Eleanor of Castile (1498–1558)

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Eleanor of Austria on a portrait by Joos van Cleve around 1530
Grave of Eleanor of Austria

Eleanor of Castile (Spanish: Leonor de Austria ) (* 15. November 1498 in Leuven ; † 18th February 1558 in Talavera de la Reina , Castile ) was Archduchess of Austria and Infanta of Spain of the House of Habsburg , through marriage first of 7 Queen of Portugal from March 4, 1519 to December 13, 1521 , later Queen of France from July 4, 1530 to March 31, 1547 .

Descent and youth

Eleanor of Castile was the eldest daughter of Philip the Beautiful and Joan the Mad . When she was only one year old, Ghent was granted her residence. She spent her childhood and youth in Flanders . Her siblings were u. a. the future Emperor Charles V (born 1500), Ferdinand I (born 1503), Isabella (born in 1501, later wife of Christian II. of Denmark) and Maria (born in 1505, the later wife of King Ludwig II. of Hungary and Bohemia). In memory of her paternal great-grandmother, Eleonore Helena of Portugal , she was baptized with the name Eleonore. After the early death of Philip the Beautiful (1506), which is said to have triggered increasing states of madness in his wife, Eleanor and her mentioned siblings were lovingly raised by their aunt Margarethe of Austria in the palace in Mechelen . She acted as a true surrogate mother for the royal children and employed highly educated Dutch and Spanish teachers as their teachers. Two other siblings Eleonores grew up in Spain - Katharina , b. 1507, later wife of the Portuguese King John III. , and the later Roman-German Emperor Ferdinand I.

Early marriage plans

Very early on, Eleanor was the subject of purely political marriage projects. In 1510, Emperor Maximilian I wanted to marry his granddaughter Eleanor to the Duke of Lorraine , but the French King Louis XII. the related negotiations to failure. Also the offer made in 1514 by the Castilian King Ferdinand the Catholic , his granddaughter Eleonore Ludwig XII. even giving it to wife was refused.

Charles V often said that Eleanor was his favorite sister. Nevertheless, he did not allow her any liberties regarding their love affairs either. In 1517 she had to end her romantic affair with Count Palatine Friedrich II under pressure from her brother. He had surprised her reading a love letter that Friedrich had sent her. Karl was very angry about this. The couple had to swear in front of a notary that they had not secretly entered into a marriage. Friedrich was then forced to leave the Flemish court.

In the late summer of 1517 Eleanor accompanied her brother Karl when he went on a sea voyage to Spain with a large entourage. They sailed from Vlissingen on September 8, 1517 aboard a fleet of 40 ships , but ended up in stormy seas and were driven off to the inhospitable coast of Asturias . They landed at Villaviciosa at the end of September . Therefore, Karl and his companions were forced to march for weeks through mountainous areas to Valladolid . On November 4, 1517, Karl and Eleonore visited their almost unknown mother, Johanna , who had been interned in Tordesillas since the death of Philip the Fair .

Marriage to Emanuel I of Portugal

In order to deprive rebellious Castilian nobles of possible Portuguese help, Charles V made sure that the then 20-year-old Eleanor on March 7, 1519 in Lisbon brought the 30 years older, hunchbacked King Emanuel I (Manuel I) of Portugal into his third marriage married. He had already been married to two of her aunts. Eleonore bore her husband two children, Carlos (1520–1521) and Maria (1521–1577). With Emanuel's death († December 13, 1521) Eleanor was widowed for the first time at the age of only 23 and returned to the court of her brother Charles V, who had meanwhile been elevated to emperor.

Marriage negotiations with Francis I of France

Charles V refused re-advertising of the Count Palatine Friedrich to Eleonore and sat his sister instead as a political tool in the fight against the French king Francis I a. After Charles de Bourbon , Connétable of France quarreled with Francis I over the confiscation of the property of his late wife, he was ready to take the side of the emperor. For this change of alliance, Bourbon et al. a. received the hand of Eleanor, who was betrothed to him on July 18, 1523. However, the plot was discovered and Bourbon had to flee to Italy.

