Joanna was the Queen of Spain, Naples, Sicily and other dominions who was never allowed to claim her rightful throne because of her commitment to the Biblical reformed faith in the 16th century. At a time when kings constantly changed religions for political expediency Joanna gave up everything because of her unfaltering commitment to her Lord Jesus Christ and the Protestant faith. During the cold war, when everyone knew that Russia would attack America someday in order to spread her communism across the globe pastors often asked, “are you willing to die for Jesus Christ?” A more poignant question is, “are you willing to live for Jesus Christ?”
It was probably her disgust over the tortures perpetrated by her mother and father, Queen Isabella and King Ferdinand, during the Spanish Inquisition that drove her away from Rome. After her marriage to the archduke of Burgundy Joanna was taken to the Netherlands where she came into contact with the teachings of the reformed faith. This served to strengthen her negative impressions of the Roman Catholic faith. Isabella, attempting to arrest the decline of her daughter into heresy, sent Roman Catholic friars to convince Joanna of the rightness of the Roman Faith. She passively refused to partake of confession and other rites of Rome during these visits. Although Joanna was pained at the displeasure of her mother she remained steadfast in her commitment to Biblical faith.
Seeing that Joanna would not be moved, Isabella began to form the plan that would keep Joanna from ascending to the throne after her death. Her first move was to make it a matter of law that her husband, Ferdinand, would take control of the government if Joanna were not present, or able to exercise her rights to the throne. Then she started the rumor that Joanna was mad. Of course the priests believed this because anyone who would reject Rome and its authority must be mad.
At Isabella’s death Ferdinand publicly announced that although the crown belonged to his daughter he would continue to reign during his lifetime. Joanna seemed to be willing to accept this arrangement, but not so her husband. Phillip protested, proclaiming that, “Ferdinand has put into circulation a false report of the madness of his daughter…solely with the view to furnish himself with pretext for seizing her crown.” In the end Phillip joined with Joanna’s father in the plot to keep her from the throne, and later her son, Emperor Charles V, added insult to injury by exerting his authority to pressure Joanna to return to the Roman faith and to keep from her rightful dominions.
As her health deteriorated and it became apparent that the end of her life was approaching, Charles V redoubled his efforts to convert Joanna. She stood firm against efforts to force Roman Catholic rites upon her, she refused all symbols of Romish superstition, and never did accept extreme unction. It is said that the people could hear her cry out during the tortures designed to force these rites on her.
Joanna was kept from her throne, she was tortured and imprisoned by her husband for ten years, her father for thirty-nine years, and by her son emperor Charles V. In her words, she was consoled through these great injustices by her God and Father in heaven. Joanna lived a most miserable life for her Lord Jesus Christ. Her example in this to future generations is the crown of glory that she never wore on this earth.