Elvira of Castile, Queen of Sicily

Elvira of Castile (c. 1100 – 6 February 1135) was a member of the House of Jiménez and the first Queen of Sicily as the wife of Roger II of Sicily.

Elvira of Castile
Elvira Alfonsez.jpg
Queen consort of Sicily
Tenure1130 – 8 February 1135
Bornc. 1100
Died6 February 1135
SpouseRoger II, King of Sicily
Roger III, Duke of Apulia
Tancred, Prince of Bari
Alfonso, Prince of Capua
William I, King of Sicily
FatherAlfonso VI, King of León and Castile
MotherIsabella (possibly Zaida of Seville)

Elvira was a legitimate daughter of Alfonso VI, king of León and Castile. Her mother was King Alfonso VI's fourth wife, Isabella. This Isabella is likely identical to Zaida of Seville, the Muslim princess who was Alfonso's mistress before marrying him.[1] Growing up at her father's court in the multiconfessional city of Toledo, Elvira must have been accustomed to a significant level of convivencia, which was present in Sicily as well.[2][3]

In 1117 or 1118, Elvira married Roger II, then count of Sicily and king from 1130.[4] Sicily too had a sizeable Muslim population, and the marriage was part of Roger's plan to emulate the religious policy of Elvira's father.[5] Elvira's likely descent from the Muslim rulers of Al-Andalus exemplifies a "pattern of cultural association" between the queens of Sicily and the Islamic world. She may have even influenced the extensive cultivation of Islamic art during her husband's reign.[2]

There is exceptionally little information about Queen Elvira.[1] She does not appear to have been active in politics or as a church patron, and is chiefly remembered for giving birth to Roger's six children.[6] In addition to a daughter who died young, Elvira and Roger had five sons:[3]

In 1135, both Roger and Elvira fell ill. The illness was grave and infectious. The king survived, but the queen died on 6 February.[3] Roger was devastated by her death; he withdrew to his room and refused to see anyone except his closest servants. Eventually rumors spread that he too had died.[6] Roger remained a widower for fourteen years and remarried only in 1149, as he had outlived four out of five sons he had had with Elvira.[3]


  1. ^ a b Birk 2017, p. 104.
  2. ^ a b Birk 2017, p. 106.
  3. ^ a b c d Houben 2002, p. 35-36.
  4. ^ Birk 2017, p. 103.
  5. ^ Birk 2017, p. 103-104.
  6. ^ a b Birk 2017, p. 105.


  • Alio, Jacqueline (2018). Queens of Sicily 1061-1266. Trinacria, New York. ISBN 9781943639144.
  • Houben, Hubert (2002). Roger II of Sicily: A Ruler Between East and West. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 3319470426.
  • Birk, Joshua C. (2017). Norman Kings of Sicily and the Rise of the Anti-Islamic Critique: Baptized Sultans. Springer. ISBN 978-3319470429.
Royal titles
New title Queen consort of Sicily
1130 – 8 February 1135
Title next held by
Sibylla of Burgundy