María de Molina


María de Molina
María de Molina.

María de Molina (c. 1265 – 1321) was the wife of Sancho IV of Castile. She was queen consort of Castile and León from 1284 to 1295 and then regent until the coming of age of her son Ferdinand IV.

Biography

María de Molina was an infanta (princess) from the Kingdom of León. She was the daughter of the infante Alfonso of Molina and Mayor Alonso de Meneses. Her paternal grandparents were King Alfonso IX of León and Queen Berengaria of Castile.

She married her cousin Sancho of Castile in 1281, the second son of Alfonso X the Learned, although the matrimonial dispensation for kinship was not previously granted.

Upon the death of Alfonso X, she became queen consort after her husband was crowned king of Castile and León as Sancho IV. His reign was short since he died in 1295.

After the death of Sancho IV, his eldest son Ferdinand IV, under age, was crowned with Maria de Molina as regent queen. Shortly after a series of quarrels broke out in Castile and León. The legitimacy of Ferdinand IV was questioned by his ambitious uncles, the infantes John and Henry, and by his cousins the infantes de la Cerda, sons of the infante Alfonso, eldest son of Alfonso X on the grounds of the lack of matrimonial dispensation. The objection was supported by King James II of Aragon and King Denis of Portugal, whose army invaded Castile in 1296.

The political skill, boldness and perseverance of María de Molina succeeded in turning her adversaries against each other. The invasion from Aragon and Portugal was defeated and the rights of Ferdinand IV were established. Besides, in 1301, a papal bull declared the marriage between Sancho IV and María de Molina valid.

After Ferdinand IV coming of age, María de Molina delivered the regency to him and abandoned politics. However, she had to endure the annoyances and disregards from her son who did not deserve nor was grateful to María's saving of his throne.

María de Molina died in Valladolid in 1321.

Children

Queen María de Molina presents her son Ferdinand IV of Castile to the Cortes of Valladolid of 1295. (1863)

Ancestry

Preceded by
Violant of Aragon
Queen Consort of Castile and León
1284–1295
Succeeded by
Constance of Portugal

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