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Royal Sarcophagi

in the

Cistercian Royal Abbey & Nunnery of Santa Maria la Real de Las Huelgas, Burgos


Founded 1187 by Queen Leonora (Plantagenet)


Link to other Cistercian Nunnery of Santa Maria la Real de Las Huelgas, Burgos pages


Some other memorable tombs in Spain and Portugal



Very much a Royal Cistercian Abbey / Nunnery, as time went by Santa Maria la Real de Las Huelgas in Burgos became a royal pantheon littered with sarcophagi.  Some 60 of these belonged to members of the royal families of Castile and Len (mostly), including 11 Kings, a Queen and several Queen Consorts. 


In addition there were numerous lesser (but wealthy) mortals - not to mention the Abbesses whose crosiers decorated their sarcophagi and sepulchral plates in the Chapter House (in the manner still evident at Canas).  Sadly most of these artefacts did not survive the ravages of Napoleon et al ... here are some of those that did .....



Above: The tomb of Queen Leonora (Eleanor Plantagenet Jr - No 21 below)) (1160 - 1214 (54)), daughter of Eleanor of Aquitaine and founder of the Abbey,  beside that of her husband, King Alfonso VIII (1156 - 1214 (58)) of Castile.  Leonora had around 11 children of whom 5 survived childhood to become a King, a Queen and 3 Queen Consorts.


The chart below is part of a Royal Family Tree in the official guide to the Abbey.  The blue boxes (there are 12 in the complete tree) are Kings and Queens in their own right (as opposed to Queen Consorts) who were buried in the Abbey, with numbers indicating the location of their tombs (if known).






Ferdinand III and Beatrice also had a son called Felipe (1229  - 1274 (45)), who was Alfonso's younger brother.  Filipe was a Knight Templar and the magnificent painted tombs of him and his wife Doa Leonor Ruiz de Castro y Pimental are to be found in the Templar church of Santa Maria la Blanca de Villasirga.

Alfonso and Eleanor also had a daughter called Blanche (1188 - 1252 (64)) who married French King Louis VIII ("The Lion" and subduer of Cathars), and paid for the North Rose window of Chartres Cathedral.



Above - The tomb of Dona Blanca of Portugal - the odd "drowning" look of the pedestal lions is caused by the existence of a very old looking raised false floor.



Above and Below:  The tomb of Dona Berenguela (with Magi, shepherds, nativity etc) - daughter of Ferdinand III ("The Saint") and herself a nun.  Ferdinand was also buried at the Abbey, as was his son (and Berenguela's brother) Alfonso X, though their sarcophagi have disappeared.  The sarcophagus of another sibling - Sancho - is shown lower on this page.


Above and Below:  Tomb of Don Alfonso de la Cerda in the North aisle of the Abbey Church (called Saint Catherine's Aisle) - the beautiful wide polished floor boards are a rare survival from medieval times.  And one is allowed to walk on them!






Above:  The child tomb of Leonor, daughter of Leonora and Alfonso VIII


Below:  Tomb of Sancho, son of Ferdinand III "the Saint" and brother of Alfonso X (who were also buried at the Abbey, though their sarcophagi and remains have disappeared).  The impressive sarcophagus of Sancho's sister Berenguela is shown towards the top of this page.



 Cistercian Abbey / Nunnery of Santa Maria la Real de Las Huelgas, Burgos





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