It’s Just A Flesh Wound

March 1, 2011

Juana of Castile

One of the most iconic images of Queen Juana of Castile, known to history as la Loca, or the Mad, is of her standing over a coffin, black veils blowing in the wind as she reaches out a long, trembling hand to open the lid. About her, the courtiers of her retinue look on in silent horror, powerless to stop the demented queen from gazing in disconsolation upon her husband’s shrouded corpse. The coffin, brought with her from the northern city of Burgos, has crossed most of Castile with her and will remain by her side until her own death nearly fifty years later in the castle of Tordesillas. In death Juana has found the devotion she never had in life and the devastation of her loss mingles with irrational relief that no other woman will ever compete for her husband’s affections again, that Philip of Habsburg is finally hers forever.  (Read more at Mad Monarchs)


Image Credit: Susan Fenton

She walks these hills in a long black veil 
She visits my grave where the night winds wail 
Nobody knows, no, and nobody sees 
Nobody knows but me

The sky froze high and eternity neared 
She stood in the crowd and shed not a tear 
But sometimes at night when the cold wind moans 
In a long black veil she cries over my




  1. We wouldn’t think twice about it if he had been cremated and she carted his ashes around for the rest of her life, eh? It’s the unwillingness to part with a decomposing body that we take as evidence of her madness.

  2. Very true.

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