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Important Figures

King Afonso V

King Afonso V

Following the premature death of his predecessor, Afonso V was proclaimed king.
Still a child, he was placed under the regency of his mother, Eleanor of Aragon and, later, his uncle the Infante Peter, Duke of Coimbra. He would eventually ascend the throne in 1449 after beating his uncle at the Battle of Alfarrobeira. Similar to previous reigns, the rule of Afonso V was characterised by itinerancy.

In Lisbon, the Royal Palace in the citadel, located at the top of the Castelo de São Jorge hill, was the main royal residence and Afonso V oversaw building works which improved and expanded the palace. The House of Lions (Casa dos Leões) was created, where two cats brought from Africa resided and remained until the reign of Manuel I, bestowing a little exoticism on the palace.

He also founded a royal library at the palace, which was gradually expanded by his successors, and provided new furniture for the Royal Archive (housed in the Torre do Tombo).

As a political centre, the palace hosted court assemblies and other important events in the kingdom. It was here in 1451 that the sumptuous wedding of Eleanor, sister of King Afonso V, and Frederick III, the Emperor of Germany, took place. The wedding festivities were described in detail by the groom’s ambassador, Nicolau Louckman Wolkenstein.

It was also in one of the palace’s chambers that the crown prince and future king of Portugal João II was born in 1455.

Joanna of Trastâmara lived in a wing of the palace until her death. This bride, dethroned and exiled from Castile, resided at the palace when it had already lost its status as the primary residence of the king.