Born this day, November 6th

Juana of Castile “Juana the Mad”, Queen of Spain

Born November 6th 1479 in Toledo, Spain, Juana was the third daughter of King Ferdinand II of Aragon and Queen Isabella I of Castile, she was never expected become heiress to either throne of Aragon or Castile, but upon the deaths of her parents, she inherited both. At the age of 16 in 1496, Juana was betrothed to Philip, Duke of Burgundy, son of Maximilian I, Holy Roman Emperor. Juana and Philip were formally married October 20th 1496 and their marriage was a fruitful one producing 6 children: 2 emperors and 4 queens. Their life together was an unhappy one, blamed mostly on his infidelity and her political insecurity. Philip constantly tried to usurp her birthright to the thrones of Aragon and Castile, which led to her mental instability and eventual insanity. Upon the death of her mother in 1504, Juana became Queen of Castile.  Juana died April 12th 1555 in Tordesillas, Spain at the age of 75.

For a great read on Juana, Queen of Castile, pick up C.W Gortner’s The Last Queen.

Born amid her parents' ruthless struggle to unify and strengthen their kingdom, Juana, at the age of sixteen, is sent to wed Philip, heir to the Habsburg Empire. Juana finds unexpected love and passion with her dashing young husband, and at first she is content with her children and her married life. But when tragedy strikes and she becomes heir to the Spanish throne, Juana finds herself plunged into a battle for power against her husband that grows to involve the major monarchs of Europe. Besieged by foes on all sides, Juana vows to secure her crown and save Spain from ruin, even if it costs her everything.

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