Juana (la Loca) of Castille Content from the guide to life, the universe and everything

Juana (la Loca) of Castille

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Empress Matilda | Eleanor of Aquitaine | Marie de Guise | Marie de Medici | Margaret of York | Elizabeth of York | Queen Anne | Victoria's Children and their Marriages | Mary of Teck | Joanna the Maid of Castille

Juana (la Loca) or Joanna (the Mad) was the fourth daughter and fifth child of Ferdinand and Isabella, the Catholic monarchs of Aragon and Castille. In 1496, Joanna was married to the archduke Philip the Handsome, son of the German King Maximilian I1. Her brother Juan was married to her husband's sister Margaret, but he died within six months of this marriage. Her younger sister Catherine was the first wife of Henry VIII.

Juana loved her husband with a passion and bore him two sons, Charles and Ferdinand, and four daughters Eleanor, Isabella, Catherine and Mary. Her mother Isabella of Castille made Juana her heir in her will, but stipulated that it was only if she were willing and able2, otherwise her husband Ferdinand should act as Regent until Charles would come of age. When Isabella died on 26 November 1504, Juana and Philip came from the Netherlands to take the throne, where they were met by Ferdinand. Together, father and son-in-law settled out the agreement that Ferdinand would return to Aragon, while Philip would reign as consort with Juana.

However, Ferdinand had barely returned to Barcelona, when, on 25 September 1506, Philip passed away at the tender age of 28. His widow was distraught and broke down. Juana refused to bury his body and moved it with her as she went from castle to castle. She opened the coffin daily in the vain hope to look for signs of renewed life. Cardinal Cisneros was most concerned and, taking on the role of Regent, he pleaded with Ferdinand to return and take on the role stipulated in his late wife's will. In 1509 Ferdinand returned and finally persuaded his daughter to bury the coffin of her late husband. He then confined her to the castle of Tordesillas. She was provided with a small court and her daughter Catherine for company.

In 1516, Ferdinand died and Charles was proclaimed co-ruler with his mother. As he was in being raised by his aunt Margaret of Austria in the Netherlands, he set sail the following year for Spain where he was invested with his Royal seals. He continued to sign official documents with both their names until her death in 1555. Three years later, the death of his Grandfather Maximilian I lead to his being elevated to Holy Roman Emperor and thus Charles began his years as a largely absentee King of Spain.

1Daughter of Charles the Bold of Burgundy and step daughter of Margaret of York.2Maybe her parents had seen a sign of her later mental instability.

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