Blanche of Bourbon bigraphy, stories - Monarchs

Blanche of Bourbon : biography

1339 - 1361

Blanche of Bourbon (1339–1361) was a queen consort of Castile. She was one of the daughters of Peter I, Duke of Bourbon and Isabella of Valois.

On 3 June 1353, aged 14, she married in person at Valladolid, Spain, King Peter I of Castile. Previously, she had been married by proxy at Abbaye de Preuilly on 9 July 1352. They married because Peter wanted an alliance with France.

Marriage

It is believed that King Peter had married his lover, the Castilian noble Maria de Padilla before his marriage to Blanche, though he did deny this. There were many difficulties in getting the money promised as a dowry for Blanche.

Three days after their marriage, Peter abandoned Blanche for Maria de Padilla, with whom he later had four children, including Isabella of Castile, Duchess of York, and Constance of Castile.

Eventually Blanche was imprisoned in the castle of Arevalo. Blanche's cousin, John II of France, appealed to Pope Innocent VI to have Peter excommunicated for keeping Blanche imprisoned, but the Pope overruled this. Blanche and Peter had no children.

Death

In 1361, Blanche was transferred to the town of Medina Sidonia, where she was kept distant from possible rescue by the forces from Aragon and France battling King Peter. The pope advocated for her release.

In 1361, after Pedro had made peace with the King of Aragón, he returned to Seville and hoped to eliminate the last bastions of resistance to his rule. According to Pero López de Ayala, he then instructed Iñigo Ortiz de Estuñiga, who was charged with keeping his wife imprisoned in Medina Sidonia, to kill her. Ayala, who had later joined with winning faction led by Henry II, states that to the Peter's anger, Estuñiga declined because the act was treasonous and likely to cause further disorder in the country. The King demanded that she be handed over to Juan Pérez de Rebolledo of Jeréz, a crossbowman of the king, who carried out the execution. * However, like much of our history of Pedro, partisans over the years were to write divergent stories about these events, depending on whether you looked upon him as "the cruel" (el Cruel) or "the purveyor of justice" (el Justiciero). *A review of prior histiorography is found in this monograph: During the 19th century, while Spain was ruled by the Bourbon monarchy, her tomb was provided with the following inscription in Latin:

CHRISTO OPTIMO MAXIMO SACRUM. DIVA BLANCA HISPANIARUM REGINA, PATRE BORBONEO , EX INCLITA FRANCORUM REGUM PROSAPIA, MORIBUS ET CORPORE VENUSTISSIMA FUIT; SED PRAEVALENTE PELLICE OCCUBVIT IUSSU PETRI MARITI CRUDELIS ANNO SALUTIS MCCCLXI. AETATIS VERO SUAE XXV
Christ most supreme and Holy. Blessed Blanche, Queen of Spain, of Bourbon Father, and from renowned royal French lineage, died with a graceful body; Common knowledge judges her fallen by her husband Peter the Cruel. 1561 at the age of 25.

However, whether Peter did have her assassinated is a controversial claim. Zuñiga who amended Ayala's chronicles notes that partisans of the king called it a natural death. Others question such events, since she did not die in Jeréz, but in Medina Sidonia as per contemporary accounts. Also different versions of Ayala's chronicles make a different statement that she was poisoned by herbs (le fuero dadas yerbas) This latter statement also repeated by Juan de Mariana in his history Quoted in

It is not surprising that the history of Pedro was rewritten in later years. Male descendants of King Henry I, the bastard half-brother of king Peter, and his slayer, would end up marrying female descendants of Peter. Henry III, who was grandson of Henry II, would marry Catherine of Lancaster, the daughter of John of Gaunt, the Duke of Lancaster, and Constance of Castile, daughter of Peter. Thus subsequent descendents of the joined lines would try to ameliorate the iniquity of Pedro chronicled by the faction of Henry I. Bourbon rulers had a stake in sanctifying the image of Blanche, a distant member of their ancestral lineage. Ultimately, like many events in the Dark Ages of medieval Europe, certainty regarding facts will likely forever remain elusive.

Ancestry

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Living octopus

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