Eleanor of Austria

Queen of Portugal, Queen of France

Eleanor of Austria from a painting by Pieter Coecke van Aelst the Elder
Eleanor of Austria from a painting by Pieter Coecke van Aelst the Elder. Fine Art Images/Heritage Images/Getty Images

Eleanor of Austria Facts

Known for: her dynastic marriages, linking her Habsburg family to the rulers of Portugal and France. She was a daughter of Joanna of Castile (Juana the Mad).
Titles included: Infanta of Castile, Archduchess of Austria, Queen consort of Portugal, Queen consort of France (1530 - 1547)
Dates: November 15, 1498 - February 25, 1558
Also known as: Eleanor of Castile, Leonor, Eleonore, Alienor
Predecessor as Queen Consort of France: Claude of France (1515 - 1524)
Successor as Queen Consort of France: Catherine de Medici (1547 - 1559)

Background, Family:

  • Mother: Joanna of Castile, known as Juana the Mad
  • Father: Philip of Austria
  • Siblings: Holy Roman Emperor Charles V, Queen Isabella of Denmark, Holy Roman Emperor Ferdinand I, Queen Mary of Hungary, Queen Catherine of Portugal

Marriage, Children:

  1. husband: Manuel I of Portugal (married July 16, 1518; died of plague December 13, 1521)
    • Infante Charles of Portugal (born 1520, died in childhood)
    • Infanta Maria, Lady of Viseu (born June 8, 1521)
  2. husband: Francis I of France (married July 4, 1530; Eleanor crowned May 31, 1531; died March 31, 1547)

Eleanor of Austria Biography:

Eleanor of Austria was the first-born of Joanna of Castile and Philip of Austria, who would later co-rule Castile. In her childhood, Eleanor was betrothed to the young English prince, the future Henry VIII, but when Henry VII died and Henry VIII became king, Henry VIII married his brother's widow, Catherine of Aragon, instead.

Catherine was a younger sister of Eleanor's mother, Joanna.

Others proposed as husbands for this very eligible princess included:

  • Louis XII of France
  • Sigismund I of Poland
  • Antoine, Duke of Lorraine
  • John III of Poland

Eleanor was rumored to be in love with Frederich III, Elector Palatine. Her father was suspicious that they'd been secretly married, and to protect her marriage prospects with more eligible husbands, Eleanor and Frederich were made to swear that they had not married.

Raised in Austria, in 1517 Eleanor went to Spain with her brother. She was finally matched with Manuel I of Portugal; his earlier wives included two of her mother's sisters. They were married on July 16, 1518. Two children were born during this marriage; only Maria (born 1521) survived childhood. Manuel died in December of 1521, and, leaving her daughter in Portugal, Eleanor returned to Spain. Her sister Catherine married Eleanor's stepson, Manuel's son who became King John III of Portugal.

In 1529, the Peace of the Ladies (Paix des Dames or Treaty of Cambrai) was negotiated between the Habsburgs and France, ending fighting between France and the forces of Emperor Charles V, Eleanor's brother. This treaty arranged for Eleanor's marriage to Francis I of France, who, with several of his sons, had been held captive in Spain by Charles V.

During this marriage, Eleanor fulfilled a public role of queen, though Francis preferred his mistress. Eleanor had no children during this marriage. She raised Francis' daughters by his first marriage to Queen Claude.

Eleanor left France in 1548, the year after Francis died. After her brother Charles abdicated in 1555, she returned with him and a sister to Spain the next year.

In 1558, Eleanor went to visit her daughter, Maria, after 28 years apart. Eleanor died on the return trip.

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Lewis, Jone Johnson. "Eleanor of Austria." ThoughtCo, Apr. 20, 2017, thoughtco.com/eleanor-of-austria-3529248. Lewis, Jone Johnson. (2017, April 20). Eleanor of Austria. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/eleanor-of-austria-3529248 Lewis, Jone Johnson. "Eleanor of Austria." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/eleanor-of-austria-3529248 (accessed November 21, 2017).