The Lost Fort

My Travel and History Blog, Focussing mostly on Roman and Mediaeval Times


3 Apr 2007
  A Royal Mess .... eh, Mistress

I'm preparing a post about Donizetti's opera Maria Padilla but got a bit sidetracked by the historical background. Since it ties in with Edward III (whom we already have met in L'assedio di Calais), I think there might be some interest among my readers. Unfortunately, the Wikipedia article is a mess, but I don't want to get so sidetracked as to look for books in the University Library. The Spanish version is more detailed and obviously makes more sense, but my Spanish doesn't make any, lol. Maybe David can read it and add some interesting details.

Maria de Padilla (1134-1361) was mistress and later the wife of King Pedro the Cruel of Castille (1334-1369; he's also called 'el Justiciero', the Law-Abiding?, depending on the sources).

The first connection of the young King of Castille with Edward III is that he was supposed to marry Edward's daughter Joan, but she caught the plague on her way to Castille and died. Next candidate for marriage was Blanche of Bourbon - first England and now France, and with the Hudred Years War going on. Makes one wonder. Pedro's mother and her Portugesian favourite Alfonso de Albuquerque may have talked him into that alliance.

At that time Pedro was already living with Maria de Padilla. She was of the Spanish noblity and daughter of Juan García de Padilla, Señor de Villagera. So when Blanche arrived, Pedro took one look and put her off to the Alcazar in Toledo, which did not please the French and Albuquerque one bit. Nor did it please the Pope. Pedro didn't care about Albuquerque who fell from favour faster than a Bavarian peasant boy falls off the ladder to the window of a girl who doesn't like him. France and the Pope were another matter, but not even the latter could talk Pedro into sending off Maria instead of his wife.

And here's where part of the confusion comes in. Blanche died in 1359, but it is said Pedro married Maria in 1353. Was the marriage to Blanche annuled, or was she indeed killed by instigation of the king because the Pope would not annul the marriage, and would Pedro and Maria then have married in 1359? And what role plays another woman, Juana de Castro, who seems to have seeked to replace Maria but without success? Well, fact is that the children of Pedro and Maria must have been legitimized at some point, or Edward III would scarcely have married his younger sons to them: John of Gaunt married Constance, and Edmund of Langley Isabella. There's the next connection to the Plantagenets. Alliances with England again. Don't you love politics?.

Maria de Padilla died in 1361 but I have not found any details (childbirth, illness?).

Pedro was not popular among the Castillian nobility, and he had some troublesome half-brothers - his dad Alfonso looked for fun outside the marriage bed as well. The most important of the lot was Enrique de Trastamara who led the rebellion, or became its figurehead - depending whether one sees it as a rebellion of the nobles against a king, or the result of Enrique's ambitions. In the following period of turmoil, Pedro may have been imprisoned for a time, but I could not find proof for that. Following the not unusual politics that the best means against inside troubles is an outside war, Pedro attacked the kingdom of Aragon, but without success.

What followed was the the Castillian Civil War (1366-69). Enrique had the support of France, the Pope, and Aragon (Pedro had a talent collecting enemies) and could use French mercenaries led by Bertrand du Guesclin, and I bet French money as well. Pedro got kicked off the throne and was obliged to flee to Gascony, then held by the English. He implored Edward Prince of Wales, the Black Prince, oldest son of Edward III, for aid in exchange of some land in Castille and other compensations.

The Black Prince managed to send Enrique packing after the battle of Navarette (Najéra, 1367). But Pedro didn't keep his promises to Edward who soon got sick both in real and of Pedro and left Castille.

Enrique meanwhile signed a treaty with Charles of France (who now was promised the bits of Castille Pedro failed to give Edward of Wales) and when he saw that Black fellow had left, went back to Castille. Pedro lost the Battle of Montiel, and Enrique killed - or had him killed - his half-brother in the tent of du Guesclin to make sure Pedro would not cause any more trouble. But what was Pedro doing in the tent of the leader of the French mercenaries in the first place?

If anyone can sort out the confusions and add more interesting tidbits, feel free to comment.

Picture: Pedro's beheading, from a 14th century manuscript. Public license.
(Strange how they were all running around with their crowns on all day long)
 
Comments:
Constance, Pedro's daughter, is one of those people I'd really love to know more about. I believe that there's a biography of her own daughter by John of Gaunt, but I think it's in Spanish.
 
