philip i of castile


Top 10 Cruel Monarchs (or with Black legend)


On October 27th 1502 as, breaking tradition, the Corts at Zaragoza accepted Juana, a woman, as “primogenita sucesora”, Fernando heard that Isabel was gravely ill. He was at her side in Madrid within three days. Philip, whom he had left to preside, followed on November 3, leaving the Corts to Juana, who stayed twenty days more then came as well. The courts would be concluded by king Fernando’s sister, Joanna, Queen Dowager of Naples. 


Peggy K. Liss; „Isabel the Queen”

Tarsicio de Azcona; “Isabel La Católica. Vida y reinado”


25 September 1506

The death of Philip the Handsome

In September 1506, Queen Juana and King Philip traveled to the city of Burgos, where, within days, Philip became violently ill, allegedly because he overindulged in various banquets and festivities. Inevitably, because everything happened so swiftly, rumors of poison surfaced. In fact, his high temperature and fever give little clue as to what was wrong with him; in the days before antibiotics, the slightest infection could become life-threatening in a matter of hours. And sickness was rampant in Castile that autumn.  

Showing no signs of instability and brushing aside concern for her own health— Juana was five months pregnant at the time — she nursed him selflessly, never leaving his side, doing all she possibly could to save him, and always believing that he would recover. It was to no avail. Six days later, on  September 25, Philip died. He was just twenty-eight years old. On the day before Philip’s death, Cardinal Cisneros set himself up as the leader of a Regency Council and requested King Fernando to return to Castile. Juana and her lands, he proclaimed, needed her father. 

King Philip’s corpse was embalmed and taken from the palace of the Constables of Castile, popularly known as Casa del Cordón (The house of the cord), to the Monastery of Cartuja of Miraflores in Burgos. The heart was sent for burial beside his mother’s remains in Bruges. In his will Philip had asked, should he die in Spain, to be buried beside Queen Isabel I of Castile in Granada. He requested sixty thousand high and low masses, with two masses daily at his place of interment - a requiem mass ‘for my soul’ and a low mass ‘for myself and my predecessors’. He ‘desired and ordened’ that Juana be given her dower, or what she was owed by the marriage settlement.

Juana seems to have followed the same six-week Franco-Burgundian mourning protocol as for her mother. With Philip a lifeless corpse, her father safely in Italy, her six-year-old son and heir, Charles, being raised in his aunt’s care in northern European Flanders, her chance to take charge as Castile’s “proprietary ruler” had arrived. The evidence proves that, despite apparent inactivity between September and December, Juana received in audience, argued, weighed options and formed the embryo not only of a royal household but a court in the traditional sense.

On December 18, Juana canceled all the grants and offices with which Philip had shamelessly rewarded his followers, all of which, she said, had been handed out without her permission and to the detriment of both herself and of the state. Now she was ready to sign whatever documents were necessary for the government of her realms. Next, she tried to gather men around her to re-form a council similar to that of her mother, a council that reported to her and acted only upon her authority. Following the death of Philip, Juana clung to two political ambitions: to avoid a second marriage and to secure the inheritance of her offspring, particularly that of her eldest son in Castile.

Then, just before Christmas and in the depths of a bitterly cold winter, Juana made what proved to be a fateful move, one that would fuel a myth that has lasted to the present day. She ordered that Philip’s coffin should be escorted in a slow and solemn procession from the Monastery of Miraflores to Granada so that he could rest close to Queen Isabel. Philip had wanted that, and Juana wanted it for him. Thus it was that, accompanied by the prayers of monks, Philip’s candlelit cortège left the confines of the monastery for its last journey. Juana, now eight months pregnant, was at her husband’s side, but she could not go far. Within three days, she had to stop or risk losing her baby. In January 1507, in the town of Torquemada, Juana went into labor. The birth was difficult, but the child lived. Juana named her Catalina, presumably after her own sister, whom Juana had so recently seen in England. Although debilitated and weak, Juana was then itching to resume her interrupted  journey.

The legend started, and the legend spread, that she was a woman driven mad by grief, so distraught that she could not bear to be parted from Philip even by death and therefore would not allow his body to be laid into the pitiless earth at all but wanted it with her forever. It was said that she opened the coffin, that she kissed Philip’s decaying feet, that she allowed no woman except herself anywhere near the corpse. 

