Princess Joanna of Portugal 1452-1490

This week Princess Joanna of Portugal features as the royal for Monarch Monday.

1) Joan was born to King Afonso V of Portugal and Queen Isabella of Coimbra on February 6 1452. When her older brother died she was made the Heir Presumptive instead of Infanta (princess), however, when her younger brother, John II, was born the right to the throne passed from Joanna to John.

2) In 1485 King Richard III Plantagenet of England proposed marriage to Joanna in order to form an alliance between the two countires. Richard died in the battle of Bosworth before the alliance and marriage could be finalised and Joanna retained her unmarried status.

3) Joan was named Regent of the Portugese Kingdom when her father was away on a military expedition to Tangier. She held that title until her father returned from the campaign to resume his stately duties.

4) John II was very jealous of his sister and continuously tried to cement alliances by arranging marriages for her, which she always successfully avoided having to go through with. He also ripped the veil from her head when she was a nun but he wasn’t the only person to harass her. Various relatives made it difficult for Joanna to take her holy vows and a group of bishops even made her sign a document that in effect banned her from ever becoming a nun, not that that stopped her.

5) Princess Joanna finally joined the Dominican Convent of Jesus in Aveiro in 1475. She had wanted to be a nun from a very early age but was forbidden to do so while she was the Heir Apparent and before her brother had heirs. Several times she had to leave the Convent to go back to court, not something she desired to do.

6) Joanna died months after she was poisoned by a women whom she had once rebuked for leading a sinful life. It was a long draw out death which she is said to have born with grace and dignity.

7) The princess was beatified in 1693 but was never canonised making her the Blessed Joan of Portugal. Even though she is not officially a saint, she is known as Princess Saint Joan/Joanna in portugal.





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