Maria of Aragon married her sister’s widower

When Isabella of Aragon died Manuel I became a widower. This wasn’t such a big problem in the beginning because the Portuguese king was still tied to the Spanish court by his son Miguel de Paz, who was the heir presumptive to the Spanish throne, but it became an immediate problem when Miguel de Paz died as well in 1500.

The Spanish were worried that Manuel I would marry a foreigner, maybe even an enemy of the Spanish and then Spain would be surrounded by hostile forces. They decided therefor to present Manuel I with the option to marry another Spanish princess: Maria of Aragon Isabella’s younger sister, whom they earlier hoped to marry off to a Scottish prince. This would have fit particular well because Catherine of Aragon was married to Artur, prince of Wales.

But Manuel I accepted this offer and they got married on 30 October 1500. Considering that the king was 13 years older and her dead sister’s widower the marriage was surprisingly successful. Manuel I and Maria of Aragon got 10 children together.

Maria of Aragon 6

Wedding Manuel I of Maria of Aragon 1500.

Manuel I looked quite pleased with his bride.

Manuel I 4

detail wedding portrait Manuel I with Maria of Aragon.

Boa noite meus amigos, Hilde

5 thoughts on “Maria of Aragon married her sister’s widower

  1. Yes, the forgotten sister of Catherine of Aragon. Even the elder sister, Isabella of Aragon is not as forgotten as Maria of Aragon but at least she and Manuel the First of Portugal were happy which was rare back then in marriages. They did have ten children and they all survived but one, not like, Maria of Aragon niece, Catalina of Austria who wed with John The Third of Portugal who had nine children and only two lived long enough to wed and have children.


    • Yeah I was thinking of that how no one ever mentions her and there were far less paintings of her than of Catherine and Joanna. I think you’re right that they were happy together but i still think it’s kinda odd to marry your dead wife’s sister :). I guess it were very different times then.


  2. Pingback: Birth of Isabella of Portugal | hemmahoshilde (@Hilde's home)

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