empress isabella of portugal

het-lelijke-eendje  asked:

Hi Rava! I've got a question for you; They say a bad neighbor is a misfortune, as much as a good one is a great blessing. Could you give me an insight on Portuguese-Spanish relations nowadays or maybe even a throwback in history? Was Portugal blessed or misfortunate with their neighbor? Do you get along like brothers and sisters or is there some love-hate relationship between the two? Thank you in advance!

R: HI eendje! Thank you so much for your question, this one is quite interesting! Let us begin then to analyze the complicated relationship between the two Iberian siblings. And for this job I’ve asked fellow ambassador @salytierra for assistance, this way you can hear it from both POVs!

S: Jello B-)

R: So first let’s talk about History, from a Portuguese POV. Historically speaking, the Portuguese can agree unanimously that Spain is a curse. 

S: Wow, rude!

R: After gaining its independence from the Kingdom of Galicia, itself a vassal of Castille, Portugal was constantly threatened with annexations and invasions by the Spanish kingdoms. If not for expelling the Moors from the southern territories of Iberia, there was no way Portugal would team up with Castille. Not to mention that during the Age of Exploration these two countries were adversaries competing for the biggest sphere of influence, which culminated in the signing of the Treaty of Tordesillas (and later on with the Treaty of Zaragoza)

S: Well, not as much competing for the biggest sphere of influence, but Portugal started its exploratory period earlier, while the Spanish kingdoms were either looking to the Mediterranean or continued fighting the moors. And the Portugeese kept their tails tightly covered. Being caught snooping around their trade routes meant automatically getting an assful of lead, no exceptions. The whole reason Ferdinand the Catholic agreed to support his wife in her decision to sponsor Columbus’ apparently suicidal voyage was for the possibility of discovering another spice route that didn’t need to round Africa, therefore – more peaceful and less full of pissy Ports.

Instead, the Americas were “discovered” and so the two iberios, with all the gall in the world, signed the aforementioned treaty.

R: The treaty upsetted most of the European powers at the time (”how can you just claim the World all for yourselves, don’t we get a part too!?”) and they ended up ignoring it when it didn’t favour their own interests, specially England, France, and the Netherlands, which would later emerge as colonial powers themselves and either take what was left to take or kick out the Iberians and rule the areas themselves.

S: Wanna hear an anecdote? There was a tradition of an insane traffic of deserters and political refugees across the border in a true “the enemy of my enemy is my friend” fashion, if someone was disgraced, persecuted or expelled from either Spain or Portugal, they asked for asylum in the other country and were taken in with open arms. Now, remember that alternative spice route for Spain? It was discovered by Magellan, who might have been Portuguese but wasn’t particularly welcomed there anymore. However, he was killed somewhere in Indonesia and the first real trip around the world was completed by a man that sailed with him: Juan Sebastián Elcano, in the Nao Victoria. Most of the people that sailed then didn’t return to Spain. An entire ship (out of 5) was captured by the Portuguese, precisely. And in the Nao Victoria itself had to do the unthinkable to avoid bumping into the Portuguese in the last part of its journey. Since asking for provisions and help in Portuguese ports would have been a BAD IDEA. Almost didn’t make it, only 18 men reached Spain. The irony is that it happened in 1522, only 4 years before princess Isabella of Portugal married Charles I, becoming Empress of Spain and the two navies were asked to “tone it down FFS!!” So the treaty of Zaragoza was their “get along shirt”.

R: The other historical moment worth to mention is the Iberian Union, that 60 year period in which Portugal lost its independence to the Spanish Habsburgs, and the very same period that most Portuguese look back on as the beggining of the end of our Empire. 

S: Wow, that’s harsh! Also, it was inevitable. They kept intermarrying their heirs for generations hoping for exactly that. It was just a lottery of whose king would die first without heirs. And sorry Portugal, you lost.

R: And even though the one to blame is our young foolish king who decided to play crusader in Northern Africa without leaving an heir, we still long for his return in a foggy morning. 

S: See? Bad luck and bad choices! Anyway, the “alien laws” prevented any assimilation; the naturals from one empire remained foreigners in another. But the alliance meant a loophole in ignoring the Tordesillas and Zaragoza treaties, specially from the Portuguese perspective. It was when Spain started asking more of Portugal than Portugal wanted to give that they did the “bitch, I’m out” and kicked a Spanish guy out of the window. Anyway, after some warring they got their crown back, we got Ceuta.

