King DuarteKING DUARTE
11th Monarch of Portugal. Born in Viseu, October 31, 1391, and died in Tomar, September 9, 1438.
He was the son of King João I and Queen Filipa de Lencastre (Philippa of Lancaster).
He was crowned king in Leiria, in 1433.
Despite his reign being short, he decreed the Mental Law (a ‘Lei Mental’) – a measure towards centralisation in order to defend the spoils of the crown.
He became involved in government while his father was still alive. In 1412, King João I officialised his association with the governance and included him in its administration.
He was a cultured man with love of letters, owning a library filled with classical authors and thinkers of the Church, as his book The Loyal Counsellor shows.
He also wrote The Art of Riding on Every Saddle.
His reign was marked by the Tangier campaign of October 1437, which resulted in failure and a great defeat for the Portuguese forces.
The consequence of this defeat was having to leave the Infante Fernando as a hostage while Henrique came to Lisbon to present the Moroccans’ terms for a treaty: Portugal handing back Ceuta in exchange for the life of the Infante. As this exchange never took place, the latter earned the name of the Saint Prince, after he died in captivity.
Duarte married Leonor (Eleanor) of Aragon in Coimbra on September 22, 1428 and they had 9 children:
João, in 1429 (who died young)
Filipa, in 1430 (who died young)
Afonso, in 1432 (his father’s successor)
Maria, in 1432 (who died the same year)
Fernando, in 1433 (Duke of Viseu, father of Manuel I)
Leonor, in 1434 (who married Frederick III, Holy Roman Emperor)
Duarte, in 1435 (who died the same year)
Catarina, in 1436 (who died young)
Joana, in 1439 (who married Henry IV of Castile, mother of Joana A Beltraneja [a mocking reference to her assumed real father] or the Excellent)
Duarte had one further child resulting from a previous union with Joana Manoel de Vilhena, a noblewoman of Spanish descent:
João Manoel, in 1420 (who died young)
He decided to build his own Pantheon at the Monastery of Batalha and it is there that his mortal remains are laid to rest, beside those of his wife. The space is known today as the Unfinished Chapels, being an arrangement of seven chapels destined for King Duarte and his lineage, which, however, were never finished.
He earned the name of The Eloquent, due to his writings, and the motto Léauté Faray Tã ya Serey was also his.