07 February 2015

Today's Princess: Mayor Guillén de Guzmán

The dashing Alfonso X
via Wikimedia Commons
Although he wrote about the proper behavior and role of women, King Alfonso X of Castile and Leon was not very particular about applying these rules to his own life. In fact he had several famous affairs, including one with his own aunt. The most famous mistress of his youth, however, was a Castilian noblewoman named Mayor Guillén de Guzmán.

Often characterized as his most romantic relationship, the affair started when he was just a teenager. She was about 16 years older. It continued while he waited for his child-bride Violante of Aragon to grow up. Born into an extremely aristocratic family, Mayor seems to have suffered little ill-will because of the affair. Instead, she was showered with lands. She and Alfonso even founded the Monastery of Santa Clara de Alcocer together. Decades later, after her death, he even erected a beautiful sepulchre in here memory. It survived until the Spanish Civil War in 1936.

The couple's only child together, Beatrice, was one of Alfonso's favorite children--he had 11 with his wife and a smattering of other bastards. In fact, Beatrice made a better marriage than any of her legitimate sisters: she married the King of Portugal.

Lest you think, that Alfonso and Mayor's relationship kept him completely satisfied, however, it is worth mentioning that Beatrice was born the same year as her illegitimate brother Alfonso Fernandéz de Castilla.

More about Mayor (both in Spanish):
Amante del Ray Sabio, Doña Mayor Guillén on Mujeres en la Historia
Doña Mayor Guillén y Alfonso X el Sabio, el amante on La Aventura de la Historia

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