abundant narrative sources. Queens Catalina, Leonor, and María stand in the shadows of eight Trastámara monarchs of Castile, especially Fernando II of Aragón and Isabel of Castile, whose marriage in 1469 united the Castilian and Aragonese branches of the family (figure 11.1).1 Little has been written about these fascinating, controversial, and vitally important women who were part of the densely intertwined branches of a dynasty that dominated Castile, Navarre, and Aragon, and were influential in Portugal throughout the fifteenth century. Their family connections crisscross a genealogy and their marital strategies littered the papal curia with dispensations to marry close relatives. They were active in governance: Catalina was queen of Castile and had twice served as regent, once for her husband during his minority (1390) and then her infant son (1406).2


Fifteenth Century Town Council Royal Family Public Memorial Spanish History 
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© Charlotte Newman Goldy and Amy Livingstone 2012

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  • Theresa Earenfight

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