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|María de Molina|
|Queen consort of Castile and León|
|Lady of Molina|
|Predecessor||Blanca Alfonso of Molina|
|Successor||Alfonso XI of Castile|
1 July 1321|
|Burial||Santa María la Real de las Huelgas (Valladolid)|
|Spouse||Sancho IV of Castile|
Isabella, Queen of Aragon|
Ferdinand IV, King of Castile
Beatrice, Queen of Portugal
|House||Castilian House of Ivrea|
|Father||Alfonso of Molina|
|Mother||Mayor Alfonso de Meneses|
María Alfonso Téllez de Meneses (c. 1265 – 1321), known as María de Molina, was queen consort of Castile and León from 1284 to 1295 by marriage to Sancho IV of Castile, and served as regent for her minor son Ferdinand IV (1295 - c.1301) and later her grandson Alfonso XI of Castile (1312-1321).
She married her second cousin Sancho IV of Castile in 1282, the second son of Alfonso X the Learned, although the matrimonial dispensation for kinship was not previously granted. Upon the death of Alfonso X, she became queen consort of Castile and León and was crowned alongside her husband in the cathedral of Toledo. Although the couple was pressured to separate by Rome and others, Sancho chose to honor his wife and delegated many responsibilities to her, including the regency of their son after his death. His reign was short since he died in 1295.
After the death of Sancho IV, he was succeeded by their eldest son Ferdinand IV, who was under age. Though according to the Crónica de Sancho IV, Sancho designated María as the sole regent, she was forced to share the regency with Sancho's uncle, Henry the Senator, younger brother of Alfonso X. Ferdinand's rule was challenged by a coalition that included his uncle, John, his cousins the infantes de la Cerda, sons of the infante Ferdinand de la Cerda, eldest son of Alfonso X, as well as King James II of Aragón and King Denis of Portugal.
Through marriage alliances, gifts of territories, and shrewd politics María was able to lead Ferdinand's cause to victory, though it did not come easily. María built her own coalition, relying on the Castilian Cortes to confirm her authority and playing the powerful family clan of Haro against the Lara clan, who supported the opposition. Civil war continued for several years, and María's coregent Henry was often more of an antagonist than a defender of his great-nephew's cause.
Around 1300 the alliance against Ferdinand began to crumble when one of his principal enemies, Juan Núñez de Lara, was captured and later reconciled to the young king. Portugal returned to allegiance with Ferdinand with the promise of a marriage between the Portuguese princess Constance and the young king of Castile. María's victory for her son seemed sealed in 1301, when she finally received a papal bull from Pope Boniface VIII, legitimizing her marriage and her children. Eventually, only Aragon was left to support the claim of Alfonso de la Cerda and his brother, which was finally set aside in a treaty between Castile and Aragon a few years later.
Upon the death of her son in 1312, he was succeeded by his son, the grandson of Maria. As the new king was a minor, a regency would be needed during his minority. Maria became regent of Castile for a second term, now as guardian regent for her minor grandson.
María de Molina died in Valladolid in 1321.
|Ancestors of María de Molina|
Violant of Aragon
| Queen consort of Castile and León
Title next held byConstance of Portugal
Blanca Alfonso of Molina
| Lady of Molina
Alfonso XI of Castile