R: But now let’s leave the past in the past and focus more on what really matters, the present! Nowadays, the Portuguese opinion on the Spaniards pretty much varies from person to person (I can say for myself that I love Spain a whole lot ; D). When we think of Spain we usually think of Castille-Leon (the big bully) and sometimes Galicia (the northwestern region with very close cultural ties to Portugal, specially to the northern half) and the other autonomous regions are just…forgotten (sorry guys, we didn’t really have much History between us, did we). But generally speaking, it boils down to a love-hate relationship with both sides taking a jab at eachother while calling ourselves siblings, and if that isn’t a sibling relationship I don’t know what it is. The Portuguese even commonly refer to the Spaniards as nuestros hermanos (Spanish for “our brothers”). And Spain also serves as our #1 destination for what we call “viagens de finalistas” (and we miiiiight have caused quite a mess this year).

S: Look, Spain and Portugal are what you’d call the most cliché sibling relationship ever. It’s like they’ve grown up sharing the same room, which we all know can be… difficult for healthy, energetic boys. They threw shoes at each other’s heads, played pranks, broke each other’s toys and stole them, competed to be the coolest kid at school, argued fought a lot… for their entire lives. But at the end grew out of it. Their histories always ran in parallel and at the end what’s left are memories and anecdotes for the Christmas table. And someone to count on, even if both countries have their own lives and trajectories now.

In Spain the perception of Portugal varies geographically mostly. I live in the east and we don’t often think about Portugal, sometimes kinda forget it exists at all. 

R: Fair enough to be honest.

But in the west that relationship and awareness is tighter. I know there’s a lot of bickering still, for historical reasons. But it’s the healthy, funny kind, and affection too. I don’t think there’s anyone that has any really negative opinion of Portugal. Mostly people like it and specially like making jokes about towels and bearded women. Ah, the classics!

We can assure you though that nowadays we always come in peace. Except for the extended weekends, when we just come in masse.

R: Truth! But it’s fine, we love you <3 If not for tourism we’d be in the gutter afterall, hahaha. Well we’d both be, am I right?

Anyways, I hope you enjoyed learning more about this theme! Thanks for the question once again!

