The Mechanics of Monarchy: Knighting Castile's King, 1332

Kings knight knights, but who knights kings? Peter Linehan looks at how Alfonso XI got round the problem and in the process strengthened his hold on his kingdom.

At the Cortes of Valladolid in August 1325, the fifteen-year-old Alfonso XI of Castile dismissed his tutors and assumed control of his kingdom's affairs. The act of self-assertion of one of medieval Spain's arguably more remarkable and certainly least well-known monarchs initiated a twenty-five-year period within which scholars have recently been intent on locating the beginnings of the Modern State. The first seven years of Alfonso XI's personal rule culminated in a ceremonial event which was without precedent in peninsular history and without parallel in contemporary Europe.

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