At the end of 1524, Francis I went to the Italian theater of war, but after his defeat in the Battle of Pavia (February 24, 1525), he was captured by imperial troops. He was brought to Spain and was in no way treated kindly there. Finally he consented to many of his opponent's demands and promised in the Peace of Madrid (January 14, 1526) a. a. to take Eleanor as his wife, whom he initially married by procurationem. The emperor had his sister announce that she did not want to marry Charles de Bourbon, who had been chosen to be her bridegroom in 1523, which meant that Charles V believed that he was released from his earlier promise of marriage.

On February 16, 1526, the Emperor and the French King rode from Madrid to Illescas , where Eleanor, who was praised by the Spaniards as a blonde beauty, met her future husband the next day. She bowed and gave him her hand, but Franz I kissed her gallantly and is said to have said that he owed her not a kiss on her hand, but on her mouth. Afterwards both, accompanied by the emperor and Germaine de Foix , widow of Ferdinand the Catholic, attended a dance event. The next day, Eleanor was again visited by Charles V and Francis I.

In March 1526 the French king was released as a hostage against the position of his two sons. Thereupon, however, he declared that he would not meet the demands dictated by the emperor, since he had been forced to sign the Madrid Treaty. This also meant that he did not marry Eleanor for the time being. Francis I allied himself with the Pope and Italian powers; and Henry VIII. of England sided with France party. There were new armed conflicts in Italy. After the French lost the Battle of Landriano (June 21, 1529), Margaret of Austria, Charles V's aunt, and Luise of Savoyen , Francis I's mother , traded the so-called Peace of Cambrai (August 5, 1529) ), which confirmed essential points of the Treaty of Madrid and u. a. again provided for a marriage between the French king and Eleanor.

Queen of France

It took a few more months before the French had collected the ransom of four tons of gold demanded for the two sons of Francis I who were staying in Spain. On July 1, 1530, the gold was exchanged on the border river Bidassoa for the French princes who had not seen their homeland for four years. Eleanor and her ladies-in-waiting also sailed with a flotilla across the border river to France. Eleanor and the princes then traveled to meet the French king, who in turn set off from Bordeaux to meet his future wife and children and met them near Mont-de-Marsan . Eleanor and Francis I were married at two o'clock on the night of July 4th, 1530 in Captieux Abbey . The ceremony was presided over by the Cardinal von Tournon. Then the royal couple and their entourage sailed to Bordeaux, where Eleanor made their ceremonial entry. On this occasion, the Chancellor Antoine Duprat and high ecclesiastical dignitaries welcomed the richly adorned new French Queen, wrapped in a purple velvet dress. This was crowned on May 3, 1531 in Saint-Denis and two days later moved into Paris .

Francis I treated his wife with respect, but did not spend much time with her and seldom performed his marital duties. He was strongly influenced by his mistress Anne de Pisseleu d'Heilly , whom he made Duchess of Étampes. On the day of Eleonore's entry into Paris, he went to his mistress's house and talked with her for two hours at the open window in front of the people, as an agent of Henry VIII of England reported. Eleonore remained politically insignificant, probably also because she did not bear any children to the king. Nevertheless, she fulfilled the role of a dignified queen and sometimes appeared with her husband at official events such as the 1533 made marriage of his son Henry (II.) With Catherine de Medici . She also devoted herself to pious and charitable works and was celebrated as "ornament of the festivals at court".

