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Joanna, Princess of Portugal

Blessed Joan
Princess of Portugal
Born (1452-02-06)6 February 1452
Lisbon, Portugal
Died 12 May 1490(1490-05-12) (aged 38)
Aveiro, Portugal
Burial Convent of Jesus in Aveiro
House House of Aviz
Father Afonso V of Portugal
Mother Isabella of Coimbra

Blessed Joan of Portugal (6 February 1452 – 12 May 1490; Portuguese: Santa Joana Princesa, Portuguese pronunciation: ), was a Portuguese saint, Regent and princess of the House of Aviz, daughter of King Afonso V of Portugal and his first wife Isabella of Coimbra.


  • Early life 1
  • Marriage Proposals 2
  • Late Life 3
  • Revival 4
  • Ancestry 5
  • Notes 6
  • Sources 7
  • External links 8

Early life

Princess Saint Joan with the Infant Jesus; by Joao Baptista Pachim, 18th century

Joanna was the second child of Afonso, but after the early death of her older brother John she was recognized as heir presumptive and given the title of Princess of Portugal. Other children of the king were infantes. Upon the birth of her younger brother, the future John II of Portugal, she ceased to be heir presumptive, but among the people she continued to be known as Princess Joan.

From a young age, Joan expressed a desire to become a nun; however, as she was second-in-line to the throne, her father did not allow it.[1] During his military expedition to Tangier in 1471, Joan served as Regent of the Portuguese Kingdom.

Marriage Proposals

After vehemently refusing several proposals of marriage, Joan joined the Dominican Convent of Jesus in Aveiro in 1475.[1] Her brother had, by then, been given an heir, so the family line was no longer in danger of extinction. Still, she was compelled several times to leave the convent and return to the court. She turned down an offer of marriage from Charles VIII of France, 18 years her junior. In 1485, she received another offer, from the recently widowed Richard III of England, who was only 8 months younger. This was to be part of a double marital alliance, with his niece Elizabeth of York marrying her cousin, the future Manuel I. However, his death in battle, of which Joan allegedly had a prophetic dream, halted these plans.

Late Life

She continued to be a great supporter of her brother, John II of Portugal, throughout his reign and her life.

Joan died on 12 May 1490 in Aveiro and was buried in the Convent of Jesus in Aveiro. She was beatified in 1693 by Pope Innocent XII. Although she has not been canonized, in Portugal she is known as the Princess Saint Joan.


In the early 18th century, the Portuguese nobility, clergy, and court had a revival in interest in the princess. During this time, the Portuguese artist Manuel Ferreira e Sousa was the most famous artist in this revival. He was contracted by various religious institutions, noblemen, and even the royal family to paint scenes from her life.



  1. ^ a b Capes, Florence. "Blessed Joanna of Portugal." The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 8. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1910. 25 Jul. 2014


Joanna, Princess of Portugal
Cadet branch of the House of Burgundy
Born: 6 February 1452 Died: 12 May 1490
Preceded by
Princess of Portugal
Succeeded by
John (future John II)

Media related to at Wikimedia Commons

External links

  • Dominican Martyrology: May 12
  • The Portuguese Princess's Dream, Richard III Society - American Branch Web Site. Richard III Society. Retrieved 2010-02-26.


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