Queens Regent – Leonor Teles

leonor telles
(public domain)

A regent is “a person appointed to administer a state because the monarch is a minor, is absent or is incapacitated.”

Leonor Teles was born around 1350 as the daughter of Martim Afonso Telo de Meneses and Aldonça Anes de Vasconcelos. She was a descendant of King Sancho I of Portugal through an illegitimate line. Her first marriage was to João Lourenço da Cunha, 2nd Lord of Pombeiro, with whom she had a son, Álvaro, 3rd Lord of Pombeiro.

Her sister, Maria Telles was a lady-in-waiting to Beatrice of Portugal, the daughter of Peter I of Portugal and Inês de Castro and she met King Ferdinand of Portugal, Beatrice’s elder half-brother while visiting her sister at court. They fell in love, although her sister attempted to prevent an affair. Ferdinand had her first marriage annulled on the grounds of consanguinity, and he married Leonor on 5 May 1372 in secret. They had a daughter, also named Beatrice in 1373. When Ferdinand died in 1383, he made Leonor regent for their daughter. Leonor made herself unpopular as she assumed the regency with her lover, João Fernandes de Andeiro, 2nd Count of Ourém, also called “Conde Andeiro”, which angered the nobility. Beatrice was married at the age of ten to John I of Castile, which only seemed to anger them even more. Leonor’s lover was murdered after a successful revolt and Leonor fled the country. She appealed for help from the King of Castile, but the gathered army was forced to retreat after an outbreak of the plague.

A rebellion was led by John, an illegitimate son of Peter I of Portugal and he was proclaimed King in 1385. Beatrice never stopped calling herself Queen of Portugal, but she had no children to further her claim. Leonor was imprisoned in a convent in Tordesillas, where she died in 1386. 1

  1. Jackson, Guida M. (1999) Women rulers through the ages. An illustrated guide

About Moniek Bloks 2748 Articles
My name is Moniek and I am from the Netherlands. I began this website in 2013 because I wanted to share these women's amazing stories.

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