Inêz de Castro
Inêz de Castro, a Spanish noblewoman and a celebrated beauty, was a tragic figure in Portuguese history. She went to Portugal in 1340 as a lady in waiting to Constance of Castile, wife of the heir to the Portuguese throne, Dom Pedro (later crowned Peter I). He fell in love with Inés. Although his father, Alfonso IV, banished her from court, the prince continued to see her. After Constance died in 1345, Dom Pedro established a household with Inés at Coimbra, where she bore him four children. Tradition has that they spend a great deal of time together in a quinta or estate in Santa Clara across the river from Coimbra. A nice hotel is now located in this area of Santa Clara.
Her brothers gained political influence and aroused the opposition of Alfonso’s advisers. Three of those advisers persuaded the king that Inés must be removed to preserve the legitimate succession to the throne. A council was held in the castle at Montemor-O-Velho, located between Coimbra and Figueira do Foz.With the king’s permission, they murdered Inés. Dom Pedro, overcome with grief and anger, led a rebellion against his father; but peace was restored, and the prince promised to forgive the murderers.
When Dom Pedro became king in 1357, however, he extradited two of the advisers from Castile, in Spain, and executed them horribly; the third escaped. Peter announced that he had been secretly married to Inés. He had two tombs erected at Alcobaça, near Leiria, depicting the life story of Inés in marble. One of these beautiful tombs was for him and the other for her. The tombs face each other on opposite sides of the cathedra in Alcobaça so that they will rise to face each other in the resurrection.
It is not true that he had her disinterred and crowned as queen. That story was immortalized in a drama of Juan Ruiz de Alarcón y Mendoza. The romantic story of the love affair has been a favorite theme of Portuguese writers and has been much used by Spanish and other writers also. Inés’s sons subsequently contested the claim of their half brother, John I, to the Portuguese throne.
Cathedral at Alcobaça
Tombs in Alcobaça
After the death of Inés, Dom Pedro, returned to the estate in Santa Clara that had such pleasant memories for him. Here he wept bitterly. Consequently, the place took on the name of A Quinta das Lagrimas or The Estate of the Tears. That is the name of the hotel now.
Source: The Columbia Excyclopedia, Sixth Edition, 2001.