Constanza Manuel was born in 1316 as the daughter of Juan Manuel, Prince of Villena and Duke of Peñafiel and Constance of Aragon, a daughter of James II of Aragon. Still only a child she married Alfonso XI of Castile on 28 November 1325. She was Queen for just two short years. Alfonso dissolved the marriage and quickly remarried to Maria of Portugal. The reasons for this are a bit unclear. Perhaps it was due to her age as the marriage was not consummated.
Alfonso had her imprisoned in a castle in Toro, and as her father’s request for her back was denied, he began to wage war on Alfonso until 1329. They finally reached an agreement with the help of the Bishop of Oviedo and Constanza was at last released from her prison.
Maria of Portugal was perhaps no better off. When her father Afonso IV of Portugal learned her mistreatment, he was only too happy to enter into an alliance with Juan Manuel. Thus on 24 August 1339, Constance was married yet again, this time to Afonso IV’s son and heir, the future Peter I of Portugal. One of her ladies-in-waiting was Inês de Castro. Peter fell in love with Inês, and they had an affair that lasted until Constance’s death in 1345.
Constance died just weeks after giving birth to her third child, the future Ferdinand I of Portugal. It was a tragic death for someone who had already known so much misery. Inês was later murdered on the orders of her father-in-law and was posthumously recognised as Queen. Her husband Peter finally became King of Portugal 12 years after her death.