As the coronation procession wound its way through the streets, Isabella of Castile rode on horseback, with nobles on foot bearing the train of her gown. Ahead of her went a lone horseman holding a drawn sword pointing upwards; the traditional symbol of kingship. When he heard the news, in distant Zaragosa, even Isabella’s husband Ferdinand of Aragon was shocked that she had taken to herself the symbolic sword. His advisors had assured him he could tame his wife ‘by satisfying assiduously the demands of conjugal love’. But Ferdinand protested in horror that he had never heard of a queen who usurped this masculine attribute. After five years of marriage, Ferdinand should have known his Isabella better. She had, after all, broken with precedent in herself arranging her marriage to him. The heir to a neighbouring kingdom edging the Pyrenees, he was a useful ally in Isabella’s battle for her own disputed throne.
— Game of Queens: The Women Who Made Sixteenth Century Europe (Sarah Gristwood)