Constance of Castile, Duchess of Lancaster

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Constance of Castile
Duchess of Lancaster
Constança de Castela, Duquesa de Lencastre - The Portuguese Genealogy (Genealogia dos Reis de Portugal).png
Born 1354
Castrojeriz, Castile
Died 24 March 1394(1394-03-24)
Leicester Castle, Leicestershire
Burial Newark Abbey, Leicester
Spouse John of Gaunt, 1st Duke of Lancaster
Issue Catherine, Queen of Castile
House House of Ivrea Burgundy
Father Peter of Castile
Mother María de Padilla
Religion Roman Catholicism

Constance of Castile (1354 – 24 March 1394) was claimant of the Castilian throne after the death of her father Peter the Cruel, her mother being María de Padilla, whom Peter had secretly married but was then forced to repudiate, only to keep her as a mistress. She married, at Roquefort, near Bordeaux, Guienne, on 21 September 1371, John of Gaunt, 1st Duke of Lancaster, third son of Edward III of England and Philippa of Hainault, as his second wife. Her younger sister, Infanta Isabella, married Edmund of Langley, 1st Duke of York, the fourth son of King Edward III and Queen Philippa.

On 9 February 1372 Constance made a ceremonial entry into London as Queen of Castile, accompanied by Edward, the Black Prince, and an escort of English and Castilian retainers and London dignitaries. Crowds lined the streets to see her as she processed to the Savoy Palace in the Strand where she was ceremonially received by her husband, who had proclaimed himself King of Castile and León on 29 January.[1]

The surrender of Santiago de Compostela to John of Gaunt. Constance is the lady on horseback.

This was the way for Gaunt to obtain a kingdom of his own (he had also pursued Scotland), as his nephew Richard II and the descendants of his brother Lionel of Antwerp, 1st Duke of Clarence stood between him and the Crown of England. John of Gaunt claimed the title of King of Castile jure uxoris, and insisted that English nobles address him as "my lord of Spain", but was unsuccessful in his attempts to obtain the crown. Their daughter Catherine of Lancaster was married to the king of the Trastámara line, Henry III of Castile, thus uniting these two rival claims.

Constance died at Leicester Castle and was buried at the Church of the Annunciation, Newark, Leicester.[2]




  1. Jonathan Sumption, Divided Houses: The Hundred Years War III (Faber & Faber, 2009), p. 122.
  2. Leland's Itenerary Vol.1 Page 17 The Collegiate Church Newarke Constance daughter of Peter King of Castile, and wife of John of Gaunt, lieth before that High Alter in a tomb of marble with an image [Brass] (Like A Queen) on it
  3. Leese, Thelma Anna, Blood royal: issue of the kings and queens of medieval England, 1066-1399, (Heritage Books Inc., 1996), 222.
  4. G.E. Cokayne; with Vicary Gibbs, H.A. Doubleday, Geoffrey H. White, Duncan Warrand and Lord Howard de Walden, editors, The Complete Peerage of England, Scotland, Ireland, Great Britain and the United Kingdom, Extant, Extinct or Dormant, new ed, 13 volumes in 14 (1910-1959 reprint in 6 volumes, Gloucester, U.K. Alan Sutton Publishing, 2000), volume XII/2, page 908 Hereinafter cited as The Complete Peerage
Titles in pretence
Preceded by — TITULAR —
 Queen of Castile
with John, Duke of Lancaster
Reason for succession failure:
Seizure of the throne
by Henry II of Castile
Claim abandoned after
marriage of daughter
to Henry of Castile