Blanche II Queen of Navarre Princess of Asturias 1424 – 1464

Blanche II Queen of Navarre Princess of Asturias 1424 – 1464

Blanche II of Navarre (9 June 1424 – 2 December 1464), titular queen of Navarre, was the daughter of John II of Aragon and Blanche I of Navarre. She was also Princess of Asturias by marriage.

Blanche II
Queen of Navarre
Princess of Asturias
9 June 1424 – 2 December 1464

Born
9 June 1424
Olite, Navarre

Died
2 December 1464 (aged 40)
Orthez, France

Burial
Lescar

Husband
Henry IV of Castile

House
of
Trastámara

Father
John II of Aragon

Mother
Blanche I of Navarre

Blanche was born on 9 June 1424 in Olite, Navarre. In 1427, she, her brother Charles and her sister Eleanor, were proclaimed the rightful heirs of the kingdom of Navarre.

Blanche was promised to the heir of Castile in the peace treaty between Navarre and Castile in 1436. She married Henry IV of Castile in 1440.

Her mother Blanche died in Santa María la Real de Nieva in 1441. After her death her father John kept the government of Navarre in his own hands, from the hands of his own son Charles of Viana, the rightful heir of the line of Navarrese kings.

In 1453, after thirteen years, Henry sought the annulment of the marriage. An official examination confirmed the virginity of Blanche. A divorce was granted by the Pope on the grounds that some “witchcraft” had prevented Henry from consummating the marriage. Blanche was described as sweet natured, kind and an animal lover An annulment on such grounds was an embarrassment for both parties, but Henry could not claim the close relation between the two as the reason since his intended replacement (Joan of Portugal) was just as closely related to him. The marriage came to an end on 13 November 1453.

Blanche was sent home in disgrace. where she was imprisoned by her family.

Her brother Charles was imprisoned in December 1460 when he aspired a marriage with Isabel of Castile. The Catalans supported Charles, and his release was secured in February 1461 with a promise by his father that he would be named his universal heir. Charles’ death on 23 September 1461 was entirely too convenient for his sister Eleanor’s cause. The cause of death was either tuberculosis or poisoning by either his stepmother (Juana Enriquez) or Eleanor.

After the death of her brother in 1461, some Navarrese dissatisfied elements and some of the anti-Aragonese party regarded Blanche as the rightful monarch. They proclaimed her queen. She would have thus become Blanche II of Navarre, had not her father (who wanted to keep the government of Navarre) already had her incarcerated and thus not capable to act. She most likely feared that she would suffer the same fate as her brother. John tried to marry her to Charles, Duke of Berry, and younger brother of Louis XI of France to make an alliance, but Blanche refused, and her act irritated her father John. When she refused to leave Navarre, she was abducted. She wrote several appeals for help, blaming her ambitious sister and brother-in-law: ‘The said Count of Foix and his wife, my sister, are taking me to exile me and to disinherit me of my kingdom of Navarre’ In 1464, she came back to Pamplona with the help of its bishop Nicolas de Etchabarri, who was murdered shortly after.

Blanche was imprisoned in the castle of Orthez. Again, the situation was quite conveniently resolved. She died by poison in Orthez less than a month later. Both her father and her sister Eleanor are suggested to have been responsible for her death. Upon her death, her rights to Navarre were inherited by her next sister, Eleanor of Aragon, Countess of Foix, who however was their father’s ally and supporter, and did not press her own claims until his death in 1479.

Blanche II
Queen of Navarre
Princess of Asturias
9 June 1424 – 2 December 1464

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