Pedro Mártir, the chronicler who was with Juana on her gruesome journey with Philip’s remains and was not a known supporter of the queen, made no mention of the alleged coffin-opening at all. In the event that Juana had opened the coffin, a possible cause might have been to be certain that the corpse was indeed Philip’s. He had wanted his heart taken back to Burgundy. Knowing his followers as she did, Juana might have steeled herself to check that they had not taken the entire cadaver. As for the exclusion of women from the immediate vicinity of Philip’s casket, that was in accordance with the monks’ rules; the only women allowed on monastic premises were royal. 

King Fernando of Aragon had decided to return to Spain and take up the burden of ruling Castile. Writing to his daughter Catalina, he vowed:

I am determined, with the help of God, to go to Castile during this spring, because the Queen, my daughter and your sister, continually sends and begs me very pressingly to do so, and all write to me that, after God, there is no other means to preserve those kingdoms from ruin and destruction except my return to them.… As they beg me very earnestly to go, and as the happiness of the most serene Queen, my daughter and your sister, and of those kingdoms greatly depend upon it, I have decided to give up my own comfort and to undergo all the labour of assisting her and her  kingdoms.

According to some historians, Fernando lied. Despite repeated supplications, Juana never summoned her father to help her govern Castile. It said that Juana could not rule herself because she was too devastated by Philip’s demise to do anything. Fernando returned to Castile in July 1507. His arrival coincided with a remission of the plague and famine, a development which quieted the instability and left an impression that his return had restored the health of the kingdom. 

Fernando and Juana met at Hornillos on 30 July. They first meeting “had given them both equal pleasure,” he enthused. Fernando went on to say that, following a series of discussions, Juana had agreed that he should do whatever he thought  necessary “for the peace and security of the kingdom.” Order, stability, happiness, and trade would revive; he would look after everything. 

On 17 August Juana summoned three members of the royal council and ordered them to inform the grandees, in her name, of her father Fernando’s return to power: “That they should go to receive his highness and serve him as they would her person and more.” She refused to sign the instructions – a last gesture of defiance – and issued a statement that she did not, as queen regnant, endorse the surrender of her own royal power. Nonetheless, she was thereafter queen in name only and all documents, though issued in her name, were signed with Fernando’s signature, “I the King”. 

In February 1509 Juana was escorted, with Philip’s body and her toddler daughter, to Tordesillas, a small town on the Duero River, about fifteen miles from Valladolid. Together with her attendants and household officials, all carefully vetted by Fernando, Juana was lodged securely within the castle while Philip’s corpse was entrusted to the nuns at the convent of St. Clare, which nestled beside its walls. Years later, Philip the Handsome was entombed at the Royal Chapel of Granada, where he remains today alongside his wife and his parents-in-law.


Sister queens: the noble, tragic lives of 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.


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

Reina Juana I de Castilla, de Aragón, de Navarra, de Nápoles y de Sicilia
Regina Ioanna I Castellae, Aragoniae, Navarrae, Neapolis et Siciliae
Königin Johanna I. von Kastilien, von Aragón, von Navarra, von Neapel und von Sizilien
Queen Joanna I of Castile, of Aragon, of Navarre, of Naples and of Sicily
Reine Jeanne I de Castille, d'Aragon, de Navarre, de Naples et de Sicile

Rey Felipe I de Castilla y Duque de Borgoña
Rex Philippus I Castellae et Dux Burgundiae
König Philipp I. von Kastilien und Herzog von Burgund
King Philip I of Castile and Duke of Burgundy
Roi Philippe I de Castille et Duc de Bourgogne

Meester van Affligem


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)

♛ Poster of the film “La corona partida”  ♛

After the death of Isabel everyone wants to demonstrate that Juana, the rightful heiress, is crazy.


An Infanta of Castile and Archduchess of Austria, Catherine was the posthumous daughter of King Philip I by Queen Joanna of Castile, Catherine was born in Torquemada and named in honor of her maternal aunt, Catherine of Aragon. She remained with her mentally unstable mother until her eldest siblings, Eleanor and the future Emperor Charles V, arrived at Spain, coming from Flanders.


Period dramas + portraits 

1. Catherine Habsburg, Queen Consort of Poland and Great Duchess of Lithuania - Królowa Bona

2. Barbara Radziwiłłówna, Queen Consort of Poland and Great Duchess of Lithuania - Epitafium dla Barbary Radziwiłłówny

3. Philip The Handsone - Juana La Loca

4. Joanna I of Castile - Juana La Loca

5. Henry VIII of England - The Tudors

6. Magaret of Anjou - The White Queen 

7. Isabella I of Castile and Ferdinand II of Aragon’s daughters - The Borgias

8. Lucrezia Borgia - Borgia

9. Margaret of Austria - Isabel TVE 

10. Isabella of Portugal - Carlos Rey Emperador