carlos de austria

Emperador Carlos V del Sacro Imperio Romano Germánico y I Rey de España
Imperator Carolus V Sacri Imperii Romani et I Rex Hispaniae
Kaiser Karl V. des Heiligen Römischen Reiches und I. König von Spanien
Emperor Charles V of the Holy Roman Empire and I King of Spain
Empereur Charles V de le Saint Empire Romain Germanique et I Roi d'Espagne

Edmond de Busscher (1805-1882), 1858.


Joanna I of Castile, Philip the Handsome and their offspring:

  • Eleanor (1498-1558)
  • Charles (1500-1558)
  • Isabella (1501-1526)
  • Ferdinand (1503-1564)
  • Mary (1505-1558)
  • Catherine (1507-1578)

The descendants, and daughter-in-law, of Juana I of Castile as portrayed in ‘Carlos Rey Emperador’ with their actual signatures.

T->B: Joanna I of Castile, Emperor Charles V, Eleanor of Austria, Emperor Ferdinand I, Catherine of Austria, Mary of Austria, Philip II, Isabella of Portugal.

Royals from the English, French, and Spanish Courts


First meeting of Joanna of Castile and her older children in Tordesillas

Charles and Eleanor of Austria, ages seventeen and nineteen, arrived in Spain on 19 September 1517. The two siblings disembarked near Villaviciosa, in the coast of Asturias. Their first objective was to go to Tordesillas. There they faced the intense emotions of reuniting the family with their mother, to known to their 10 year old younger sister, Catherine, and to honor the memory of their father, whose coffin still remained unburied. 

The last time they saw their  mother was when Joanna and Philip had left the Netherlands to take up the throne of Castile upon Queen Isabella’s death. Then, Eleanor had been a little girl of almost eight, her brother two years younger. Now Charles was a king in his own right, and Eleanor about to become a queen. She was to replace Joanna’s sister, Maria, as queen of Portugal.

On a bitterly cold 4 November, a small retinue arrived at Tordesillas. Charles and Eleanor had been told that their mother was crazy, and they arrived to see her living in confinement. Martire reports that Joanna, delighted, wore clean clothes and gave them gifts. The first meeting was brief, formal, played out before many courtiers unknown to the Queen. Within these constraints, Joanna showed warmth, courtesy and dignity, refusing the ‘besamanos’, embracing her children, listening to their rehearsed  speeches, nodding, with her hands in theirs. 

Queen Joanna expressed the natural astonishment of a mother confronted with strangers who are yet her own children: “But… Are you my children? How much you have grown in such a short time!” Then added, “You must be very tired from the long journey, it is good to retire to rest.” Obediently, they did. The interview was over. The two siblings were reunited again with their mother a few other times during the week that they remained with her. Charles’ first meeting with his mother was based upon a lie, one in which he willingly connived, for he did not tell her that he was really there to claim her crowns for himself because her father, King Ferdinand, was dead. 

The abduction of Infanta Catherine


Sister Queens: Katherine of Aragon and Juana Queen of Castile by Julia Fox

Juana I and the struggle for power in an age of transition by Gillian B. Fleming.  The London School of Economics and Political Science. June 2011.

Juana “The Mad” Queen of a World Empire by Linda Andrean. Center for Austrian Studies. October, 2012  



The abduction of Infanta Catherine 

When Charles and Eleanor of Austria met their younger sister, Catherine, she dressed like a peasant and raised locked in a room to which only came through the room of her mother, no more entertainment, sometimes, that seeing how some village children are playing through the window of her room. For them to return, the little recluse threw them when she was, a few coins. 

Perhaps to give Catherine more experiences, and to prepare her for a royal marriage, Charles ordered that she should be removed from Tordesillas six months or so after he first saw her. Queen Joanna’s aposentador, Fromont, was ordered to cut a hole in the wall behind the tapestry in Catherine’s bedroom so that Joanna would not notice the abduction. 

On the night of 12-13 March 1518 Catherine was told she must either leave or ‘disobey the king’, she ‘began to cry because of her love for the queen’, but was eventually encouraged through the hole into the outer corridor. Catherine was carried on a litter to Valladolid to Charles’s court, her leather chamarée was cast aside for violet and gold satin. 

The next day, when Joanna learned of her daughter’s disappearance, the palace of Tordesillas rang with her “shrieking”. No one would tell her what had happened to Catherine. She refused to go to bed that night until her child was restored to her. Charles accesses to return his sister to Tordesillas after three days, in exchange for independent rooms for her and living conditions and education own of her rank. Charles replaced Duke of Estrada with Marquis of Denia, who became governor and administrator of both palace and town. As a consequence, Joanna’s everyday life was about to get worse, her restrictions tighter and isolation greater.

From the abduction of Infanta Catherine and her return to Tordesillas, Joanna tried not to let her daughter out of her sight, constantly calling for her if she disappeared even for a minute. She was afraid, she told Marquis of Denia, that “the King my lord will take her from me as he has taken the Infante [Prince Ferdinand].” Should that happen, she said, she would throw herself out the window or kill herself “with a knife.” The fact that it was her son, not her father, who had removed Catherine never occurred to her. 

Fortunately, Charles heeded her warnings and allowed his sister to stay with their mother for a while yet. Some years later, when Catherine did leave her in order to marry her Portuguese cousin John III and become a queen herself, Joanna would become almost broken by her grief at the girl’s loss. She stayed for twenty-four hours in the corridor from which she had had her last glimpse of her daughter before shutting herself away and taking to her bed for two days, prostrate with despair. 

First meeting of Joanna of Castile and her older children in Tordesillas


Sister Queens: Katherine of Aragon and Juana Queen of Castile by Julia Fox

Juana I and the struggle for power in an age of transition by Gillian B. Fleming.  The London School of Economics and Political Science. June 2011. 


Mary of Hungary, Catherine of Austria, Maximilian of Austria, Mary of Austria, Ferdinand of Austria and Philip II of Spain when they received the news of the death of Charles.