Constance of Portugal

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For the Portuguese infanta daughter of Sancho I, see: Infanta Constança of Portugal
Constance of Portugal, in António de Hollanda's Genealogy of the Royal Houses of Spain and Portugal (1534).
Queen consort of Castile and León
Tenure 23 January 1302 – 7 September 1312
Born 3 January 1290
Kingdom of Portugal
Died Script error: The function "death_date_and_age" does not exist.
Sahagún, Crown of Castile
Burial Valladolid, Spain
Spouse Ferdinand IV
Issue Eleanor, Queen of Aragon
Infanta Constance
Alfonso XI
House House of Burgundy
Father Denis of Portugal
Mother Elizabeth of Aragon
Religion Roman Catholicism

Infanta Constance of Portugal (pt: Constança; 3 January 1290 – Sahagún, 18 November 1313; Portuguese pronunciation: [kõʃˈtɐ̃sɐ]; English: Constance), was a Portuguese infanta (princess) by birth and Queen consort of Castile by marriage.

She was the eldest child and only daughter of King Denis of Portugal and his wife Elizabeth of Aragon, later Saint.


Queen consort of Castile and Leon (1302-1312)

In the treaty signed between King Sancho IV of Castile and Denis of Portugal in September 1291, established the betrothal between the eldest son and heir of Sancho IV, Ferdinand (aged 5), with the daughter of the Portuguese King, Constance (aged 20 months).

Finished with the Valladolid Courts of 1295, María de Molina, Dowager Queen and Regent of the Kingdom of Castile, in the name of her son Ferdinand IV and Henry of Castile the Senator, co-regent of the Kingdom, had a meeting with King Denis of Portugal in Ciudad Rodrigo, where the Queen-Regent surrounded several strongholds in order to end the hostilities between both Kingdoms; in addition, the betrothal between Ferdinand IV and Constance was confirmed, and also the future marriage between Ferdinand IV's sister Beatrice with Constance's brother and heir of the Portuguese throne, Alfonso was arranged. Later, in the Treaty of Alcañices (1297), the betrothal between Constance and Ferdinand IV was again ratified.

Coat of arms of Constance as Queen consort of Castile and León.

On 23 January 1302 at Valladolid, Constance finally married King Ferdinand IV of Castile.[1] Four years later (1307), shortly after the birth of their first-born child, a daughter called Eleanor (future Queen consort of Aragon), the Castilian King, who was besieging the city of Tordehumos which housed the rebellious magnate Juan Núñez II de Lara, chief of the House of Lara, sent his wife and newborn daughter to solicited a loan from her father, King Denis.[2] During the Valladolid Courts of 1307, where Constance didn't participated, Ferdinand IV tried to end the abuses of the nobility, corrected the administration of justice and softened the tax pressure over the castilians. The next year (1308), the Queen gave birth a second daughter, named Constance after her, who died in 1310, aged 2 and was buried in the disappeared convent of Santo Domingo el Real.[3]

In April 1311, while in Palencia, Ferdinand IV became gravelly ill and was traslated to Valladolid, despite the protests of Constance, who wished his transport to Carrión de los Condes, with the purpose to controlled him with the help of her ally, Juan Núñez II de Lara. During the King's illness erupted disputes between Juan Núñez II de Lara, Ferdinand IV's brothers and Juan Manuel, Prince of Villena. While the King was in Toro, the Queen gave birth in Salamanca on 13 August 1311 a son, the future Alfonso XI of Castile. The newborn heir to the Castilian throne was baptized in the Old Cathedral of Salamanca, and, against the King's wishes (who wanted to trust his son to his mother María de Molina), the will of Constance prevailed, who (with the support of Juan Núñez II de Lara and Lope Díaz de Haro) wanted to give the custody of the prince to Peter, Lord of Cameros and brother of Ferdinand IV.

In the autumn of 1311 surged a conspiracy who wanted to deposed Ferdinand IV and place the Lord of Cameros in the throne. The conspiracy included John of Castile, Lord of Valencia de Campos, Juan Núñez II de Lara and Lope Díaz de Haro; however, the project failed because of the staunch negative of the Dowager Queen María de Molina.

In the Valladolid Courts of 1312, the lasts of the reign of Ferdinand IV, where reunited funds for the keeping of the army who would be fight in the next campaign against the Kingdom of Granada, was reorganized the administration of justice, the territorial and local administration, showing with this the King his wishes of a deep reform in all the ambits of administration, at the time that wanted to reinforce the Crown's authority in detriment of the nobility. The Courts approved the concesion of five services and one forera coin, destined to the payment of the King's vassals, with the exception of Juan Núñez II de Lara, who became in the vassal of King Denis of Portugal.

On 7 September 1312 at the city of Jaén, Ferdinand IV died aged 26. Because of the high temperature during the month of his death, Peter, Lord of Cameros and brother of the late King and the now Dowager-Queen Constance decided that his remains would be buried in the Mosque–Cathedral of Córdoba. The Crónica de Alfonso XI confirmed the high temperature as the cause who motivated the burial of Ferdinand IV in Córdoba.[4]

The funeral cortege who accompanied the remains of Ferdinand IV to the city of Córdoba was presided by Constance. The body of the King was deposited in the Major Chapel of the Cathedral by disposition of his wife, and was also decided that six chaplains could pray every night before the tombstone during the month of September in the anniversary of his death, in perpetuity.

Minority of King Alfonso XI of Castile (1312-1313)

When John of Castile, Lord of Valencia de Campos and Juan Núñez II de Lara had knowledge of the death of King Ferdinand IV, they asked Queen María de Molina (who was in Valladolid) to take the regency on behalf of her one-year-old grandson Alfonso XI, in order to avoid that Peter, Lord of Cameros take it. However, the Queen refused to take the regency and she asked both that talk of if with her son Peter.

