The loves of Emperor Charles V with his grandmother Germana

One of his grandfather’s last wishes was to take care of his young wife Germana de Foix


On the death of Ferdinand I the Catholic, the grandfather of the future Emperor Charles V of Germany, he took over the care of his young wife, Germana de Foix. However, the emperor took the care of the young widow very seriously.

It is well known that Ferdinand, the future King of Romans, was the favourite grandson of King Ferdinand I the Catholic. Besides being born in Spain, unlike Charles, there was a great deal of complicity between the two. But when Charles arrived in Spain and became King of Castile, that king asked him to take care of his young wife, Germana de Foix, when she died. Charles gave him his promise that this would be the case.

And so it was.

At that time, Charles was 18 years old and Germana 29; and, far from the obesity that made his last years bitter, she was an attractive woman for her age at that time. And what could happen was that Charles fell in love with his step-grandmother.

The tournaments and banquets that Charles ordered to be held in honour of Germana were the result of the infatuation that completely overwhelmed him. «And it was no wonder, because nothing is impossible for people in love«, wrote Laurent Vital on the subject.

As soon as he arrived in Valladolid, Charles established his residence as close as possible to the place where Germana lived – in this case, in the Royal Palace of that city; the chronicles even tell us that he ordered a wooden bridge to be built to join the palace with the place of residence of Germana de Foix «so that the King and his sister could go dry and more covertly to see the happy queen«, as Vital tells us. This bridge was used by both of them indistinctly, since «And the Queen’s happiness would also go to the King’s palace…«, that historian assures us.

Finally, it only remains to emphasise that the result of Charles’ great concern for Germana de Foix was a child and her name was Isabel, as is recorded in the will of Germana de Foix in the Simancas Archives. It states that she bequeathed that jewel, a necklace of 133 thick pearls, «to the most serene Doña Isabel, Infanta of Castile, daughter of his majesty the Emperor, my lord and son».

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