Juana always remembered that she was a Princess of Spain, and she was the representative of her country in Flanders. With the untimely death of her brother Juan, who left no heirs, the succession of Spain passed to Isabella, now a pregnant Queen of Portugal. Isabella died giving birth to a son, who lived less than two years, and Juana was now heir to the Kingdom of Spain, one of the few where women could inherit.
At the age of twenty-three, pregnant with her fourth child, Juana travels to Spain with Philip to be sworn in as the heir. Philip, hungry for his power jure uxoris is upset at Juana being put before him in ceremonies and seating, as well as the excitement the Spanish people show at seeing her, abruptly leaves after just a few months, leaving Juana to give birth to their son Ferdinand alone.
Despite years of brutality at the hands of her husband, Juana is steadfast in not turning over her power to him or their son Charles, with Philip as regent. Philip bribes the Spanish lords and spreads tales of Juana being insane to undermine her position. As if years of being locked up, separated from her children, beaten, and often raped, wouldn't make a person a little crazy! Eventually Juana is betrayed by all that should protect her, husband, father, son, and even her childhood companion/servant are taken from her. Juana dies imprisoned by her son Charles I of Spain. Her refusal to abdicate her powers kept Aragon and Castile together as one Spanish kingdom, and paved the way for the greatness of Spain as a country of explorers and seamen.
I absolutely loved The Last Queen. I sympathized with Juana, a girl thinking she was going to grow up, marry and have children, read to them, play with them, and someday be a grandmother, but was instead separated from her six children before the eldest was even ten years old. She grew up admiring her mother and loving her father, and stood fast to her mother's strength while being betrayed by her father's jealousy.
I know you all want to read The Last Queen, now, so I am offering my gently-read copy as a giveaway! GIVEAWAY INSTRUCTIONS:
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- Giveaway will end Wednesday, February 24 at 11:59 PM EST