Juan Núñez II de Lara then tried to kidnap the infant King, who was in the city of Ávila. However, the local authorities stopped him, prevented by María de Molina. Shortly after arrived to Ávila Peter, Lord of Cameros and they refused his entrance to the city. In the meanwhile, John, Lord of Valencia de Campos and Juan Núñez II de Lara, who are in Burgos, called the ricoshombres and others main authorities of the kingdom to be reunited in Sahagún, at the time that Peter, Lord of Cameros obtained the consent of María de Molina to be the guardian of his nephew Alfonso XI during his minority. When John, Lord of Valencia de Campos (who was at Sahagún with the authorities of the kingdom) knew about the closeness of Peter, Lord of Cameros, he ofended him in front of various witnesses, causing that the Lord of Cameros marched against them. The Lord of Valencia de Campos and his collaborators send them to Philip of Castile, Lord of Cabrera and Ribera, brother of Peter, to talk to him; however, the Lord of Cameros reprimanded his brother to be at the side of the Lord of Valencia de Campos. The Lord of Cabrera and Ribera presented to his mother María de Molina the propositions of the Lord of Valencia de Campos, who consisted in a Triumvirate between María de Molina and the Lords of Cameros and Valencia de Campos. The Queen agreed with this idea.

The Palencia Courts of 1313

Pedro, Lord of Cameros went to the Cortes of Palencia of 1313 accompanied by an army of 12,000 men, after having recruited in Asturias and Cantabria, and had gone to the Cortes without desire for a fight, but ready to do it if the other side wished. On the side of the Lord of Cameros militated his uncle Alfonso Téllez de Molina (brother of María de Molina), his son Tello Alfonso de Meneses, Rodrigo Álvarez de Asturias and Fernán Ruiz de Saldaña, among others ricoshombres. The main supporters of the Lord of Valencia de Campos was Philip, Lord of Cabrera and Ribera, Fernando de la Cerda and Juan Núñez II de Lara.

Once assembled the attendees in the city of Palencia, it was agreed that each of the two sides kept only 1,300 men in the vicinity of the city, although the agreement was broken by the Lord of Valencia de Campos, who kept next to him 4,000 men, who caused that the Lord of Cameros kept 5,000 of his men at his side. During the Cortes, the Dowager Queen Constance stopped to give her support to the Lord of Cameros and began to support the Lord of Valencia de Campos, proceeding Juan Manuel, Prince of Villena (grandson of Ferdinand III of Castile) in the same way. Fearing that disputes arise, at the initiative of Queen María de Molina, the Lords of Cameros and Valencia de Campos and his companions left the city and stayed in the villages, Peter staying in Amusco, John in Becerril de Campos, Queen Constance in Grijota, and María de Molina in Monzón de Campos. At the same time, the prelates and procurators supporters of the Lord of Cameros and María de Molina agreed to meet in the church of San Francisco at Palencia, of the Order of the Franciscans, while the supporters of the Lord of Valencia de Campos reunited in the convent of San Pablo of Palencia, of the Order of the Dominicans, linked to the House of Lara. Despite the wishes of Peter and his mother, the supporters of the Lord of Valencia de Campos didn't agree to any compromise and appointed him guardian of the King, while the other side appointed guardians the Lord of Cameros and Queen María de Molina.

Death and Burial

Constance of Portugal died November 18, 1313 in Sahagún.


Family of Constance of Portugal
16. Sancho I of Portugal
8. Afonso II of Portugal
17. Dulce of Aragon
4. Afonso III of Portugal
18. Alfonso VIII of Castile
9. Urraca of León and Castile
19. Leonora of England
2. Denis of Portugal
20. Ferdinand III of Castile
10. Alfonso X of Castile
21. Elisabeth of Hohenstaufen
5. Beatrice of Castile
22. Guillén Pérez de Guzmán
11. Mayor Guillén de Guzmán
23. María González Girón
1. Constance of Portugal
24. Peter II of Aragon
12. James I of Aragon
25. Marie of Montpellier
6. Peter III of Aragon
26. Andrew II of Hungary
13. Violant of Hungary
27. Yolanda de Courtenay
3. Elizabeth of Aragon
28. Frederick II, Holy Roman Emperor
14. Manfred of Sicily
29. Bianca Lancia
7. Constance of Sicily
30. Amadeus IV, Count of Savoy
15. Beatrice of Savoy
31. Anne of Burgundy


  1. CASTILE in: Foundation for Medieval Genealogy by Charles Crowley [retrieved 10 June 2015].
  2. Antonio Benavides: Memorias de Don Fernando IV de Castilla, p. 193. 2 volumes (1st edition). Madrid, 1860: Imprent by Don José Rodríguez.
  3. In 1869 her remains where translated to the crypt of the Church of San Antonio de los Alemanes, where still remained. María Rosa Fernández Peña: La Santa, Pontificia y Real Hermandad del Refugio y Piedad de Madrid en la iglesia de San Antonio de los Alemanes: una institución de caridad dentro de un recinto de arte (in Spanish), p. 894: La Iglesia española y las instituciones de caridad (1st edition). Madrid, 2006: Ediciones escurialenses.
  4. Ricardo del Arco y Garay: Sepulcros de la Casa Real de Castilla, p. 279. Madrid, 1954: Instituto Jerónimo Zurita. Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas.
Royal titles
Title last held by
Maria of Molina
Queen consort of Castile
Title next held by
Constance of Peñafiel
Queen consort of León
Queen consort of Galicia
Queen consort of Toledo