INEZ IS DEAD
In the year of our Lord, 1336, Dom Pedro, the son an heir to the throne of Portugal, was to be married. He was sixteen, and the marriage was arranged by his father King Alfonso IV. The bride was Constança, Manuel, the daughter of a Galician Duke, and the wedding was to be performed by proxy as the bride was unable to travel due to a war with Castile. The war lasted another four years before she could finally meet her new husband.
When Constança arrived in Portugal, in 1340, among the processions of cavaliers and lady's-in-waiting, was the cousin of the bride, the beautiful and graceful Inez de Castro. Dom Pedro greeted his bride, and was pleased to note she was attractive and amiable. Then his eyes met those of Inez and he immediately fell in love with the girl whose yellow hair gleamed like gold in the sunlight.
Although he married Constança, Dom Pedro could not help thinking of being with Inez. He went out of his way just to look at her. Eventually, Dom Pedro and Inez carried on an affair that caused a scandal, and even though his father warned him against it, Dom Pedro continued seeing Inez.
Finally, the father forced Inez into exile at a convent in Coimbra. This did not deter Dom Pedro. He secretly sent messages on a small wooden boat by way of a water duct that went to the convent, and they would meet in the woods nearby to carry on their love affair.
Five years later, in 1345, Constança died after the birth of their son Ferdinand. Dom Pedro now free of his marriage, did not waste time in having his true love near him. He immediately established Inez in a residential Palace near the convent where they continued their affair openly for the next ten years and during that time, Inez had borne four illegitimate children.
Over the years, Dom Pedro repeatedly petitioned his father for permission to marry Inez, but his Father and the Royal Court disapproved of the alliance. Mainly, because of Inez's father, Pedro de Castro, who was fast gaining political power in Castile. Also, because Dom Pedro was becoming closely associated with Inez's brothers. The brothers were also heavily involved in politics, and were conspiring to overthrow the King of Castile. They urged Dom Pedro to join them in their revolt, but he refused because both he and the king, having the same grandfather, were related.
King Alfonso tried to force his son to marry someone else to be the future Queen of Portugal, but Dom Pedro was obstinate. He would not marry unless he could have Inez. To achieve his goal, and his intention of making the sons of Inez his legitimate heirs, Dom Pedro secretly married Inez in Braganza on January 1, 1354 before the birth of their last son. And for the next year, Dom Pedro and Inez lived happily in their secret matrimonial bliss raising their children.
During this time, Inez's brothers began inserting themselves into Portugal's politics, thus gaining more influence over Dom Pedro. The Royal Court Council began to worry that Inez de Castro's children would usurp the legitimate sons of Constança thus giving more power to the Castros. They advised the king that it would be best to eliminate Inez before Dom Pedro could legitimatize them.
After many sessions and arguments at secret court meetings, King Alfonso agreed to the plan. So on January 7, 1355, while Dom Pedro was away on a hunting trip, three of the Royal Councilors, were elected to go to Coimbra and assassinate Inez. The three were the Chief Justice Álvaro Gonçalves, Pero Coelho, and Diogo Lopes Pacheco.
The assassins found Inez de Castro by a fountain on the estate and violently murdered her with their swords. Afterwards, her body was quickly and quietly buried in the cemetery of the Santa Clara Church.
Returning from the hunting trip and discovering the murderous deed, Dom Pedro, was grief-stricken. His furious response, along with the outraged brothers of Inez, was to revolt against the government. This civil war was short lived due to the intervention of Dom Pedro's mother trying to bring peace to the Royal House. The assassins had already fled the country fearing for their lives, so after resolving the situation with his father and mother, Dom Pedro promised not to pursue them. He kept the promise although he had his followers quietly seeking their location.
Two years later, when King Alfonso IV died and Dom Pedro, as heir, ascended to the throne as King Pedro I, he immediately rescinded the promise, and ordered the assassins to be extradited from their hiding places and brought to him. Only two were found, and the other one successfully managed to escape.
Upon the return of Chief Justice Álvaro Gonçalves and Pero Coelho, the citizens of Portugal were called to the public arena to witness their King's revenge for Inez de Castro's murder. While Dom Pedro watched, the two assassins were tortured, their hearts pulled out while still alive, one through his chest, the other through his back, and finally, they were put to death as unmercifully as had been his beloved Inez.
For the next few years, Dom Pedro still brooded over the lost of Inez and refused to remarry. He pondered various ways to make his sons by Inez his rightful heirs. By publicly announcing that they had been secretly married with a special Papal dispensation did not make his Royal council accept this fact as truth. However, after seeing what he had decreed for the assassins, no one would dare disagree. Still, this did not solve the legitimacy of her children or that they would be considered Royal heirs to the throne.
"Inez," said the Royal adviser, "would have had to have the Papal's authority and a Coronation Ceremony in the Church to have been recognized as Queen."
"In that case," Dom Pedro answered, "I order it to be done."
"But . . . your Majesty. It . . . is too late . . . Inez is dead!" he exclaimed.
"Dead or alive . . . she is my Queen, and you will see to it that it is official." Dom Pedro commanded.
When the other Royal Council members heard this proposal, they were appalled and thought their king had gone mad.
But King Pedro I, being the king, insisted on it. He further ordered that Inez would be removed from her resting place in Santa Clara Cemetery, dressed befitting a queen, and brought by Royal Procession, attended by the nobility, to the Alcobaça Abbey where the ceremony would take place and her body reinterred at the Abbey.
While plans were being made for this Historic event, Dom Pedro commissioned the construction of twin sarcophagi carved of pale stone. One for Inez, and the other reserved for him at the time of his death.
Then, on a summer day in 1360, everything
was in order and the procession began . . .
The following is as quoted by Fernão Lopez the royal archivist of Portugal 1418 - 1454
"And having thought to honor her bones, as there was nothing else he could do, he ordered a sepulcher carved of pale stone, all very cunningly executed, placing her image upon the upper stone, with a crown upon her head, as if she were queen. And he ordered the sepulcher placed in the monastery of Alcobaça, not at the entrance, where rest the kings, but inside the church, on the right, close to the principal chapel.
And he brought her corpse from the monastery of Santa Clara de Coimbra, where she had been laid, in the most exalted procession that could be arranged. She came in stages, a procession with extremely correct protocol for the time, carried by great cavaliers, accompanied by gentlemen of noble birth and many other people, and ladies, and damsels and a great number of clergy.
By the side of the
road stood many men with great candles in their hands, organized in such
a way that, wherever the corpse went, along the entire route, it traveled
between lit candles. And thus they arrived at the aforesaid monastery,
seventeen leagues distant, where with many masses and great solemnity,
her corpse was placed in that monument. And that was the grandest funeral
procession which had been seen in Portugal as of that time."
This monument is mounted on six gargoyles representing her murderers and enemies.
At the time of his death in 1367, King Pedro I was placed to rest in Alcobaça near his beloved Inez.
The elaborate decorations on Inez's tombs
are of the Resurrection and The Final Judgement.
On Dom Pedro's is scenes depicting their life together beginning with the arrival of Inez in Portugal.
Inez is placed so that her head is in the
north end and the feet in the south.
Dom Pedro's is placed with his head in the south end and his feet in the north.
Therefore, on Judgement Day the first person he will see when he rises will be that of Inez --- the love of his life.
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