Dear America Wiki
Dear America Wiki
Not to be confused with Isabel: Jewel of Castilla (book).

"Castilla is a kingdom divided. Many of the grandes and bishops believe that Enrique does not belong on the throne. Alfonso, my beloved little brother has their support as the rebel king. And, of course, he has my heart. But Enrique is the legitimate ruler, my duty is to remain loyal to him."
Isabel, torn between two brothers

"Isabel: Jewel of Castilla" is a television film based on The Royal Diaries book, Isabel: Jewel of Castilla by Carolyn Meyer. It aired on HBO in December 2, 2000. The film starred Lisa Jakub as Isabel and Cara Pifko as Catalina Valera. It was the third and final installment of Scholastic's The Royal Diaries film series.

Isabel, the younger sister of King Enrique of Castilla, takes control of her future and runs away from Enrique's authority. However, unforeseen events with her younger brother Alfonso forces Isabel to choose a side.


In the kingdom of Castilla and León, Princess Isabel (Lisa Jakub) escapes for a brief moment outside the castle with her best friend, Catalina Valera (Cara Pifko). Isabel's half-brother, King Enrique (Emmanuel Mark),surrounds her with spies, while also keeping her in poverty and isolation. Meanwhile, Isabel's younger brother Alfonso (Barna Moncz) gathers supporters that want him to be king instead of Enrique.

Isabel receives a letter from Enrique that she is to be wed to King Afonso of Portugal. Deciding against the marriage, Isabel reunites with her younger brother at his camp. She passes the next few months in bliss, until Alfonso falls ill and passes away. Archbishop Carrillo (Arturo Fresolone), Alfonso's adviser, pledges his and the rebel army's loyalty to Isabel. However, Isabel resolves to be faithful to Enrique, despite Carrillo's protests.

She meets with Enrique's adviser, Juan Pacheco (Ken Staines) to propose a treaty. Enrique agrees to Isabel's terms, including declaring her as his heir, not forcing her into marriage, an income, and to stop spying on her. Nevertheless, Isabel finds herself once again, impoverished, encircled by spies, and neither side agreeing on who she should marry. She decides once and for all that she must take her fate into her own hands.

Archbishop Carrillo meets Isabel in secret with Pierres de Peralta (Joey Pomanti), a messenger sent by King Juan of Aragon. They arrange for Isabel to marry Prince Fernando (Christopher Ralph), King Juan's son and heir, whom she had actually met before. Isabel and Catalina travel in disguise and manage to avoid Enrique's armies. The following day, they reach Valladolid, where Isabel and Fernando are to be wed.

Cast and characters[]

Crew and credits[]

  • Directed by: William Fruet
  • Written by: Barbara O'Kelly
  • Adapted from the book: "Isabel, Jewel of Castilla" written by Carolyn Meyer
  • Based on: the Scholastic book series "The Royal Diaries" created by Jean Feiwel
  • Executive producer: Deborah Forte
  • Co-executive producers: Bill Siegler, Martha Atwater
  • Editor: David B. Thompson
  • Production designer: Ian Brock
  • Director of photography: Ludek Bogner
  • Line producer: Lena Cordina
  • Executive in charge: Christie Dreyfuss
  • Music by: Jack Lenz and Douglas John Cameron
  • Associate producer: Tessa Abdul
  • Production manager: Lena Cordina
  • 1st assistant director: John Pace
  • Location manager: Karen Perez
  • Art director: Roderik Mayne
  • 1st assistant art director: Theresa Tindall
  • 2nd assistant director: Eric Banz
  • Production coordinator: Nancy Wilson-Kelly
  • Script supervisor: Donna Gardon
  • Set decorator: Jeff Fruitman
  • Costume designer: Joyce Schure
  • Key wardrobe: Wayne Godfrey
  • Property master: Alan Doucette
  • Make-up: Mary Sue Heron
  • Hairstylist: Etheline Joseph
  • Camera operator: Ludek Bogner
  • Sound recordist: Bryan Day
  • Re-recording engineer: Steve Foster
  • Gaffer: Michael Forrester
  • Key grip: Brian Potts
  • 1st assistant camera: Lisa Piltcher
  • Post production supervisor: Lynda McKenzie
  • Assistant editor: Paul Rubenstein
  • Construction coordinator: Bill White
  • Transport coordinator: David McLaren
  • Stunt coordinator: Anton Tyukodi
  • Special effects by: Brock Jolliffe
  • Casting: Susan Forrest and Sharon Forrest
  • Production accountants: Bev Ross, Donna Demers
  • Scholastic financial executive: Diane Vilagi
  • Scholastic post production manager: Carolyn Kelly
  • Production services provided by: Protocol Entertainment Inc.
  • Special thanks to: E.A. Mares, Carolyn Meyer, The Image Bank, Luis Castenda, Dome Audio Video & Effects, The Lab

Home video release[]


"Isabel: Jewel of Castilla" on VHS

"Isabel: Jewel of Castilla" was first released on video tape in December 2000. It was later released on DVD with "Elizabeth I: Red Rose of the House of Tudor" and "Cleopatra VII - Daughter of the Nile" under the title, The Royal Diaries on July 1, 2008.[3]

Back of tape description:
"Princess Isabel has a terrible choice to make. Should she submit to the tyrannical rule of her elder brother, King Enrique of Spain, and marry a man she does not love, just because it will further his political agenda? Her younger brother, Alfonso, has rebelled against the King, but will Isabel have the courage to follow? When Enrique goes against his every promise to her, Isabel listens to her own heart. She marries the Prince of Aragon–her one true love and a powerful political ally who will help her assume the throne as queen."

Differences from the book[]

  • Several major and minor characters are omitted, including Isabel's mother, Queen Juana and her daughter, Beatríz de Bobadilla, Andrés de Cabrera, Beltrán de la Cueva, Tomás de Torquemada, Pedro Girón, and Gonzalo Chacón.
  • In the movie, Clara is not loyal to Isabel and actually spies on her for Enrique. However, she is just as loyal or more so than Catalina in the book.
  • In the book, Carrillo demonstrates to Isabel that the Earth is round by drawing on a pomegranate. Isabel performs this action in the film with an orange instead.
  • Catalina does not walk with a limp and her converso status is never mentioned, nor does she die with Alfonso. Much of her role takes the place of Beatríz's from the book.
  • The film states that Fernando was King Juan of Aragon's only son. In fact, he had one son from his first marriage as well as three illegitimate sons.
  • A maid possibly meant to represent Ana from the book appears briefly without speaking.

Behind the scenes[]



From the Dear America website (October 2001)


  • Parents' Choice Award (2001) - Silver Honor[4]


See also[]

External links[]