Joanna, Princess of Portugal

Blessed Joan of Portugal (6 February 1452 – 12 May 1490; Portuguese: Santa Joana Princesa, Portuguese pronunciation: [ˈsɐ̃tɐ ʒuˈɐnɐ pɾĩˈsezɐ]) 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.

Blessed Joan
Princess of Portugal
Santa Joana, Princesa de Portugal
Born6 February 1452
Lisbon, Portugal
Died12 May 1490 (aged 38)
Aveiro, Portugal
Convent of Jesus in Aveiro
FatherAfonso V of Portugal
MotherIsabel of Coimbra
ReligionRoman Catholicism

Early life

Retrato da Princesa Santa Joana com o Menino - Joao Baptista Pachim
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.

Manuel Ferreira e Sousa's paintings of Princess Saint Joan of Portugal were highly contracted from the 1720s to the 1740s.

Visita de D. João II de Joana Santa Princesa - Manuel Ferreira e Sousa
Despedida da Infanta D. Joana de D. Afonso V e D. João II
Encontro de D. João II com Santa Joana - Manuel Ferreira e Sousa
Encontro de D. Joao II com Santa Joana em Alcobaca - Manuel Ferreira e Sousa
Chegada de D. Afonso V de Arzila, conversando com a filha - Manuel Ferreira e Sousa
Oferta do retrato de Santa Joana ao rei francês - Manuel Ferreira e Sousa


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


 This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainHerbermann, Charles, ed. (1913). "Bl. Joanna of Portugal" . Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton.

External links

Media related to Joan, Princess of Portugal at Wikimedia Commons

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)

Year 1452 (MCDLII) was a leap year starting on Saturday (link will display the full calendar) of the Julian calendar.

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Ancestors of Joanna, Princess of Portugal
16. Peter I of Portugal
8. John I of Portugal
17. Teresa Lourenço
4. Edward I of Portugal
18. John of Gaunt, 1st Duke of Lancaster
9. Philippa of Lancaster
19. Blanche of Lancaster
2. Afonso V of Portugal
20. John I of Castile
10. Ferdinand I of Aragon
21. Eleanor of Aragon
5. Eleanor of Aragon
22. Sancho Alfonso, 1st Count of Alburquerque
11. Eleanor of Alburquerque
23. Beatrice of Portugal
1. Joanna of Portugal
24. Peter I of Portugal (= 16)
12. John I of Portugal (= 8)
25. Teresa Lourenço (= 17)
6. Peter, Duke of Coimbra
26. John of Gaunt, 1st Duke of Lancaster (= 18)
13. Philippa of Lancaster (= 9)
27. Blanche of Lancaster (= 19)
3. Isabel of Coimbra
28. Peter II, Count of Urgell
14. James II, Count of Urgell
29. Margaret Palaiologina
7. Isabella of Urgell
30. Peter IV of Aragon
15. Isabella of Aragon
31. Sibila of Fortià

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