The deceased King of Castile left his son with a kingdom and a whole host of problems. The young Pedro had taken the advice of his father’s trusted chief minister, Juan de Alonso de Albuquerque but the relationship was becoming strained. Albuququerque had been for caution in dealing with the ambitious Garcia Laso de Vego.
Vego had been talking loudly in Court about the claims of Pedro’s brothers. The taint of illegitimacy stopped them claiming the kingdom in Pedro’s eyes but not Vego’s. Pedro hurriedly organised a state function in Burgos to smoke out the conspirators. The King was not one for courtly etiquette, in full view of his ‘brothers’, Pedro exclaimed ” Kill him!” and the unfortunate Vego’s plotting ended there.
Albuquerque now proceeded to make his second mistake. The minister had always favoured an alliance with Castile’s Northern neighbour, France. Blanche of Bourbon was proposed as a suitable match for Pedro but he was already smitten by a Castilian beauty. Albuquerque wasn’t one to hide his dismay and dissent could only be dealt with one way in Pedro’s Castile. Gathering a smattering of nobles, Albuquerque fled to his possessions in Portugal. The young king was not going to be stopped by a line on a map, he followed swiftly with his army.
The Portuguese army deployed on a plain besides a border crossing. The old minister was tired of running and saw his advantage in rebel knights . Distaining the usual tactics of dismounted combat that his Portuguese vassals favoured, Albuquerque’s host waited on their steeds.
The Kings army moved forward slowly. Pedro was confident about his left wing and centre but his light troops would be facing almoghavars.
Pedro’s hope lay in a swift victory in the centre. Castilian jinetes formed in a deep column to attack the rebel mercenary light horse. The spearmen forced the rebels to retire on the Castilian left and this meant that the flank of the rebel knightly centre was exposed.
Before the Portuguese almughavars could reach their opponents on the Castlian right, Pedro brought down his over-mighty minister.
The rebel army sought safety in flight. Albuquerque made it back to his castle, wounded but undaunted. As a gesture towards his years of loyal service to his father, Pedro sent an Italian physician to the Minister’s bedside. Albuquerque died in suspicious circumstances some days later……….
Join us next time to find out what happened when Genoa, home to slave and assassin, wishes it hadn’t got involved in the machinations of the brash young king……