Juana la Loca

Twenty-seven years old; beautiful; pregnant with her sixth child; Queen of Castile, Aragon, Sicily, and Naples. Daughter of the most powerful monarchs in the history of Spain, it would have seemed that Juana had it all.

But things aren’t always as they seem.

What Juana didn’t have any more was her handsome husband, Phillip. Without him, she was lost, oblivious to the famine and revolts that were quickly spreading across the faltering country.

Technically though, Juana still did have her husband. He was in the black box at the monastery in Burgos. It was October 30th, 1506, and she had just had him disinterred after five weeks underground.

Juana hoped and prayed for those five long weeks that God would repeal the death sentence placed upon him. That somehow, Phillip might again rejoin her, freed miraculously from all of the horrible effects of Typhus. That he would come back to her, contrite, with the love for her that she knew he was capable of but never showed.

As the lid was lifted from the coffin, Juana shook uncontrollably, expecting her lover to rise up full of life and sweep her up in his arms. The corpse, however, lay still.

When the cloths were removed from the body, Juana still hoped to see the face of her refreshed King break into a smile that would repair her broken heart and wipe away her veil of tears. The ashen complexion though, only spoke to death.

It took several men to tear Juana from her dead husband when she began kissing his rotting feet. After this, it seemed there would be no cure for her madness.

Eventually, her first-born son, Charles V, would implement his own cure for her, locking her in a windowless cell for the remaining thirty-five years of her life.


Sierra said...

this is really a helpful site. i am doing a project on her, and this site (using only 300 words!) helped me figure out her history. Thanks! :D

cyurkanin said...

My pleasure Sierra, thanks and good luck with your project!

cyurkanin said...

Comments from Greg in an email:

"Enjoyed your blog, "Three Hundred Words" on Juana of Castile. Have you noticed that there are no biographies exploring Isabel's remarkable daughters: Isabel, Juana, Maria, and Catherine, collectively? What does appear in print are a couple efforts that study a particular daughter out of context. In the following generation(s) during the reigns of both Charles and Philip, the heirs of both Juana and Maria are influential players on the stage of European political affairs. In short, Isabel's daughters received impressive educations, given their time in history, and each daughter left a valuable legacy. More study should be done on them. It's tragic that Juana is remembered unjustly, a victim of her father, husband, son, and an anxious Spanish Cortes...

You are right that the madness issue often leads one to her life and times. Concerning madness, as you probably know that the Trastamara/Habsburg families had a knack for locking up those in the family who were in fact (or supposed) mad. Witness Isabel's mother, Isabel of Portugal; Isabel's rival, Juana la Beltraneja; Isabel's daughter, Juana, of course; and Philip's son, Don Carlos. I have not studied Isabel of Portugal, Juana la Beltraneja, or Don Carlos in any detail so cannot speak to their afflictions. However, there is some belief that Juana was a politcal prisoner, as much as an unstable monarch. Queen Isabel's will and subsequent codicil are intriguing documents. Anyway, I always appreciate anyone's interest in Juana and her family.