The Most Famous Love Story in Coimbra

Get to know all about the dramatic love story between Inês de Castro and D. Pedro I.

Pedro and Inês

D. Pedro was born in 1320, son of King D. Afonso IV and D. Beatriz de Castela. For political reasons, D. Pedro married D. Constança Emanuel, a castilian noblewoman, in 1339.

Nobody could imagine that Pedro would fall in love with one of Constança’s ladies-in-waiting, the splendid Inês de Castro. The romance between them was criticized and badly accepted by the court, that feared the castilian influence on D. Pedro.

Based on morality, D. Afonso IV ordered the exile of D. Inês, in 1344, in the castle of Albuquerque, on the Castilian border. However, the distance hasn’t killed the love between Pedro and Inês, who used to write each other frequently.

In October of the following year, D. Constança died when giving birth to the future king, D. Fernando I of Portugal. As a widower and against his father’s wish, D. Pedro ordered D. Inês to return from exile and joined her, causing some scandal at court and upsetting his father. Then a dispute broke out between the king and the infant.

D. Afonso IV tried to solve the situation by marrying his son with a lady of royal blood. But D. Pedro rejected this project, claiming that he couldn’t think about a new marriage yet. However, the union with D. Inês was bearing fruit: between the years 1346 to 1354, Inês had four children. Rumors began to circulate hinting that the castilians were conspiring to murder the infant D. Fernando, D. Pedro’s legitimate heir, for the Portuguese throne to pass to the oldest son of D. Inês de Castro.

In 1355, D. Afonso IV gave in to pressure from portuguese nobles and ordered the killing of Inês de Castro. So, on the 7th of January, taking advantage of the fact that Pedro was traveling, three men – Pêro Coelho, Álvaro Gonçalves and Diogo Lopes Pacheco – ambushed Inês in the gardens where she and Pedro used to meet and coldly murdered her. The legend tells that her tears turned into a stream, which today is known as The Fountain of Tears, and her blood into the red moss of the place.

Love’s Fountain

The death of D. Inês caused the anger of D. Pedro against D. Afonso IV. After months of conflict, Queen D. Beatriz managed to intervene and sealed the peace between father and son. In 1357, D. Afonso IV died and his son was crowned as D. Pedro I.

In June 1360, D. Pedro I made a declaration legitimizing his children by stating that he had secretly married D. Inês, in 1354. The word of the king, his chaplain and his servant were the necessary evidence to legalize this marriage.

Then he pursued the assassins of D. Inês, who had fled to the Kingdom of Castile. Pêro Coelho and Álvaro Gonçalves were caught and executed in Santarém (according to legend, the King ordered that one of them had his heart ripped out by the chest and the other one by the back, watching the execution while feasting). Diogo Lopes Pacheco managed to escape to France and, later, would be forgiven by the King on his deathbed.

D. Pedro ordered the construction of the two magnificent tombs of D. Pedro I and D. Inês de Castro at the Alcobaça monastery, where the body of his beloved Inês is since 1361 or 1362. The legend also says that, before placing the body of her beloved Inês in the tomb, the king sat her on the throne and made the whole court kiss the hand of the dead queen.

Did you like the story? We have a cool tip for you: the film Inês e Pedro directed by António Ferreira, tells this story in an interesting way. Watch the movie and stroll around the sights that mark this beautiful love story. Don’t forget to tag @inlifeportugal when you follow our tips 😉.

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