Eleanor did her best to mediate between her husband and her imperial brother. But the primary goal of their politically motivated marriage, to settle the enmity between the houses of Habsburg and Valois , was not achieved. Eleonore's plans to bring about a marriage of her stepchildren, who came from the first marriage of Franz I, with the Habsburgs, were also unsuccessful. The third war of Charles V against Francis I broke out in 1536. Finally, Pope Paul III mediated . in Nice in June 1538 personally signed a ten-year armistice between the emperor and the French king. The following July, the two monarchs met personally in Aigues-Mortes , where Eleanor embraced them in a courtly gesture of reconciliation as a greeting. Of course, there were no binding agreements at this meeting either. In his fourth war against Francis I, the emperor started a train to Paris in the summer of 1544, but negotiations soon ensued, in which Eleanor also intervened. She wrote to her imperial brother that she wanted a lasting peace. On September 18, 1544, the war ended with the Peace of Crépy . From October 22 to November 3, 1544 Eleanor stayed with the Duke of Orléans in Brussels to visit her brother Charles V and her sister Maria.

Widowhood and death

Francis I died on March 31, 1547. Soon afterwards his widow left France and lived in Brussels. In the great hall of the palace there, Charles V gave a farewell speech on October 25, 1555 in front of numerous high-ranking personalities, including Eleanor and her sister Maria, and handed over the government of the Netherlands to his son Philip II of Spain. On August 8, 1556, Charles V left Brussels with his sisters Eleonore and Maria to go to Spain. Philip escorted them to Ghent. On September 15, Eleonore and Maria went on board the flagship Le Faucon . The former emperor, on the other hand, was housed on another vessel. The 56-ship fleet sailed from Vlissingen and landed at Laredo, east of Santander , at the end of September after traveling through fairly calm seas . Initially little supported by the local Spanish nobles, Charles V, Eleonore and Maria traveled with a relatively small retinue via Burgos to Valladolid. In the royal palace there they were received by Karl's daughter Johanna , who acted as regent during Philip's absence.

Eleanor and Maria spent the winter of 1556/57 in Valladolid. From the end of summer 1557 they resided in the castle of the Count of Oropesa in Jarandilla ( Extremadura ) and visited from there several times Charles V, who had settled in a villa next to the Jerónimos Monastery of San Jerónimo de Yuste . For some time Eleanor had tried to see her only daughter Maria again, whom she had to leave behind in Portugal after the death of her first husband. But the relevant negotiations dragged on. Finally, a meeting was arranged in the border town of Badajoz , where Eleanor and her sister Maria, accompanied by only a few grandees, traveled in December 1557. After weeks of waiting, Eleonore's daughter finally appeared on January 27, 1558, but behaved rather haughty towards her mother, despite her expressions of love, and left her after two weeks.

After this disappointing encounter, Eleanor and her sister set out on a pilgrimage to Nuestra Señora de Guadelupe on February 10, 1558, but the former French queen suffered a faint attack on the first day of travel. She was taken to a nearby farmhouse in Talavera de la Reina, where she died eight days later. Her siblings Charles V and Maria mourned her very much and were to follow her into death that same year. Eleanor was buried in Chapel 9 of the Pantheon of the Infants in the Real Sitio de San Lorenzo de El Escorial .


Friedrich III. (HRR) (1415-1493)
Maximilian I (HRR) (1459-1519)
Eleonore Helena of Portugal (1436–1467)
Philip I (Castile) (1478–1506)
Charles the Bold (1433–1477)
Mary of Burgundy (1457–1482)
Isabelle de Bourbon (1437-1465)
Eleanor of Castile (1498–1558)
John II (Aragón) (1397–1479)
Ferdinand II (Aragón) (1452-1516)
Juana Enríquez (1425–1468)
Joan of Castile (1479–1555)
John II (Castile) (1405-1454)
Isabella I (Castile) (1451–1504)
Isabella of Portugal (1428–1496)


Web links

Commons : Eleanor of Castile (1498–1558)  - Collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Leuven as Eleonore's birthplace is z. B. given by Roman d'Amat (DBF, vol. 12, col. 1191); on the other hand, according to other sources, she was born in Brussels (e.g. according to the article Eleonore , in: Brigitte Hamann (Ed.): Die Habsburger , 1988, p. 76).
predecessor Office successor
Mary of Aragon Queen of Portugal
Catherine of Castile
Claude de France Queen of France
Catherine of Medici