Portrait of Luisa de Guzmán (1613-1666), Duchess of Braganza (1633), Queen consort of Portugal (1640-1656). Regent of Portugal (1656-1662)
Luisa María Francisca de Guzmán y Sandoval (Portuguese: Luísa Maria Francisca de Gusmão; 13 October 1613 – 27 February 1666) was a queen consort of Portugal. She was the spouse of King John IV, the first Braganza ruler, as well as the mother of two kings of Portugal (Afonso VI and Peter II) and a queen of England (Catherine of Braganza). She served as regent of Portugal de jure from 1656 until 1662, and de facto until her death in 1666. Luisa was Spanish by birth, the daughter of Juan Manuel Pérez de Guzmán, 8th Duke of Medina Sidonia, and Juana Lorenza Gomez de Sandoval y la Cerda. Her paternal grandfather was the renowned Alonso de Guzmán, "El Bueno". She married a high ranking Portuguese noble John, 8th Duke of Braganza in 1633, during the period of the Iberian Union. Despite her Spanish roots, the ambitious, willful and ruthless Luisa guided her husband's policies during the Portuguese revolution against Habsburg Spain of 1640. She is considered the main influence behind his acceptance of the Portuguese throne when the Revolution seemed to tend to the Portuguese side. It is said that being warned of the dangers of becoming queen of a country that was to face Spain's might she pronounced the famous words: "Rather Queen for a day than Duchess all my life". When she was made aware of a failed attempt to murder the King in 1641, she is said to have been one of the members of the Corte, which supported the execution of nobles like the Duke of Caminha. Regency: In 1656, she was named Regent of the Kingdom after her husband's death and during the minority of her son Afonso VI. She continued to occupy the post even after Afonso became an adult in 1662, because her son was mentally unstable. She was the target of a failed conspiracy headed by Luís de Vasconcelos e Sousa, Count of Castelo Melhor. She defended the principles of freedom and independence of Portugal and controlled the government with a strong hand, fearing her eldest son was incapable and hoping that eventually her youngest son would take the crown. Luisa was politically astute and mainly responsible for the diplomatic success of the new alliance with England. Her daughter Catherine married Charles II of England. She is also credited with the organization of the armies that in the following years would completely ensure Portuguese independence through the victories in the Portuguese Restoration War.
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