He smiled, held her hand paused for a second and then he began.
‘’ Inês de Castro, who was born around 1320, was the daughter of the powerful illegitimate grandson of King Sancho IV of Castile. She went to Portugal, when she was twenty years old, as a lady-in-waiting to her cousin Constance who was to marry the heir to the Portuguese throne, Pedro. But when the prince saw Inês he fell madly in love with the noble lady. And even though he was soon married to her cousin, he still spend time with Inês. They used to have secret romantic meetings in the gardens of a Quinta, called the Estate of Tears. One of the fountains there was entitled The Fountain of Lovers, after their love for each other. Nobody agreed with the secret relationship, but Pedro didn’t care. The King decided to banish Inês from Court and sent her back to Castile in 1344. Pedro however, managed to visit Inês when she was away from the kingdom. When Constance died in 1345, Pedro brought Inês back to Portugal and settled her in Coimbra, a decision which angered his father, who strongly opposed the relationship. They ended up by living there togetherand went on to have four children. Meanwhile,the Prince became close to Inês’ brothers, who tried to convince him to claim the throne of Castile. This prospect led the King and his advisers to look for ways to free the Prince from the damaging influence of the Castro clan, and the death of Inês started to be seen as a solution.’’
Celine was silently, attentively, absorbing every single word. So Christopher continued.
‘’ Initially, Dom Afonso IV was reluctant to agree to such an extreme action against the mother of his grandchildren, but on 7 January 1355 (while Pedro was away from home), the King called his counsellors and ordered them to kill Inês. According to the legend, Inês appeared surrounded by her children and pleaded for her life. But King Afonso was not moved and left the room claiming, ‘’Do whatever you want‘’. The sentence was carried out, and Inês de Castro was executed. Deranged by pain, Peter led an uprising against the King and would never forgive his father for murdering his lover. Some people believe that she was murdered next to another fountain in the estate, which was named the Fountain of Tears. Legend has it that the red stones are stained forever with the blood that fell from her body, when she was murdered. It might have also been the place where Pedro’s tears fell, endlessly, after returning home and finding out what his father had done. When he finally took the crown in 1357, King Pedro pursued and executed Inês’ murderers by ripping their hearts out and he also announced that he had secretly married Inês. Inês de Castro was then declared Pedro’s legitimate wife and therefore the lawful Queen of Portugal. The King then ordered her body to be exhumed and taken from the Monastery of Santa Clara in Coimbra, where she was, to the Monastery of Alcobaça (the tomb of kings), where she was buried in 1361. A thousand people lit the way with white candles, and for years that followed, everyone still used to speak about how it seemed that she was being carried by stars. Two magnificent tombs were carved out of white marble and placed facing each other, so that when Pedro died, and joined Inês, they would wake up, facing each other, together for eternal life. Other’s say that the tomb was placed opposite Pedro’s own grave, so that they could look into each other’s eyes forever and ever. Whichever had been Pedro’s idea, still today, their tombs rest there, in each other’s presence. ‘’ He paused. ‘’ Still, to this day, the fountain is filled with red stones…. ‘’
Celine had tears falling down her face when Christopher finished the story.
Extract from a soon to be novel.
Pictures of their tombs in another post: here.