Hmm.
She figures in my family tree somewhere - but such claims are so notoriously unreliable I never pursued her history.
 
Susan,
there seem to be a lot of interesting people that never made it to the historical spotlight. The 'Edwardian' blogs on my blogroll have introduces me to several of them.

Lol Bernita,
I'm of old Abodrite nobility, it seems :)
 
Very interesting post! I'd also love to know more about Constance, and her sister Isabella - who was meant to have had an affair with Richard II's half-brother John Holland, though that may be vicious gossip. Apparently her tomb was opened in the 19th century, and she was only 4 feet 8 inches tall (according to Alison Weir).
 
Lol, I'm always more interested in the men. But that's an interesting tidbit about Isabella's size - or lack thereof. ;)
 
Wasn't Isabella the one with forked teeth too?
 
Edmund of Langley was 5 feet 11, so there was a pretty big difference in height.

Susan - yes, Weir claims that Isabella had 'strange, forked teeth', but I've also read that she hopelessly misinterpreted the evidence.
 
I'm with you, Gabriele.
John of Gaunt, now, was far more interesting to my taste.
 
Bernita,
maybe someone of the 'Edwardians' on my blogroll will write a post about John and Edmund and their Spanish wives. :)
 
You always have the most awesome pictures on your site!
 
Yeesh, you need a flow chart to follow the intrique. I think the most important question comes at the end - "What was Pedro doing in the tent of the leader of the French mercenaries?" That's what I'd like to know. What scheme was he up to? Just stopped by for lunch seems a bit implausible, given his history. :)
 
Thank you, Megumi.
That one I found on Wikimedia, though, it's not one of my own.

Constance,
I hope David aka Excalibor, who is Spanish, will chime in with more info. Though he loves the old guys like Alexander and some pharoahs better than the muddled Middle Ages. :)
 
Interesting post :) The Dutch Wikipedia has some more detail about Pedro's death: He tried to escape from the siege of Montiel by offering du Guesclin a lot of gold. However, once he'd gotten hold of Pedro, du Guesclin made him a prisoner and surrendered him to Enrique. Pedro was not amused and tried to stab Enrique, but some random knight noticed and tripped him. Then Enrique grabbed his dagger and stabbed Pedro.

Thea Beckman has a rather good trilogy about the Hundred Year's War; the third book is about du Guesclin's trip to Spain. Here it's the MC (a ten-year-old with a talent for throwing knives) who kills Pedro. I really need to reread those books.
 
So it was self-defense, not an execution. Interesting story, thanks for posting that, Celede.

I should try to find those books albeit it may prove difficult here.
 
Well, better late than later (heh :-)

According to my reading of the Wikipedia (spanish edition), Pedro married Blanca de Borbón (Blanche) and three days later he leaves her due to a supposed infidelity, and returns to María de Padilla, his lover, who had already given him a child, Beatriz. Apparently the marriage between Pedro and Blanche was highly desired by D. Juan Alfonso de Albuquerque (king's favourite) and the treason of his new wife would had been with D. Fadrique de Trastamara on her way from France to Valladolid, the Trastamara being one of the most powerful families of the time.

Later on, he asked/forced for the nulity of his marriage with Blanche (who was imprisoned) so he could marry Juana de Castro, but he kept having children with María de Padilla.

WHen Pedro moved to Medina Sidonia, he ordered the assasination of Blanche so he could marry María, but she (María) died of some natural causes, de su dolencia (according to Ayala on his chronicle: of her dolence/illness; probably the Black Death?) in Astudillo. He managed to get all his marriages nullified so she could be her one, only and true love forever.

Later on, a Frenchman called Duguesclín accompanied Pedro to a tent where his brother Enrique was waiting for him: they run on each other and fell to the ground, Pedro on Enrique: a Duguesclín is said to say these famous words: "I don't quit nor put kings, but I'll help my lord", he moved Pedro and put him on the ground as well, then Enrique de Trastamara stabbed him repeatedly and then beheaded him: sounds like treason to me, anyway... :-P

And this is all modern history to me, open to interpretation: I'm still collecting the fragments of the Roman Empire, by love's sake! ;-)

Laters!
 
