Lonely Planet review
The Royal Chapel adjoins Granada’s cathedral and is an outstanding Christian building. Catholic Monarchs Isabella and Ferdinand commissioned this elaborate Isabelline Gothic–style mausoleum. It was not completed until 1521; they were temporarily interred in the Convento de San Francisco.
The monarchs lie in simple lead coffins in the crypt beneath their marble monuments in the chancel, enclosed by a stunning gilded wrought-iron screen created in 1520 by Bartolomé de Jaén. Also here are the coffins of Isabella and Ferdinand’s unfortunate daughter, Juana the Mad, and her husband, Philip of Flanders. There is some doubt as to whether Juana was mad at all. She was Charles V’s mother and the rightful heir to the Spanish throne. When Charles arrived in 1517 from Flanders, she was forced to sign papers of abdication and then locked up in a windowless cell for the last 40 years of her life. The film Mad Love by Juana la Loca depicts the story to dramatic effect and won three Goya awards (the Spanish equivalent to the Oscars) back in 2001.
The sacristy contains a small but impressive museum with Ferdinand’s sword and Isabella’s sceptre, silver crown and personal art collection, which is mainly Flemish but also includes Botticelli’s Prayer in the Garden of Olives . Felipe de Vigarni’s two fine early-16th-century statues of the Catholic Monarchs at prayer are also here.