Chapter 15 Inquiry of the Queen

Queen Urraca floats forward.

“This is ridiculous,” says Afonso II.

“For this line of questioning, father I ask you to respect my mother,” says Afonso III.

Afonso II nods and says, “I will, but it must respect our station[1].”

I start the questioning of the witness. “For months before you died did you lose weight?”

“Yes, I did,” the Queen answers.

Her aunts and her son nod.

“To prove a cause of death, I need to ask even more personal health questions than the one I asked. Is it acceptable to you and the rest of the court?” I ask.

“I want to know how I died, and thus, I accept your questioning,” she says.

“Please ask only necessary questions,” says Afonso III.

“For months before your death, did you have days of constipation followed by days of diarrhea?” I ask.

Afonso II yells out, “That question was intolerable and disrespectful!”

Queen Urraca’s face and chest turn red and she looks toward her feet.

Afonso III booms out with his eyes glaring red, “Withdraw the question!”

“I apologize. I withdraw the question.”

“Good,” says Afonso III.

Better find a less invasive question. I’m searching through the summary notes on my iPhone.

“Queen Urraca, in the months before your death on most days for hours on end did you have pounding in your chest?”

“Yes, I did. I thought it strange, as if I was being made afraid and running from a demon. I lay awake because it so pronounced.”

“Please continue describing your sleep patterns in the months before your death,” I ask.

“Many nights, I couldn’t sleep because my chest was pounding and my legs hurt. Both of my legs were swollen and throbbing with pain. I had tremendous itching in my back and asked my granddaughter, Princess Sanchia, to massage my back,” she answers.

“I remember that I did that every day in the months before you died. Poor grandma,” says Princess Sanchia.

“I don’t see what this proves. People complain of aches and pains,” says Afonso II with a shrug.

“Father you had leprosy, so you had lots of pain. Mother was a healthy person until a few months before her death,” says Afonso III.

I look up at the judge. “Please continue,” he says.

“Did you have other troubles related to sleep?” I ask the Queen.

“Yes. I had trouble sleeping, but I had days where I couldn’t get up. I missed performing my duties tending to the towns of Obidos and Torres Vedras. I didn’t have the energy. Afonso you remember?”

Afonso II answers while looking at his feet, “Yes, I remember. I worried for you. I wanted you to be my regent because I believed I was going die of leprosy. Sancho and Afonso, our sons, were both minors.”

“Please describe your vision before your death?” I ask.

“I had good eyesight until the autumn before my death. I still needed to wear a veil even though the sun was not bright and even in the castle by candlelight my eyes hurt. I no longer read the notes when I played the lute, and no longer had the energy to play. It was as if my arms and legs were not working. I went to visit Obidos and twice I collapsed and fell.”


[1] station – Place in society

Read Chapter 16 Feelings