Germaine of Foix’s illegitimate daughter – Isabel of Castile




germaine foix
Portrait of Germaine of Foix (1490-1538) (public domain)

Germaine of Foix was born circa 1488 to John of Foix, Viscount of Narbonne and Marie of Orléans. Germaine married Ferdinand II of Aragon after the death of his first wife Isabel of Castile, in an attempt to have a male heir to precede his heiress Joanna in the line of succession for Aragon. Joanna had already inherited Castile from her mother. Germaine was just 18 years old while Ferdinand was 54. They married on 22 March 1505. They had a single son, John, Prince of Girona who was born on 3 May 1509 and died the same day. They would not have another child.

Ferdinand’s health had been worsening for two years when he finally died in 1516. Germaine was now a widow at the age of 29. Ferdinand had asked his grandson Charles not to abandon her. Charles arrived from Flanders in 1517 to take up the reigns, while his mother was still confined for her ‘madness’. He was 17 years old and apparently quite liked his 29-year-old step-grandmother. Germaine had joined his court, and several tournaments and banquets were held in her honour. In 1519 Germaine gave birth to a daughter named Isabel, who is widely attributed to Charles. Isabel was apparently raised at court but was never officially recognised.

Germaine left her daughter a pearl necklace in her will ‘the best she has’ and also refers to her as ‘infanta’ and ‘daughter of his majesty’. It appears that this Isabel died in 1537 at the age of just 18 in Perpignan and there is not much more information.

Despite the apparent affection between them, Charles arranged for Germaine to marry Margrave Johann of Brandenburg-Ansbach and she and Charles travelled to Germany for her marriage. The couple was appointed as viceroys of Valencia. Johann died in 1526 and Germaine married for a third time to Ferdinand of Aragón, Duke of Calabria, who was a son of Frederick IV of Naples. They continued as Viceroys of Valencia. Germaine would have no further children and died in Liria in 1538. She is interred in the Monastery of San Miguel de los Reyes.






About Moniek 1502 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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