Luisa of Medina-Sidonia

Luisa of Medina-Sidonia

Luisa de Guzmán ( _pt. Luísa de Gusmão) (Sanlúcar de Barrameda, October 31 1613 – February 27 1666) was Queen Consort of Portugal as wife of King John IV, the first king of the Braganza Dynasty.

She was born a Spanish noblewoman, a granddaughter of the renowned Alonso de Guzmán, "El Bueno". Despite her Spanish origins, the ambitious Luisa guided her husband's policies during the Portuguese rebellion of 1640 [Restoration of Independence] against Spain. She is considered the main influence behind John IV's acceptation of the throne of Portugal when the Revolution seemed to tend to the Portuguese side. It is said that being warned of the dangers of becoming Queen of a country that was to face Spain's might she pronounced the famous words:

:"Antes rainha um dia" (in some versions "uma hora") "que duquesa toda a vida.":Rather Queen for a day" (in some versions "an hour") "than a duchess all my life.

When she was made aware of a failed attempt to murder the King in 1641, she is said to have been one of the members of the "Corte", which supported the execution of nobles like the Duke of Caminha.

She was named Regent of the Kingdom after her husband's death and during the minority of her son Afonso VI. She continued to occupy the post even after Afonso became an adult because her son was mentally unstable. She was the target of a failed conspiracy headed by Luís de Vasconcelos e Sousa, Count of Castelo Melhor.

She is also mainly responsible for the diplomatic success of the new alliance with England, as well as the organization of the armies that in the next year would completely secure Portuguese independence through the victories in the Portuguese Restoration War.

She defended the principles of freedom and independence of the Kingdom and controlled the government with a strong hand fearing her son was incapable.

Her daughter Catherine married Charles II of England.

Trivia

It is assumed Luisa had vitiligo as evidenced in the white streak in her hair in many paintings.

References

*ref-list


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