Portrait by Anthonis Mor, 1552
|Queen consort of Portugal|
|Tenure||10 February 1525 - 11 June 1557|
|Born||14 January 1507|
Crown of Castile
|Died||12 February 1578 (aged 71)|
Ribeira Palace, Lisbon,
Kingdom of Portugal
(m. 1525; died 1557)
|Maria Manuela, Princess of Asturias|
João Manuel, Prince of Portugal
|Father||Philip I of Castile|
|Mother||Joanna I of Castile|
Catherine of Austria (Portuguese: Catarina; 14 January 1507 - 12 February 1578) was Queen of Portugal as wife of King John III, and regent during the minority of her grandson, King Sebastian, from 1557 until 1562.
An Infanta of Castile and Archduchess of Austria, Catherine was the posthumous daughter of King Philip I by Queen Joanna of Castile. Catherine was born in Torquemada and named in honor of her maternal aunt, Catherine of Aragon. She remained with her mentally unstable mother until her eldest siblings, Eleanor and the future Emperor Charles V, arrived in Spain, coming from Flanders.
All of her five older siblings, except Ferdinand, were born in the Low Countries and had been put into the care of their aunt Margaret of Austria, but Joanna kept hold of young Catherine. Catherine actually stayed with her mother during imprisonment at Tordesillas during her grandfather Ferdinand of Aragon's time as regent. When the time came for her to marry, Catherine was released from the custody that her mother was to endure until her death.
On 10 February 1525, Catherine married her first cousin, King John III of Portugal. They had nine children, but only two survived early childhood.
Catherine was very concerned about the education of her family, accumulating a substantial library and establishing a kind of salon in the court. She brought a number of women scholars into her household, including the humanists Joana Vaz and Públia Hortênsia de Castro, and the poet Luisa Sigea de Velasco. Vaz was responsible for tutoring Catherine's daughter, Princess Maria, as well as Catherine's niece, also called Maria, and a scholar in her own right.
After the death of her husband in 1557, she was challenged by her daughter-in-law and niece, Joan of Austria, over the role of regent for her grandchild, the infant King Sebastian. Mediation by Charles V resolved the issue in favour of his sister Catherine over his daughter Joan, who was needed in Spain in the absence of Philip II.
She then served as the regent of Portugal from 1557 until 1562. In 1562, she turned over the regency to Henry of Portugal.
Catherine had one of the earliest and finest Chinese porcelain collections in Europe due to her position as both the youngest sister of Emperor Charles V and the Queen of Portugal. "She acquired quantities of porcelain and exotica from Asia, which arrived regularly in Lisbon for the decoration of the Lisbon royal palace as well as for her personal use, and which served as emblems of her power. Her collection became the first kunstkammer on the Iberian Peninsula." She was following a tradition established earlier by the Portuguese King Manuel I of Portugal who had purchased porcelain for his wife, Maria of Castile (1482-1517), who was Catherine's aunt. Between 1511 and 1514, the 'Treasurer of the Spices' in Lisbon "registered a total of 692 pieces of porcelain and other exotic goods" bought on his behalf for Maria of Castile, who was then King Manuel's second wife. Amongst other 'exotica' in Catherine's collection were fossilised sharks' teeth, a snake's head encased in gold, heart-shaped jasper stones to stop bleeding, a coral branch used as a protector against evil spirits, bezoar stones, a unicorn's horn (a narwhal tusk) and piles of loose gems and stones such as rubies, emeralds, and diamonds.
|With John III, King of Portugal (married 10 February 1525)|
|Prince Afonso||24 February 1526||12 April 1526||Prince of Portugal (1526).|
|Princess Maria||15 October 1527||12 July 1545||Princess of Portugal (1527-1531). First wife of King Philip II of Spain. She had one child, Don Carlos, and died four days after his birth.|
|Infanta Isabella||28 April 1529||22 May 1530|
|Infanta Beatrice||15 February 1530||16 March 1530|
|Prince Manuel||1 November 1531||14 April 1537||Prince of Portugal (1531-1537). Declared heir in 1531.|
|Prince Philip||25 March 1533||29 April 1539||Prince of Portugal (1537-1539). Declared heir in 1537.|
|Infante Denis||6 April 1535||1 January 1537|
|Prince John Manuel||3 June 1537||2 January 1554||Prince of Portugal (1539-1554). Declared heir in 1539. Married Joan of Spain.|
Their son Sebastian became king.
|Infante Anthony||9 March 1539||20 January 1540|
Catherine has no descendants today, as both her grandchildren died childless. Her line of descent became extinct within six months of her death, as the only descendant of hers that survived her, King Sebastian of Portugal, died in August 1578.
|Ancestors of Catherine of Austria|
Eleanor of Austria
| Queen consort of Portugal
10 February 1525 - 11 June 1557
Anna of Austria
| Regent of Portugal and the Algarves