By Adriana Almeida
Paper given at the 30th Conference of the Portuguese Association of Economic and Social History (2010)
Introduction: This presentation is part of an ongoing research addressing the image of the medieval queen, and taking as a case-study Leonor of Portugal, queen of Aragon. Born in 1328, Leonor was the last child of Alphonse IV of Portugal (King 1325-1357) and his Queen, Beatrice of Castile. Little is known about her until around her nineteenth birthday when her hand was asked for by Peter IV, the Ceremonious of Aragon (King 1336-1387). In April 1347 this king had lost his wife giving birth to a boy that died shortly after, and was in desperate need of a male heir because he had only girls, and the crown of Aragon could not rest upon the head of a woman. He therefore decided to marry a young and hopefully fertile princess of a friendly kingdom. His proposal was pushed forward at the Prince of Portugal, her father Juan Manuel, and Maria Ximenes Coronel, an Portuguese court in May, by his cousin Constanza Manuel, wife of the Crown Aragonese lady married to the count of Barcelos. When Peter’s ambassadors arrived at the beginning of June, the matter had already been extensively discussed and the matrimonial contact was signed within a week.