We’re walking from the cafeteria.
“What’s their story?” Dad asks.
“I researched,” I reply.
“Okay, tell me because I’ve only heard of them.”
“It’s the 14th Century Portugal. Pedro’s dad, Afonso IV married off Pedro’s sister Maria to the King of Castile, Alfonso XI. She was his second wife. Alfonso had a public affair soon after the marriage. Alfonso XI, a real dork, had the marriage to his first wife annulled and placed her in prison. She’s Constance. For some idiot reason, Afonso IV arranged his son Pedro to marry Constance.”
“Man, that’s a mess.”
“Yes. It gets worse. When Constance goes to Portugal to marry Pedro, in her entourage, is her cousin a lady-in-waiting named Inês de Castro.”
“Now it’s getting juicy,” Dad says in a somewhat creepy way.
“Pedro upon meeting her, fell in love. She’s gorgeous with a long slender neck, a desirable feature back then.”
“And still is, look at the supermodels today,” Dad says.
“Pedro pursues the young Inês. In that day, it wasn’t a big problem if an affair was discrete. Pedro was in an arranged marriage with someone he wasn’t attracted to and Constance was glad she wasn’t in prison anymore.”
“Yes, I agree,” says Dad.
“The problem was that Inês was from a powerful family in Galicia, an independent minded part of Castile, north of Portugal. Pedro’s dad, Afonso IV had a delicate alliance with Castile. Remember, Castile is the largest and most powerful kingdom on the Iberian Peninsula. Afonso IV was afraid, if he upsets the Castilians, they might invade Portugal. Back then, it might have been a one sided battle, for Castile.”
“Constance discovered Pedro had been sending love letters to Inês. Constance complained to King Afonso. People were whispering in the King’s court concerning the fondness Pedro had for Inês. Worse than that, Pedro was now spending time with Inês’ brothers who were plotting against the King of Castile.”
“What did the King do?” my dad asks.
“The King banished her from the court and forced her to move back to Galicia.”
“That should have solved the problem for Afonso IV.”
“One might think so, but alas not. Constance had borne three children for Pedro including Fernando. He figures in the succession crisis that leads to the end of the House of Burgundy and the rise of the House of Avis,” I say.
Eyebrows furrowed, Dad asks, “What happened to Inês?”
“It’s not what happens to Inês, it’s what happened to Pedro. He secretly goes several times to visit Inês in Galicia. Less than a year after Afonso IV banished Inês, Constance dies. Pedro is elated.”
“That dawg,” Dad blurts out.
“He gets Inês from Castile and put’s her up in a house in Coimbra. They live together, openly as a happy couple. Pedro spends even more time with Inês’ brothers, who convince him that because he is a grandchild to the previous king of Castile, he should claim the throne.”
“I bet that upset Afonso.”
“And so it did. Afonso IV did not want a fight with Alfonso XI, the king of Castile. His advisors agreed. Inês and her brothers had to go. Afonso consults his advisors who recommend he hires assassins to kill Inês.”
“Did he follow their counsel?” Dad asks.
“Why don’t we go see. I’m ready with the glasses to see how this plays out,” I suggest.
We walk back to the tombs of Pedro and Inês. We’re lucky, it was crowded earlier but the transept of the church is empty.