Sources: x


top ten historical females - asked by @sansaregina

♔ Elizabeth Woodville - Queen Consort of England from 1 May 1464 - 3 October 1470 and again from 11 April 1471 - 9 April 1483; married to Edward IV of England; leading figure in the Wars of the Roses and mother to the Princes in the Tower; successfully organised the betrothal of her eldest daughter, Elizabeth of York, to Lancastrian claimant to the throne, Henry Tudor (later Henry VII of England) with his mother, Margaret Beaufort.
♔ Hürrem Sultan - Haseki Sultan of the Ottoman Empire from 1533/4  - 15 April 1558; legal wife to Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent, first former slave to be elevated to such a rank in centuries; one of Suleiman’s most trusted advisors; engaged in several major building programs throughout the Ottoman Empire; first woman to remain in the Sultan’s court for the duration of her life; arguably began the era of the Sultanate of Women despite not becoming Valide Sultan herself.
♔ Isabella of France - Queen Consort of England from 25 January 1308 - 20 January 1327; married to Edward II of England; invaded England in September 1326 with her lover Roger Mortimer, 1st Earl of March leading to the abdication of her husband and the coronation of her son, Edward III; was Regent to her son from 1326 - 1330.
♔ Eleanor of Aquitaine - Suo jure Duchess of Aquitaine from 9 April 1137 - 1 April 1204; Queen Consort of France from 1 August 1137 - 21 March 1152; Queen Consort of England from 25 October 1154 - 6 July 1189; formally took up the cross on the Second Crusade as the feudal leader of her duchy; had her marriage to Louis VII of France annulled on the grounds of consanguinity; had a tumultuous marriage to Henry II of England; Eleanor was arrested by her husband in 1173 for her role in the Revolt of 1173/74 in favour of her son, Henry the Young King, she was to be imprisoned until Henry II’s death in 1189; when her son, Richard the Lionheart, left his kingdom on the Third Crusade, he left Eleanor to act as Regent.
♔ Turhan Hatice Sultan - Haseki Sultan of the Ottoman Empire from 2 January 1642 - 12 August 1648; Valide Sultan of the Ottoman Empire from 8 August 1648 (nominal) - 4 August 1683; Naib-i-Sultanat of the Ottoman Empire from 3 September 1651 - 1656; concubine to Sultan Ibrahim I; after Ibrahim’s deposition, her son, Mehmed, ascended the throne as Sultan Mehmed IV; upon this Turhan should have been recognised as Valide Sultan, however, she was overlooked in favour of her predecessor, Kösem; due to Turhan’s ambitions Kösem allegedly planned to depose Mehmed in favour of a grandson with a more pliant mother, this was reported to Turhan and Kösem was murdered; as both Regent and Valide Sultan, Turhan wielded enormous power, almost equal to that of her son and was the only woman in Ottoman history to do so; by 1656 Turhan turned more of her attention to patronage and rescinded most of her power to the Grand Vizier; last of the great figures in the era of the Sultanate of Women.
♔ Isabella of Portugal - Holy Roman Empress, Queen of the Germans, Queen consort of Italy, Queen consort of Spain from 10 March 1526 - 1 May 1539; married to Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor; her political union with Charles proved to be a love match; Isabella was to be a competent consort and was appointed Regent of Spain during her husband’s absences in 1529–1532 and 1535–1539; Isabella died after her sixth pregnancy ended in a stillbirth in 1539 and her death affected her husband deeply; in 1580 her son Philip II of Spain ascended the Portuguese throne claiming Isabella’s rights of succession and united  the Iberian Peninsula under one crown.
♔ Mary I of England - Queen Regnant of England and Ireland from 19 July 1553 - 17 November 1558; Queen Consort of Spain, Jerusalem and both the Sicilies; Archduchess of Austria; Duchess of Burgundy, Milan and Brabant; Countess of Habsburg, Flanders and Tyrol from 16 January 1556 - 17 November 1558; married to Philip II of Spain; when her father, Henry VIII of England, broke with the Catholic Church in 1533 he deemed his marriage to her mother, Catherine of Aragon, null and void and thus deemed Mary to be illegitimate; Mary was returned to the line of succession, in 1544; when Edward VI died, he excluded Mary from his will and the line of succession as she was Catholic; he named Lady Jane Grey as heir to the throne, whom Mary deposed (and later executed) on the 19 July 1553 after assembling an army and support in the days following her brother’s death; Mary’s first Parliament in October 1553, declared the marriage of her parents valid and abolished Edward’s religious laws; During 1553 Mary also returned her kingdom to the Catholic Church and the old Heresy Acts were revived; In January 1558, French forces took Calais, England’s sole remaining possession on the European mainland, it was an ideological loss that damaged Mary’s prestige.
♔ Livia Drusilla - Empress consort of the Roman Empire from 27 BCE - 14 CE; married first to Tiberius Claudius Nero with whom she had the future Emperor Tiberius, and Nero Claudius Drusus; she divorced her fist husband in favour of future Roman Emperor, Augustus when she was six months pregnant with her son, Drusus, and she married Augustus three days after his birth; Livia enjoyed the status of privileged counsellor to her husband, petitioning him on the behalf of others and influencing his policies; in 35 BCE Octavian gave Livia the unprecedented honour of ruling her own finances; Livia pushed her sons into positions of power with Tiberius eventually being declared Augustus’ heir in 4 BCE; when her husband died in 14 CE he left one third of his property to Livia, the will also adopted her into the Julian family and granted her the honorific title of Augusta, which permitted Livia to maintain her status and power after his death, under the new name of Julia Augusta.
♔ Catherine of Aragon - Queen Consort of England from 11 June 1509 - 23 May 1533; married first to Arthur Tudor, Prince of Wales on 15 November 1501; after her marriage to Arthur, they both fell ill with sweating sickness and as a result Arthur died on 2 April 1502; Catherine was left a widow, during this time she lived as a virtual prisoner in London; in 1507 Catherine began to serve as the Spanish ambassador to England, the first female ambassador in European history; the Scots invaded England in September 1513 and Catherine rode north in full armour despite being heavily pregnant at the time and gave a speech to the troops; from 1525 onwards, Henry sought to divorce or annul his marriage to Catherine on the grounds that she had slept with his brother, her first husband, and was not a virgin when she wed Henry, so that he could marry the Lady Anne Boleyn; in 1531 Catherine was removed from Henry’s court and separated from her daughter; her marriage to Henry was annulled on 23 May 1533 but she continued to refer to herself as Henry’s only lawful wedded wife and England’s only rightful queen but was referred to as Dowager Princess of Wales on Henry’s order.
♔ Eleanor of Provence - Queen Consort of England from 20 January 1236 - 16 November 1272; married to Henry III of England; despite fulfilling all the necessary roles and duties expected of a Queen Consort at the time, Eleanor was deeply unpopular with the people due to her large retinue of Savoyard family members, who did not leave England after her coronation as well as her perceived influence over the King which created friction between the English barons and the crown, during his reign; Eleanor was made Regent in 1253 when her husband left for Normandy; she vigorously opposed Simon de Montfort, 6th Earl of Leicester’s actions against her husband, and raised troops in France in Henry’s name; after her husband’s death in 1272, she remained in England to help raise her grandchildren.


