Isabella of Portugal l (1428 - 1496)

Queen of Castile

Tomb of Isabel of Portugal and John II of Castile, Santa Maria de Miraflores charterhouse
Tomb of Isabel of Portugal and John II of Castile, Santa Maria de Miraflores charterhouse. Gonzalo Azumendi / Getty Images

Isabella of Portugal Facts

Known for: Queen of Castile; mother of Queen Isabella I of Spain
Dates: 1428 - August 15, 1496
Also known as: Isabella of Castile

Background, Family:

  • Mother: Isabella of Braganza (Isabella or Isabel of Barcelos)
  • Father: Infante John, son of John I of Portugal and Philippa of Lancaster (daughter of John of Gaunt and his first wife, Blanche of Lancaster)
  • Siblings: Diogo of Portugal (1425 - 1433), Beatrice of Portugal (1430 - 1506, mother of Manuel I of Portugal), Philippa of Portugal (1432 - 1444, Lady of Almada)

    Marriage, Children:

    • husband: John II of Castile (married July 22, 1447; died July 1454)
    • children:
      • Isabella I, Queen of Castile and Aragon (co-ruler with her husband Ferdinand)
      • Alfonso, Prince of Asturias

    Isabella of Portugal Biography:

    Isabella of Portugal, daughter of a prince of Portugal, was married to John II of Castile as his second wife. John's first wife was Mary of Aragon; their son was Henry IV of Castile. John decided to remarry when it became apparent that Henry's marriage to Blanche II of Navarre would remain unconsummated.

    Isabella's daughter, also named Isabella, was born in 1451. Isabella (the mother) was deeply depressed and withdrawn after that birth. In 1453, she bore a son, Alfonso.

    The next year, her husband John died, and Isabella's childless stepson Henry IV succeeded, having divorced Blanche. His new wife, Joan of Portugal, became pregnant; it was rumored that the child was really the daughter of Beltran de La Cheva, and the daughter was known as La Beltraneja.

    Isabella's depression worsened, and she became more disconnected from reality. She did not recognize people around her at times. Henry IV had her children brought to court, to keep them from being used by his opposition. Alfonso, Isabella's son died in 1468, and there were rumors that the cause was not natural.

    Isabella's daughter Isabella married the heir to Aragon, Ferdinand, without the permission of her half-brother, Henry. When Henry IV died in 1474, Isabella of Castile became Queen in Castile, passing over "La Beltraneja."  

    The new queen did not visit her mother for many years, and Isabella of Portugal's mental condition apparently continued to worsen.  When her mother was dying, she did finally visit, but her mother no longer recognized her.

    Isabella of Portugal, who had been Queen consort of Castile, was buried next to her son and her husband.