PORTUGUESE CULTURE: THE STORY OF THE TWO LOVERS
Portugal’s stunning history and culture has survived for many centuries: the beautiful architecture, the traditional tiles and the pavement, and the stories of kings and queens, which are famous for being full of betrayals, death and, above all, love. One of these stories is the most famous Portuguese love story; that of Pedro and Inês.
The romance between D. Pedro I, future king of Portugal, and the handmaiden Inês de Castro made a big impact in the history and culture of Portugal. This forbidden love in the midst of fights for power ended in Inês’ death, and the beginning of her legend as the Dead Queen.
The Beginning of the Story
Pedro had an unhappy arranged marriage with D. Constança Manuel, a young noblewoman from the royal family of Castela. He soon fell in love with one of her handmaidens, Inês de Castro, and their relationship was never truly hidden or accepted by the court or the people. Although he was married, Pedro had frequent romantic encounters with Inês in the gardens of Quinta das Lágrimas.
When Constança died in 1345 giving birth to the future king D. Fernando I, Pedro and Inês started living together as husband and wife, which deeply offended the court, the people, and his father D. Afonso IV, who always opposed the relationship.
Despite the strong opposition and lack of support, Pedro e Inês lived happily with their children for years in Paços de Santa Clara, Coimbra. The birth of their four children, however, worsened the situation because D. Afonso IV had always felt like one of his own father’s bastard children would put his succession at risk.
Rumours of Pedro and Inês wanting to assassinate the young prince D. Fernando I began to spread, and with the court’s constant pressure on D. Afonso IV, he ordered Inês to be assassinated in January of 1355. She was killed in Quinta das Lágrimas, and it is said that her tears sprouted what is now called the Fonte das Lágrimas, where you can still see her blood stained on the rocks.
Pedro never forgave his father for killing the love of his life, and when he was crowned king in 1357 he arrested and killed Inês’ assassins and ripped out their hearts. This earned him the epithet of Pedro, the Cruel.
Pedro swore he married Inês in secret, and he imposed her recognition as queen of Portugal. According to legend, Pedro placed Inês’ body on the throne with a crown on her head, and had the nobles kiss the hand of her corpse.
In April of 1360 he ordered her body to be moved from Coimbra to the Mosteiro Real de Alcobaça, where he ordered two magnificent tombs to be built so he could rest forever side by side with his eternal love.
The immortal love story of Pedro and Inês has inspired Portuguese authors to write beautiful literature, like Luís Vaz de Camões in Os Lusíadas. The stunning Mosteiro Real de Alcobaça and the gardens of Quinta das Lágrimas are must-see places if you’re visiting Portugal.