Juana “The Mad” Finally Takes Her Royal Plinth

One of the most important figures in Spanish history, Queen Juana I of Castile has finally been recognised by having her statue added to the Paseo de los Reyes in the Retiro Park.

She now occupies the last remaining empty plinth of the 14 statues of Spanish monarchs over the ages who already had a sculpture erected.

The 14 statues on the Paseo de los Reyes are a part of a collection 114 statues of Spanish monarchs since the Visigoths (though excluding the Moorish rulers) which were erected during the reigns of Felipe V and Fernando VI between 1743 and 1748 to decorate the cornice of the newly built Royal Palace.

On coming to the Spanish throne, Carlos III, however, did not take to them much and moved many to new locations including the Plaza de Oriente, the summer palace in Aranjuez and the Retiro Park.

The decision by the Madrid City Council, rights an historical wrong to the medieval queen, known as Juan the Mad, who was declared insane and locked away for much of her life.

She was however one of the longest-reigning monarchs in Spanish history and all Spanish sovereigns since can claim lineage through her.

She was born in 1479 as the daughter of the Catholic Monarchs, Ferdinand of Aragon, and Isabella of Castile.

Their reign saw Castille become the dominant power on the Iberian Peninsula and brought an end to the last Moorish Caliphate of Granada in 1492.

She was Queen of Castile from 1504 until her death in 1555.

She was married by arrangement to Philip the Handsome, Archduke of Austria of the House of Habsburg, in 1496 and who is considered the first of the Habsburg rulers in Spain.

His early death in 1506 caused her immense grief and she was placed in confinement at the Royal Convent of Santa Clara in Tordesillas, by her father, who was king of Aragon and had designs over the kingdom of Castile.

He in turn passed the crown to her children, of whom the eldest, Charles I, went on to become not only king of Spain but also Holy Roman Emperor, as Charles V.

Historians have subsequently doubted the extent of her madness and consider her a victim of powerful forces for control of the growing empire.




Share The Madrid Metropolitan: The only Madrid English language newspaper