Spanish Historical Royal of the Month: Joanna of Austria
Joanna, Archduchess of Austria, Infanta of Castile and Aragon, Princess of Burgundy was born in Madrid on the 24th of June 1535. Joanna was the second surviving daughter of Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor and Isabella of Portugal.
In 1552, she was married to Infante João Manuel of Portugal and their only surviving child was the future King Sebastian of Portugal. Following the death of Infante João Manuel in 1554, Joanna returned to Spain and acted as Regent for her brother, the future Philip II of Spain, who was in the Spanish Low Countries and England. Her brother Philip married Queen Mary I of England in July 1554 at Winchester Cathedral.
Though Joanna never returned to Portugal, she did keep in contact with her son and had several portraits of him painted. Joanna joined an impressive line of effective female Habsburg Regents – her aunt Maria of Hungary was also Regent of the Low Countries.
Noted for her devout Catholicism, Joanna founded the Poor Clares Convent of Las Descalzas Reales in Madrid in 1557. Following the return of her brother Philip II to Spain in 1559, Joanna’s Regency came to an end and she retired from politics, dying on September 7th, 1573 at the Monasterio de El Escorial outside Madrid.Filed under Austria-Hungary, Historical Royals, Portugal, Spain
Tagged Biography, Joanna of Austria, Regency.