A Strange But True Story of the Dead Queen

There are plenty of unusual and intriguing stories of all sorts of people in medieval times engaging in some of the most unusual behaviors recorded. However, there is one story that truly stands out in that it entails a series of people being forced to honor a queen. Even more interestingly, the queen in this case is already dead.

The story of Ines de Castro is unique in that it entails the strong love that Peter I, the king of Portugal, held for her. This desire for her managed to last well after her death.

The story begins in 1339 when Peter I, the prince of Portugal and heir to the throne held by King Afonso IV, married another woman. He married Constance de Penafiel but she was not enough for him.

Peter soon started to fall for Ines de Castro. Her stepmother was one of Alfonso’s daughters. However, much of her relationship with the Castilian royal family that ruled Portugal at the time was illegitimate.

Peter and Ines loved each other for years. Afonso was not very happy about this and tried to get Ines out of his life when he realized that the infatuation he had for her was not going to wear off anytime soon.

In 1355, Alfonso called for Ines to be killed. She was decapitated in front of her own infant child.

Peter eventually found two of those killers in 1361. This came after 1537 when he became the king of Portgual. One of the first orders Peter issued was to find the three killers. He ordered the two that were found to be executed by ripping out their hearts. This came as Peter felt that they had broken his heart when they killed Ines.

Even with this, there was much more to his love for Ines that went on well beyond the grave. After he became king, Peter ordered for Ines’ body to be removed from her burial site. He then ordered her dead corpse to be decorated with full royal attire and with all the necessary jewels that the queen is to wear.

Her dead body was propped up on the throne. Peter then forced the nobles to kiss the hems of her garments. This was to show their utmost respect for her. Peter especially did this with the belief that by giving Ines this experience, she would posthumously receive the respect that she was supposed to have gotten when she was alive.

The love of Peter and his dead queen Ines is certainly an amazing story of medieval times. In fact, their love continues to be seen in terms of how the two are buried. They are buried at the Monastery of Alcobaca. Their graves are placed opposite of one another. This is done with the belief that during the Last Judgment, the two will be able to look at each other in the face when they rise from their graves. The coffins also have a message from Peter saying that they will be together “ate ao fim do mundo” – until the world ends.


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