Thank you, David.

This is getting more convoluted. So Pedro was married to Blanche, divorced her (or annulled the marriage - but why then did he order her assassination), married Juana who is said to have refused a sexual relation without a marrige, but continued to sleep with Maria, got that marriage annulled, too, and married Maria when she was dying to legitimise the children she bore him?

And wasn't that Fadrique of Trastamara who is said to have had an affair with Blanche, a brother or half-brother of Enrique? And what side is Du Guesclin on before he decides to help Enrique?

A novel writer could have a field day with that. Just well I write about earlier periods; so no plotbunny there. ;)
 
Maria is rumored to have gone to great lengths to claim her 'rightful title'. Apparently during her life Portugal decided to deport Gypsies [Roma] people to Brazil. She apparently travelled with some of them, or to the colonies they were being deported to. In these new settlements she gained followers. They believed her the rightful Queen. Maria is rumored to have long reaching powers. Many people were convinced that she was a wicked witch. She may have had a hand in Blanche's assasination. Pedro constantly returned to Maria, but he constantly left her. He had a harem of mistresses. He wanted to be with her but she was not a favorite amongst his people. Blanche was an acceptable wife.
The folklore of Maria goes: She had a brother and sister. Her brother raped her and her sister as children. At some point she came of age and was forced to find a husband. She decided on Pedro.
Maria was able to get close to Pedro. When it was realised that Pedroand Maria were growing close, they were distsnced. Pedro was being groomed. Maria was a fit Queen. Maria was forced out of the family home. She fled due to a forced marraige. She kept her heart on Pedro. She found a community of prostitutes. She took every opportunity to make money. Pedro was not aware of the prostitution. While a prostitute, her brother came to the area looking for a woman. He did not recognize Maria. She took her brother's money, but she stabbed him several times, even after he was dead. Maria was not always under Pedro's roof. Maria had time to conspire. With the type of people Maria is acquainted with it is possibe she used connections. Blanche may not have cheated. She may have been on an unescorted trip with a man. Maria die of natural causes. It is in the folklore that Maria was in her old neck of the woods. She was disturbed by what her brother had done to her , and that she had murdered him. She hallucinated, thought she saw her brother's ghost. She ran from the ghost but slipped smashed her head on a rock. This type of death would have been deemed natural. No one murdered her. It is also said it was a priest that found her body. [Wasn't it the pope who had a problem with her?] This is all the folklore I have gathered. I know she is mentioned in Prosper Merimees' 1845 novella, Carmen [source material for Bizet's opera], the gypsy Carmen sings magickal songs invoking Maria de Padilla, who is described as Bari Crallisa, "Queen of the Gypsies".
There are two different religions in which Maria is worshipped as a Queen and Goddess of love. It is very interesting. She is known as Maria de Padilla, Maria Padilha, and Pomba Gira Maria Padilla, Maria Mulambo, Maria Quiteria, Pomba Gira Seven Crossroads, Pomba Gira Queen of the Crossroads, Pomba Gira of the Souls, Pomba Gira Tsigana [Gypsy], Pomba Gira Queen of Calunga [Queen of the Sea], Pomba Gira Bonita, Sulamita.
 
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The Lost Fort is a travel and history blog based on my journeys in Germany, the UK, Scandinavia, and central / eastern Europe. It includes virtual town and castle tours with a focus on history, museum visits, hiking tours, and essays on Roman and Mediaeval history, illustrated with my own photos.


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I'm a blogger from Germany with a MA in Literature and History which doesn't pay my bills, so I use it to research blogposts instead. I'm interested in everything Roman and Mediaeval, avid reader and sometimes writer, opera enthusiast, traveller with a liking for foreign languages and odd rocks, photographer, and tea aficionado. And an old-fashioned blogger who still hasn't got an Instagram account.
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To come


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Along the Coast of Norway - North of the Polar Circle

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Wildlife
Bearded Seals
Dog Sledding With Huskies
Eagles and Gulls in the Trollfjord


The Baltic Sea

A Baltic Sea Cruise

The Curonian Spit in Lithuania
Beaches at the Curonian Spit
Geology of the Curonian Spit



Mediaeval History
- General Essays
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Roman History
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Other Times
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-
Miscellanea
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Mediaeval History

