The marriage policy of the Catholic Monarchs –

The Catholic Monarchs did not marry for love, but rather for political convenience at a time when they were not kings either, nor did they know if they could become one, although that did not prevent affection and rapport from developing between them almost from the beginning. This way of conceiving marriage, so of the time, would continue to be present when marrying their children, since each union had a political aspect in the background. We tell you what the marriage policy of the Catholic Monarchs and what were the unions made.

The children of the Catholic Monarchs

Let’s put ourselves in context. In 1469 the crowns of Castile and Aragon are united through the matrimonial union of what would become Queen Isabella I of Castile and King Ferdinand of Aragon.

It would not be until years later, in 1474, when Isabel would occupy the throne, despite the fact that not all her subjects recognized her, since they supported Juana la Beltraneja, daughter of Enrique VI -monarch of Castile- and who was married to Alfonso V, King of Portugal. This fact led to the War of succession (1475 – 1479), which also led to an international confrontation since Portugal went to war supported by France, who did not want the union of Castile and Aragon due to their power disputes for the dominance of Italy. It all ended with him Treaty of Alcaçovas which meant the recognition of Isabel and Fernando as kings of Castile, while Portugal’s hegemony in the Atlantic was recognized, except for the Canary Islands.

In the case of Fernando, he would not occupy the throne of Aragon until the year 1512. During that time, historical events of great relevance took place, such as the reconquest of Granada (ending in 1492) or the discovery of America, which led to the beginning of talk of the Spanish Empire.

If we do not take into account all this historical context, it is more difficult to understand how the Catholic Monarchs established through the marriage of their children a joint foreign policy to isolate France, considered the great enemy due to its power, so pacts were made with the rest of the European countries that had a shared interest: to weaken France. All this was based on the fact that if they established ties of kinship with the rest of the monarchies, it would translate into allies for their causes.

In this way, your children Isabel, Juan, Juana, María and Catalinabecame key pieces of the political strategies of the State.

The weddings of the children of the Catholic Monarchs

Next, we tell you in more detail who the children of the Catholic Monarchs were, who they married, if they had descendants and which of them came to occupy a throne.


The first daughter of the Catholic Monarchs was called Isabel. She married Alfonso, who was heir to the throne of Portugal in the year 1490, but the marriage did not last long, Alfonso did not take long to die. After this event she had to return to Castile, but also for a short time, since seven years later she married the King Manuel of Portugal, nicknamed the lucky one. He had in mind the idea of ​​reunifying the Iberian Peninsula under a single mandate, since Isabel was the first-born, he hoped that she would be the successor of the Catholic Monarchs.

From this marriage union was born Michael of Peaceonly son of both, since Isabel died giving birth and Miguel would die before he was two years old.


Juan was the second of the children of the Catholic Monarchs, Prince of Asturias and successor to the throne. In the year 1497 Juan de Aragón y Castilla and married Margaret of Austria but the marriage lasted very little. The prince had contracted smallpox and could not survive a fever. In six months, Margarita became a widow while pregnant and, it is said that the great sadness for the loss of her husband caused her to give birth early, but the girl could not survive either.

Although we cannot go into this much, Margaret of Austria played a very important role in history as a politician and sovereign. Among other things, she tutored the future Emperor Charles I and V of Germany, son of her brother Philip the Beautiful.


As a curiosity, not mentioned before, Juan and Juana got married at the same time with the brothers Felipe and Margarita, after a political agreement requested by Maximilian Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire.

The marriage meant Felipe, known as the beautiful, was made Duke of Burgundy, Luxembourg, Brabant, Gelderland and Limburg and Count of Tyrol, Artois and Flanders. Even so, his desire for power did not stop there. Isabel was appointed successor and owner of Castile after the death of her older brothers, unless she manifested some kind of mental imbalance, in which case, Fernando would be the one who would lead the kingdom. This fact led to a confrontation between Fernando and Felipe, who had greater support from the nobility and there was no way to reach an agreement with him, so he left Castilla.

Joan I of CastileShe was known as Juana la loca. There are many interesting books about this queen, where some say that she had some kind of imbalance and others that made her look crazy so that Philip could reign. From this union would be born a future king, Charles I and V of the Holy Roman Empire, also Eleanor and Elizabeth, Ferdinand I of Habsburg, Mary of Hungary, Catherine of Austria.


After Isabel’s death, her widower Manuel the lucky (Portugal) married María de Aragón -who was no longer successor to the throne of Castile and Aragón- and from this union 10 children were born, many of whom reached adulthood. Among them we must highlight John III the Pious, King of Portugal, and Isabella, who was the wife of Emperor Charles I of Spain and V of Germany.

Once María dies, Manuel remarries and this time he does it with his wife’s niece, with Leonor (daughter of Juana and Felipe).


The last daughter of the Catholic Monarchs was married for the first time to Prince Arthur, but died shortly after. She was betrothed to her brother-in-law, Henry VIII, and they had six children, but none were sons, so the king annulled their marriage and married his mistress, Anne Boleyn. The eldest daughter of María and Enrique was the heiress to the throne.

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