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Murdered royals: Queen Blanche of Navarre


By José Moreno Carbonero - [2], Public Domain, Wikimedia Commons

Queen Blanche II was born on 9 June 1424 as the daughter of John II of Aragon, King of Navarre, and his wife, Queen Blanche I of Navarre. Blanche grew up in the Palace of the Kings of Navarre of Olite with her family.

Blanche was a member of the House of Trastámara which was a dynasty of kings in Spain that first governed in Castile beginning in 1369 before expanding its rule into Aragon, Navarre and Naples. They were an illegitimate cadet line of the House of Ivrea, and the House of Trastámara came to an end in 1555.

Palace of the Kings of Navarre of Olite. Photo: By Jorab – Own work, CC BY 3.0, Wikimedia Commons

In 1427, Blanche, her brother Charles, and her sister Eleanor were proclaimed the rightful heirs of the Kingdom of Navarre. Blanche was promised to the heir of Castile in the peace treaty between Navarre and Castile in 1436. She married Henry IV of Castile in 1440 and then became the Princess of Asturias by marriage.

After the death of her brother in 1461, the people of Navarre proclaimed Blanche as queen. She would have, thus, become Blanche II of Navarre, had her father not had her incarcerated and unable to act.

Her Majesty Queen Blanche II of Navarre, Princess of Asturias. Photo: By невідомий художник доби середньовіччя – http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-l4wdbc4GnoU/T6Pihe5jz1I/AAAAAAAAFSk/a8NFC6asjOI/s400/blanca+de+trast%C3%A1mara.jpg, Public Domain, Wikimedia Commons

Blanche’s father next tried to marry her to Charles, Duke of Berry, but the offer was refused. Bishop Nicolas de Etchabarri tried to help Blanche claim her title as Queen of Navarre, but he was murdered shortly after.

In 1464, Queen Blanche II was poisoned in the French city of Orthez and died shortly after. Both her father and her sister, Eleanor, have been accused of being responsible for her death. Upon her demise, her rights to Navarre were inherited by her sister, Eleanor of Aragon, Countess of Foix.

The Kingdom of Navarre, formerly the Kingdom of Pamplona, was a Basque kingdom that occupied lands on either side of the western Pyrenees in present-day Spain and France. The medieval state took its form around the city of Pamplona during the first centuries of the Iberian Reconquista. A series of partitions and dynastic changes led to a diminution of its territory and periods of rule by the kings of Aragon and France.



About author

Senior Europe Correspondent Oskar Aanmoen has a master in military and political history of the Nordic countries. He has written five books on historical subjects and more than 700 articles for Royal Central. He has also interview both Serbian and Norwegian royals. Aanmoen is based in Oslo, Norway.