Royal People: Joanna of Castile, Mad or Maligned?

Just History Posts

At the time of Joanna of Castile’s death in 1555 she was 75 years old and had been Queen of Castile for over 50 years. However, for over 45 years she had been effectively imprisoned for her alleged insanity. So who was Joanna, and what led to her fate?

407px-Los_Reyes_Católicos_y_la_infanta_doña_JuanaJoanna with her parents, Isabella and Ferdinand, from “Rimado de la conquista de Granada” by Pedro Marcuello, c. 1482.

Joanna was born on 6th November 1479. Her parents were Isabella I of Castile and Ferdinand II of Aragon, who were co-monarchs of the two kingdoms. Whilst the pair were co-monarchs, if one died then the other lost the right to the throne in their partner’s territory. Joanna was never expected to inherit either of her parents’ kingdoms. She was their third child and second daughter, and both her elder siblings had children, so Joanna was far down the inheritance rung…

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