A Retelling: The Coronation of Inês de Castro

A haunting retelling of the Coronation of Portugal’s first and only posthumous Queen.

Cold air seeped in through the cracks of the stone walls. The thin blanket around my body couldn’t provide enough heat to stop my shaking. 

My eyes have been wide open staring at the ceiling for so long that I can’t recall the last time I had blinked. I want to close my eyes and wake up in the morning as if nothing has happened. As if nothing is going to happen. I get up and light the candle on my desk. I carefully take out a piece of paper and a pen. I begin to write.

It’s a dark night and strange night. The air feels like it’s trying to tell me something but I don’t know what. Maybe it’s trying to warn me of the horrors I’m awaiting. Ever since that fateful day our King hasn’t known peace and neither have we. A darkness unlike anything has suffocated this castle. I’m a humble servant but tonight I am a guest.Tonight is a very special night for King Pedro. It’s the moment that he has been waiting for a very long time. Tonight is th

I’m torn from my thoughts as I hear music in the distance. Slowly the bell tolls harshly. I quickly blow out my candle, take one deep breath, and open the door to my room. There are guards directing us throughout the halls. I don’t want to continue walking but I know what will happen to me if I stop, protest, or if I didn’t leave my room.

We enter a dimly lit room and as I look forward that is when I see her. Sitting high above us on a gold throne covered in royal robes and jewels. We all watch in awe as the shining gold crown is placed upon her head. Everything feels wrong. The air feels suffocating as if there isn’t enough for all of us. Then King Pedro steps forwards towards her and gently places his lips onto her hand. This woman is his queen, she is our Queen. 

We file into a long line. My heart quickens the closer I get towards her throne. I see the faces of those returning from kissing the blessed hand of our Queen. They stare off into nothingness. I realize that I’m next. I kneel before my Queen and slowly lower my lips towards her hand. I can’t look at her. I place a quick kiss on the back of her hand, my lips barely brush against her skin but I still feel the shocking cold of her skin. As I stand I catch a glimpse of her face.

I want to rub my lips with the back of my sleeve but I’m afraid. King Pedro stands next to his Queen. He’s not looking directly at her face either. He looks unwell but that is not surprising. Not since his love was taken from him by the orders of his own father. From a far I could see how pretty she was. How beautiful her robes, jewels, and the crown complement her. He ordered only the best of everything to be given to her as she had deserved. 

The King covers his face with his robe as the Queen is returned to her place of rest. I feel an overwhelming sensation of sadness all of a sudden. Watching my King, our fearless leader cry over her tomb, I begin to understand his love. I cannot help but feel sickened by this entire night. No one deserved any of this.

It’s now dawn when I return back to my room. I sit at my desk under the pale light of the rising sun. My paper and pen are still lying exactly where I had left them. I continue to write.

Tonight is the coronation of our Queen. Her skin is pale and cold. Upon her dark hair sits the glimmering gold crown she has been waiting for this entire time. Her robes and jewels fall naturally on her body that is positioned uncomfortably straight. A face void of any life and a body dressed up like a doll. She is Queen Inês de Castro and this is all of the anger, pain, love, revenge, and insanity of King Pedro. 


(Read the original poem here)

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