For a woman who was never supposed to rule, she did a mighty job of it. Isabella not only took the crown, but she also fought to keep it and when it was placed permanently on her head–she rewrote the rules of how her country was run and became the most powerful ruler of her day.

Whoa. That story is going to take two episodes to cover!

Ysabel (we American it to “Isabella” but strongly encourage the original spelling for babies and pets) was born in April of 1451, the eldest of two children of King Juan II of Castile and his second wife, Isabella of Portugal, Queen of Castile. Oh, yes, it’s one of those stories where everyone has the same name…it may even top the list of subjects that we’ve covered! She had an older half-brother, Enrique, who was being prepped to step into Papa’s shoes.

He didn’t have to wait long.

When Isabella was barely out of royal nappies her brother Alfonso was born…and then her father died. She was raised in a fairly drama-free environment away from Enrique’s court,  but when King Enrique IV hauled her back when his wife, Juana, gave birth to his heir, Juana (we warned you) Isabella’s life changed.

Years of civil unrest followed as the fine folks of Castile determined who the next ruler was to be and when her brother Alfonso mysterious died, Isabella was his heir. Was Juana really a blood relation to the king? Probably not. Was Isabella the rightful heir? Maybe but when she ran off to marry the prince of her choosing, the king ended that plan. Back and forth for years until she was 22; the king died and she just took that crown for herself.

Herself. Not her and her husband, then King Ferdinand of Aragon, herself.

She began her rule by changing how her country was run, then looked to the citizens themselves and decided more sweeping changes needed to occur.

We’ll tell you the rest of the story next time.

Time Travel with The History Chicks

All media, our normal version of time travel, will be on the shownotes for the next episode, however, if you think you might like to LITERALLY travel with us, we’re taking a field trip to London next June and would love for you to join us! Give a click to this link for more information!

Click to get more information on this once-in-a-lifetime adventure!

This episode is sponsored, in part, by you when you support these companies:

Daily Harvest,  use promo code HISTORYCHICKS at to get $25.00 off your first box of  grab-and-go meals or snack cups

and by

ThirdLove, visit to find your perfect fitting bra and get $15% off your first purchase


Break music, Dream of Spain by Minstral Spirit; end music was La Vita Fugge by the Chambure Vihuela Quartet.  Both songs used with permission from iLicense.