sexta-feira, 13 de novembro de 2009

The Forefathers of Catherine of Braganza

I am honoured to introduce a lovely lady, who will become a regular around here, Catherine of Braganza, Queen of England, Scotland and Ireland. Regarding her name, she was born Catarina de Bragança and that is how she is known in Portugal. Unlike other members of the Portuguese Royalty, of which I'll be using the portuguese versions, with Catherine I'll be using the Anglicanised version.

Now, everyone's heard of the saying 'the apple doesn't fall far from the tree'. In Catherine's case, there where a lot a trees of where she could have fallen from.

Let's start from dad's side.

D. João IV, was a shy, reserved man who prefered to hide in his gigantic library and play his harpsichord, and leave the paperwork to his wife. He was known both as the Musician-King and Restorer (I'm keeping quiet about the Restoration. All doubts will be cleared on December 1st). It's also believed that he was the original writer of Adeste Fideles. He was originaly a Duke of Bragança, the most powerful peer in Portugal.

The Braganças have a slightly sketchy history. His grandmother Catarina de Guimarães, was Duchess of Bragança by marriage, was a very ambitious woman and famous schemer. One of the Dukes of Bragança murdered his wife and suspected lover in a fit of jelousy. The 1st Duke was a natural son of John I, conceived aginst his father's celibacy vows as Master of Avis. This one was also extremely ambitious, and as some historians claim, the grandson of a converted jew.

John I was a bastard son of Pedro I and Teresa Lourenço, a Spanish noblewoman. Pedro was also the lover of Inês de Castro, whose ill-fated love story puts Romeo and Juliet in a corner.

Through John, she was a descendant of Afonso Henriques, 1st King of Portugal and historical bad-boy. Through him, from Henri of Burgundy who was a great-great-grandson of Hugh Capet.

She descended from Philippa of Plantagenet, wife of John I. Through her from John of Gaunt, Edward III of England, Philippa of Hainault, who herself descended from Stephen of Blois, William the Conqueror and Elizabeth of Cumens, thus also from Western Asians.

From her father's side, from the Isabel of Castille and twice from Ferdinand of Aragon. She also descened from Nuno Álvares Pereira, Constable of Portugal and recently canonised by His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI.

Through her mother, Luiza de Guzman, from the Dukes of Medina Sidonia, Grandes of Spain, and of the infamous Rodrigo Borgia, Pope Alexandre VI and of St. Fransisco Borgia.

What I consider ironic, is that it was Maria of Modena who was accused of being a Pope's illegitimate daughter, when truly, it was Catherine who had a Pope as an ancestor.

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