Castro, Inés de

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.

Castro, Inés de

Inés de Castro, or Inez de Castro (both: ī´nĕz də kăs´trō, Port. ēnĕsh´ dĬ käsh´trŏŏ), d. 1355, Spanish noblewoman, a celebrated beauty, and a tragic figure in Portuguese history. She went (1340) to Portugal as a lady in waiting to Constance of Castile, wife of the heir to the Portuguese throne, Dom Pedro (later Peter I). He fell in love with her. Although his father, Alfonso IV, banished her from court, the prince continued to see her. After Constance died (1345), he established a household with her at Coimbra, where she bore him four children. Her brothers, however, gained political influence and aroused the opposition of Alfonso's advisers. Three of those advisers persuaded the king that Inés must be removed to preserve the legitimate succession to the throne and with his permission murdered Inés. Dom Pedro, overcome with grief and anger, led a rebellion against his father; but peace was restored, and the prince promised to forgive the murderers. When he became (1357) king, however, he extradited two of the advisers from Castile and executed them horribly; the third escaped. Peter announced that he had been secretly married to Inés and had two tombs erected at Alcobaça depicting the life story of Inés in marble. It is not true that he had her disinterred and crowned as queen, but that story was immortalized in a drama of Juan Ruiz de Alarcón y Mendoza. The romantic story of the love affair has been a favorite theme of Portuguese writers and has been much used by Spanish and other writers also. Inés's sons subsequently contested the claim of their half-brother, John I, to the Portuguese throne.

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