Christophe Jacrot, Winter in Town (New York City).
The love history of Inés de Castro and King Pedro I of Portugal.
Inés de Castro was a galician noblewoman born of a portuguese mother. She is best known as lover and posthumously exhumed and declared lawful wife of King Pedro I of Portugal, and therefore Infanta of Portugal by order of Pedro himself, as she died before he acceded to the Throne. Inés came to Portugal in 1340 as a maid of Infanta Constança of Castilla, recently married to Pedro, the heir apparent to the Portuguese Throne. The Prince fell in love with her and started to neglect his lawful wife, endangering the already feeble relations with Castilla. Moreover, Pedro’s love for Inés brought the exiled castilian Nobility very close to power, with Inés’s brothers becoming the Prince’s friends and trusted advisors. King Afonso IV of Portugal, Pedro’s father, disliked Inés’s influence on his son and waited for their mutual infatuation to wear off, but it did not. Constança of Castilla died in 1345. Afonso IV tried several times to arrange for his son to be remarried, but Pedro refused to take a wife other than Inés, who was not deemed eligible to be Queen. Pedro’s legitimate son, future King Fernando I of Portugal, was a frail child, whereas Pedro and Inés’s illegitimate children were thriving; this created even more discomfort among the portuguese Nobles, who feared the increasing castilian influence over Pedro. Afonso IV banished Inés from the Court after Constança’s death, but Pedro remained with her declaring her as his true love. After several attempts to keep the lovers apart, Afonso IV ordered Inés’s death. Pêro Coelho, Álvaro Gonçalves, and Diogo Lopes Pacheco went to the Monastery of Santa Clara-a-Velha in Coimbra, where Inés was detained, and killed her, decapitating her in front of her small child. When Pedro heard of this he sought out the killers and managed to capture two of them in 1361. He executed them publicly, ripping their hearts out claiming they didn’t have one having pulverized his own heart. Pedro became King of Portugal in 1357. He then stated that he had secretly married Inés, who was consequently the lawful Queen, although his word was, and still is, the only proof of the marriage. Legend has it that he had Inés’s body exhumed from her grave and forced the entire court to swear allegiance to their new Queen by kissing the corpse’s hand. She was later buried at the Monastery of Alcobaça where her coffin can still be seen, opposite Pedro’s so that, according to the legend, at the Last Judgment Pedro and Inés can look at each other as they rise from their graves. Both marble coffins are exquisitely sculpted with scenes from their lives and a promise by Pedro that they would be together until the end of the World. Inés de Castro and King Pedro I had four children, Prince Afonso, Infanta Beatriz, Prince João and Prince Dinis.