Alfonso of Aragon - Marriage

Marriage

"He was the most beautiful youth that I have ever seen in Rome" - The chronicler Talini

In order to strengthen ties with Naples, Pope Alexander VI arranged marriages between the House of Borgia and the royal family of Aragon. Alfonso's sister Sancha of Aragon was already given to the Pope's youngest son Gioffre Borgia in 1494. His idea was for his son Cesare Borgia to marry Carlotta of Naples, legitimate daughter of the newly crowned King Frederick IV of Naples, but Carlotta would not agree to marry him. To appease the Pope, King Frederick eventually consented to a match between the Pope's daughter Lucrezia Borgia, aged 18, and the 17-year-old Alfonso of Aragon.

On 15 July 1498 Alfonso entered Rome in disguise. Alfonso and Lucrezia were married in the Vatican on July 21, the celebrations were held behind close doors. With Alfonso came the princely cities of Salerno, Quadrata and Bisceglie. Lucrezia brought with her a dowry of 40,000 ducats. It was part of the agreement that they would remain in Rome for at least one year and not be forced to live permanently at the Kingdom of Naples until her father's death. According to Gregorovius, "the youthful Alfonso was fair and amiable", "the handsomest young man ever seen in the Imperial city." It's written that by all evidence Lucrezia was really fond of him. In February 1499, it's reported that Lucrezia slit down and lost her first baby from Alfonso. However, she was soon pregnant again.

When foreign affairs changed, Pope Alexander VI looked to align with France, enemy of Alfonso's family. To this end he arranged a marriage between Cesare Borgia and Charlotte of Albret, sister of King John III of Navarre. Alfonso sensed betrayal when French planned to invade Naples and on 2 August 1499 left Rome without his wife, six months pregnant. His flight incensed the Pope who sent troops after him but failed to find him in hiding. Meanwhile Lucrezia was awarded the governorship of Spoleto and Foligno, meaning that Alfonso was a non-functioning consort. Eventually Alfonso was intercepted through letters for his wife in an attempt to persuade her to reach him in Genazzano. Therefore her family ordered her to lure Alfonso in Rome. Lucrezia met up with her husband in Nepi then they returned to the Vatican in September 1499. On the night between October 31 and November 1, Lucrezia gave birth to their son, who was christened Rodrigo after her father.

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