The Death of King Ferdinand II of Aragon

King Ferdinand II of Aragon, one of the worst royal father’s in history, passed away on 23 January 1516 and was (oddly enough) lamented by his surviving children.

Ferdinand II of Aragon

His son-in-law, Henry VIII, whom he had betrayed more often than once, was so worried about distressing the heavily pregnant Katherina of Aragon that he waited until after she had given birth to their daughter Mary on 18 February 1516 to tell the queen that Ferdinand was dead. Why Katherina should have been overly distressed when her father was the same one who had contentedly let her rot as a widow for 8 years while he dickered and tried to keep her dowry is a mystery to me.

Many people blame King Henry VII for not allowing Prince Henry to marry Katherina sooner, thereby distressing his once-and-future-daughter-in-law, but King Henry VII was right not to trust Ferdinand. Any European monarch with any sense knew that Ferdinand’s late wife, Queen Isabella I of Castile, had been the honorable and fearsome sovereign in Spain, whereas Ferdinand was a shifty little weasel who couldn’t be trusted as far as you could throw an anvil. King Henry provided Katherina with more money than her father did, and Ferdinand didn’t bother to ever make good with the dowry which would have secured his daughter’s happiness.

Moreover, when Katherina did marry Henry VIII, her father used her without regard to her security or marriage. Ferdinand double-crossed his English ally by stealthily making a separate peace with the French in 1513, which sent Henry into a rage. Since he couldn’t get to Ferdinand, Henry unleashed his frustration on Katherina. As a good daughter, the queen had always encouraged Henry to ally himself with her father. Ferdinand repaid Katherina by betraying her husband and leaving Katherina to pay the emotional consequences for his underhanded behavior. King Henry VIII was angry enough toward his wife and her father that word started to spread he was going to repudiate Katherina and marry a French noblewoman as soon as his first marriage was annulled.

It is even more mysterious why King Ferdinand’s eldest daughter, Joanna of Castile, would mourn him. In order to take the crown of Castile for himself, the vicious bastard “had Joanna confined in the Santa Clara in Tordesillas, near Valladolid in Castile, in February 1509 after having dismissed all of her faithful servants and having appointed a small retinue accountable to him alone … Decoded letters that passed between the Marquis and Marchioness of Denia, her “wardens”, and King Ferdinand, cover the decades of incarceration in the Castle of Tordesillas report the use of torture to force compliance.”

What kind of monster is so greedy for power he would lock up and torture his OWN DAUGHTER to keep his sorry ass on her rightful throne??

Ferdinand even tried to displace Joanna’s son, Charles, who would later become Charles I of Castile, Leon and Aragon and Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor, as the heir to Castile after he forcibly stole the boy’s regency. In July of 1505 Ferdinand had married Germaine of Foix, “the granddaughter of his half-sister Queen Eleanor of Navarre” but they had no living children, so Ferdinand’s kingdom would have to go to one of his grandson’s by Joanna. Ferdinand wanted it to be the younger one, Ferdinand I, who had been born and raised in Castile, and initially made a will leaving the kingdom to the Infante Ferdinand. The old king supposedly hated his eldest grandson, probably because Charles was too much like his deceased father, Habsburg Archduke Philip the Handsome – too ‘Austrian’ and too ‘disrespectful’ of King Ferdinand.

Nonetheless, Charles inherited Castile after his grandfather died. The new king kept his mother locked up (severe depression had made her ‘legitimately’ mad in Spanish medical opinion by now) but was otherwise a much better king than Ferdinand II ever was. Not only was Charles faithful to his wife and good to his children, the Emperor was so NOT power hungry that he abdicated parts of his empire before his death, giving his son and younger brother their own kingdoms to rule.

The worst thing Charles did was continue his support of his grandparent’s hellish brain-child, the Tribunal of the Holy Office of the Inquisition, remembered as the Spanish Inquisition and the forcible conversions of Jews and Muslims. Just as they had done under Ferdinand II and Isabella, the Spanish Inquisition under Charles “searched for false converts from Judaism among the conversos [and] for false or relapsed converts among the Moriscos, forced converts from Islam.” With enough hot irons and pinchers, it was amazing the confessions of backsliding they could elicit before burning their victims to death.

However, under Charles there were fewer conversos and moriscos to torture, because King Ferdinand II and Queen Isabella (in violation of the Treaty of Granada) had been so active in the mass murder and expulsion of any non-Christians that there were hardly any left to torment and kill. Ferdinand and his wife took great glee in the ethnocide and genocide, feeling that they were doing God’s holy work.  How Ferdinand justified the torture and imprisonment of his daughter, Joanna, is a mystery.

Ferdinand II of Aragon is buried beside his first wife at Capilla Real, the royal chapel of the Granada Cathedral, which Ferdinand and Isabella built in the captured territory of Granada. Ironically, his hated son-in-law, Philip the Handsome, and his abused daughter, Joanna of Castile, are laid to rest there as well.

tomb of Ferdinand and Isabella Granada-Capilla_Real

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