General Essays

Mediaeval Art and Craft

Mediaeval Art
The Choir Screen in the Cathedral of Mainz
The Gospels of Heinrich the Lion
Mediaeval Monster Carvings
The Upside-Down World
The Viking Treasure of Hiddensee

Medieaval Craftmanship
Goldsmithery
Medical Instruments

Mediaeval Warfare

Mediaeval Weapons
Swords
Trebuchets

Castles and Fortifications
Dungeons and Oubliettes


Specific Topics

Feudalism

The History of Feudalism
The Beginnings
Feudalism in the 10th Century

Privileges and Special Relationships
The Privilege of the deditio
A Note on handgenginn maðr

The Hanseatic League

The History of the Hanseatic League
Introduction and Beginnings

Hanseatic Architecture
Examples of Brick Architecture
Hall Houses (Dielenhäuser)

Goods and Trade
Stockfish Trade

Towns of the Hanseatic League
Riga
Stralsund
Tallinn / Reval

The Order of the Teutonic Knights

Wars and Battles
The Conquest of Danzig
The Siege of Vilnius 1390

The Vikings

Viking Ships
The Nydam Ship


Some historical events are linked under more than one country / subtitle due to the overarching nature of history.


History by Country

Germany

Geneaology

List of Mediaeval German Emperors

Geneaologies
Anglo-German Marriage Connections
Heinrich the Lion's Ancestors

Kings and Emperors

The Salian Dynasty
King Heinrich IV

House Welf and House Staufen
Emperor Otto IV, Introduction

Princes and Lords

Princes
Otto the Quarrelsome of Braunschweig-Göttingen
The Dukes of Braunschweig-Grubenhagen
Duke Otto of Northeim
The Ludowing Landgraves of Thuringia
Albrecht II and Friedrich I of Thuringia
Prince Wilhelm Malte of Putbus

Counts and Local Lords
The Marshals of Ebersburg
The Counts of Everstein
The Counts of Hohnstein
The Lords of Plesse
The Counts of Reichenbach
The Counts of Winzenburg

Feuds and Rebellions

Royal Troubles
Otto IV and Bishop Adalbert II of Magdeburg

Local Feuds
The Lüneburg Succession War
The Thuringian Succession War
The Star Wars


England

Kings of England

King Henry IV
King Henry's Lithuanian Crusade

Normans, Britons, Angevins

Great Noble Houses
The Dukes of Brittany
The Earls of Richmond

Contested Borders

Northumbria
King Stephen's Troubles with King David of Scots


Scotland

Kings of Scots

House Dunkeld
Malcolm III and Northumbria
Struggle for the Throne: Malcolm III to David I
King David and the Civil War, Part 1
King David and the Civil War, Part 2

Houses Bruce and Stewart
The Early Stewart Kings

Local Troubles

Clan Feuds
MacLeans and MacDonalds
A Scottish Wedding

Scotland and England

The Wars of Independence
Alexander of Argyll
The Fight for Stirling Castle


Wales

Welsh Princes

The Princes of Gwynedd
The Rise of House Aberffraw

Wales and England

A History of Rebellion
Llywellyn ap Gruffudd to Owain Glyn Dŵr


Denmark

Kings of Denmark

House of Knýtlinga
Harald Bluetooth's Flight to Pomerania

Danish Rule in the Baltic Sea

The Duchy of Estonia
Danish Kings and German Sword Brothers


Norway

Kings of Norway

Foreign Relations
King Eirik's Scottish Marriages
King Håkon V's Swedish Politics
Beginnings of the Kalmar Union

Feuds and Rebellions

Rebels
Alv Erlingsson of Tønsberg


Sweden

Troubles and Alliances

Scandinavian Unity
Beginnings of the Kalmar Union


Livonia
(Latvia and Estonia)

Livonian Towns

Riga
The History of Mediaeval Riga

Tallinn
The History of Mediaeval Tallinn


Lithuania

Lithuanian Princes

The Geminid Dynasty
Troublesome Cousins - Jogaila and Vytautas

The Northern Crusades

The Wars in Lithuania
The Siege of Vilnius 1390


Poland

Royal Dynasties

The Jagiełłonian Kings
Władysław Jagiełło and the Polish-Lithuanian Union

The Northern Crusades

The Conquest of Pomerania / Prussia
The Conquest of Danzig


Bohemia

Royal Dynasties

The Bohemian Kings of House Luxembourg
King Sigismund and the Hussite Wars


Roman History

The Romans at War

Forts and Fortifications

The German Limes
The Cavalry Fort Aalen
Limes Fort Osterburken
Limes Fort Saalburg

