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The Tragic Love of Pedro and Ines

When Constanza of Castile was presented to Pedro I before they were to be married, Pedro noticed a beautiful women among the ladies-in-waiting, one Inês de Castro. Despite his marriage to Constanza, a marriage of convenience demanded by his father, Alfonso IV, to strengthen relations with powerful Castile, Pedro I fell helplessly in love with the beautiful Inês. Before long they became lovers. Seeing the liaison as a threat to his design on Castile, Alfonso had Inês exiled from the Court. Constanza died in 1345 while giving birth to a third son, Pedro finally believed he was free to pursue his true love, and secretly wed Inês de Coimbra. Alfonso IV was furious and, taking advantage of his son's absence in 1355, he had the supposed usurper assassinated. Pedro returned and, in a fit of sorrow, swore revenge. Three years later, immediately following his father's death, Pedro I ascended the throne. These three years of silence had only heightened his sorrow and desire for vengeance. So much so that in 1357, shortly after his coronation, he ordered the arrest of the murderers. Before being condemned to the stake their hearts cut out under Pedro's orders. Some say Pedro even witnessed the scene, whence his nickname, the "Cruel King". It was not until 1361, however, that he finally achieved the ultimate revenge. He ordered the exhumation of Inês body and called the whole Court to come and pay homage to the new queen. Inês's decomposing body was thus placed on the throne and each noble was ordered to kiss her hand as a sign of submission. The body was then transported to Alcobaça and placed in a stone tomb that can still be seen today.