Queen Isabel tames her quarrelsome nobles

April 1, 2013

Isabella of Castile

On one occasion, when Queen Isabel was in Valladolid, high words broke out between Don Fadrique Enriquez, son of Ferdinand’s uncle the Admiral of Castile and a certain Ramir Nuñez de Guzman, Lord of Toral. In spite of the fact that his enemy had received a safe conduct from the Queen, Don Fadrique attacked him in a public square, striking him several times. Isabel’s indignation was unbounded, and she at once rode to Simancas, whose fortress belonged to the Admiral, demanding either its instant surrender or that of his son. The Admiral, faced by this plain issue, dared not disobey; and, since he was ignorant of his son’s hiding place he gave up the keys of his stronghold. Isabel then returned to Valladolid, but her anger was unappeased; and when questioned as to its cause she replied: “I am suffering from the blows that Don Fadrique hath struck at my safe-conduct.”


Not till the offender appeared himself at Court to sue for pardon would she relax her coldness to his family; and even then she refused to see him, but ordered that he should be led a prisoner through the streets and thence to a fortress at Arévalo. Here he remained in close confinement, until at his relations’ intercession he was instead exiled to Sicily, there to remain at the Queen’s pleasure.

Queen Isabella of Castile

His enemy, Ramir Nuñez de Guzman, refusing to take warning from his rival’s fate, attempted to assassinate the Admiral in revenge for the attack made on himself, as soon as he had recovered from his wounds; with the result that he was brought before the royal judges and deprived of all his goods and revenues.


Irene L. Plunket, Isabel of Castile and the Making of the Spanish Nation: 1451-1504 (New York: G. P. Putnam’s Sons, 1915), 155-56.

Short Stories on Honor, Chivalry, and the World of Nobility—no. 269



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