The Hadrian's Wall
Introduction
The Fort at Segedunum / Wallsend

Border Life
Exercise Halls
Mile Castles and Watch Towers
Soldiers' Living Quarters
Cavalry Barracks

Campaigns and Battles

Maps
The Romans in Germania

The Pre-Varus Invasion in Germania
Roman Camp Hedemünden
New Finds in 2008

The Battle of the Teutoburg Forest
Museum Park at Kalkriese

The Battle at the Harzhorn
Introduction

The Batavian Rebellion
A Short Introduction

Miscellaneous Events

The Legend of Alaric's Burial

Roman Militaria

Armour
Early Imperial Helmets
Late Roman Helmets
The Negau B Helmet

Weapons
Weapon Finds at Hedemünden
The pilum
Daggers
Swords

Other Equipment
Roman Saddles


Roman Life and Religion

Religion and Public Life

Religion
Curse Tablets and Good Luck Charms
Isis Worship
Memorial Stones
The Mithras Cult

Public Life
Roman Transport: Barges
Roman Transport: Amphorae and Barrels
Roman Water Supply

Architecture
Roman Public Baths

Domestic Life

Roman villae
Villa Urbana Longuich
Villa Rustica Wachenheim

Everyday Life
Bathing Habits
Children's Toys
Face Pots


Other Times

Neolithicum to Iron Age

Germany

Development of Civilisation
European Bread Museum, Ebergötzen
The Hutewald Project in the Solling
Open Air Museum Oerlinghausen

Neolithic Remains
Stone Burials of the Funnelbeaker Culture
The Necropolis of Oldendorf

Bronze Age / Iron Age
The Nydam Ship

Scotland

Neolithic Orkney
The Neolithic Landscape of Orkney
Ring of Brodgar
Skara Brae
Life in Skara Brae

Bronze Age / Iron Age
Clava Cairns
The Brochs of Gurness and Midhowe - Their Function in Iron Age Society

Scandinavia

Bronze / Iron Age
The Ship Setting of Gnisvärd / Gotland


Post-Mediaeval History

Explorers and Discoveries

Explorers
Fram Expedition to the North Pole
Fram Expedition to the South Pole

Discoveries
Otto von Guericke and the Magdeburg Hemispheres
Raising a Wreck, Now and Then (Vasa Museum in Stockholm)


Miscellanea

History in Literature and Music

History and Literature

The Weimar Classicism
The Weimar Classicism - Introduction

Theodor Fontane
Short Biography of Theodor Fontane
Fontane Ballads, translated by me
Archibald Douglas
Gorm Grymme
Sir Walter Scott in Abbotsford
The Tragedy of Afghanistan

History in Opera

Belcanto and Historicism
Maria Padilla - Mistress Royal
The Siege of Calais in Donizetti's Opera

Not so Serious History

Romans
Building Hadrian's Wall
Playmobil Romans

Mediaeval Times
Kings Having a Bad Hair Day
The Case of the Vanished Wine Cask

Other
Rules for Writing Scottish Romances


Geology

Geological Landscapes

The Baltic Sea
Geology of the Curonian Spit
Chalk Cliffs on Rugia
Flint Fields on Rugia

The Harz
Bode Valley and Rosstrappe Cliff
The 'Hübichenstein' Rock
Karst Formations in the Southern Harz
The Lonau Falls
The Rhume Springs
Sandstone Formations: Daneil's Cave
Sandstone Formations: Devil's Wall
Sandstone Formations: The Klus Rock

Meissner / Kaufunger Wald
Blue Dome near Eschwege
Diabase and Basalt Formations
Karst Formations
Salt Springs at the Werra

Solling-Vogler
Raised Bog Mecklenbruch
Hannover Cliffs

The Shores of Scotland
Staffa

Fossils and Other Odd Rocks

Fossilized Ammonites
The Loket Meteorite


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