Philip II, King of Spain, was born at Valladolid on the 21st of May 1527. He was the son of the emperor Charles V and of his wife Isabella of Portugal. Philip received his education in Spain. His tutor, Juan Martinez Pedernales (Bishop of Cartagena), who latinized his name to Siliceo, and who was also his confessor, does not appear to have done his duty very thoroughly. The prince, though he had a good command of Latin, never equaled his father as a linguist. Don Juan de Zúñiga (grand-commander of Castile), who provided a more systematic education, imparting piety and seriousness to his pupil as well as an extensive knowledge of history and an appreciation of scholarship, the arts, and politics. From his earliest years Philip showed himself more addicted to the desk than the saddle and to the pen than to the sword. The emperor, who spent his life moving from one part of his wide dominions to another and in the camps of his armies, watched his heir’s education from afar. The trend of his letters was to impress on the boy a profound sense of the high destinies to which he was born, the necessity for keeping his nobles apart from all share in the conduct of the internal government of his kingdom, and the wisdom of distrusting counsellors, who would be sure to wish to influence him for their own ends. Philip grew up grave, self-possessed and distrustful and was rigidly abstemious in eating and drinking.


History meme - Isabella of Portugal

Isabella was born the second of the children of Manuel I of Portugal and his second wife, Maria of Castile and Aragon. When her father died in 1521, her brother, John III of Portugal, negotiated a marriage with Catherine of Austria, sister of Charles V, the Holy Roman Emperor. That marriage took place in 1525, by which time negotiations had arranged for Charles to marry Isabella. They were married in 1526.Isabella and Charles may have married for financial and dynastic reasons – she brought a large dowry to Spain – but letters of the time show that their relationship was more than just a marriage of convenience.During Charles’ absences from Spain in 1529-1532 and 1535-1539, Isabella served as his regent. They had six children, of whom the first, third and fifth survived to adulthood.Isabella died after giving birth to her sixth child, while Charles was away. Charles did not remarry, as was the usual custom for rulers. She was buried at Granada.Isabella’s and Charles’ son Philip II became ruler of Spain, and in 1580, also became the ruler of Portugal.


My favourite historical portraits:

1-Holy Roman Empress Isabella of Portugal (1434-1467)

2-Queen of England Marguerite d’Anjou (1430-1482)

3-Duchess of Este Lucrezia Borgia (1480-1519)

4-Lucrezia Landriani, mistress of Galeazzo Sforza (1440-…)

5-King of England Henry VII Tudor (1457-1509)

6-Princess of Wales and later Queen of England Catherine of Aragon (1485-1536)

7-Queen of Scotland Margaret Tudor (1489-1541)

8-Queen of France and Duchess of Suffolk Mary Tudor (1492-1533)

9-Governor of Netherlands Mary of Habsburg (1505-1558)

10-Duchess of Parma Maria Amália Habsburg (1746-1804)


On this day in history two members of the Trastámara dynasty were born: John II of Aragon “The Great”, father to Ferdinand The Catholic and his granddaughter Maria of Aragon, fourth child to the Catholic Monarchs. 

John II was born at Medina del Campo as the second son and second child (of seven) to Ferdinand I of Aragon, also known as Fernando de Antequera, and his wife Eleanor Urraca of Castile. The chronicel Gonzalo García de Santa María described him as a corpulent man of middle stature and added that “even though his heart was merciful by nature, a terrible ferocity could be noticed in his conduct”, his eyes were clear and reddened with blood. Lucio Marineo Sículo on the other hand claimed the king had fair complexion, brown hair, small nose and beautiful hands. John was a man of great sense of honour and duty, possibly cold, astute, reserved but also full of illusions. John liked literature, music and hunting. He was certainly one of the best Aragonese kings and one of the most important figures in Spanish history of the 15th century.

Maria of Aragon was born at Córdoba as the fourth child of The Catholic Monarchs to survive infancy. These are some descriptions of her birth written by  reputable historians:

“In February of 1482 the monarchs took a while to rest. Ferdinand dedicated himself to one of his passions: hunting, and the Queen, being pregnant, enjoyed the company of her children: three years old Juan and two years old Juana. They had a long trip behind. They reached the plateau in the full winter, tired, due to distance they had to cover, particularly the Queen, who was five months pregnant at the time. One of the eye witnesses, Juan Bernanrdo Marimón, described Isabella as “a bit tired due to travelling and pregnancy.” We must emphasize that as much as the rematch due to failure in Zahara could wait, the help for courageous conquerors of Alhama had to be sent as soon as possible. The court began feverish preparations to gather means and to mobilize forces that would accompany Ferdinand. As we have already noted, the news had reached Medina del Campo at the beginning of March, and on the 14th day of the same month the king led his army, though we must say its main value depended on the number of people, not on their military skills, which was a result of hurry. Towards the end of the month, Ferdinand was in Córdoba where he occupied himself with preparing troops to help people in Alhama that had alredy got support from Duke Medina - Sidonia.

On the 29th day of April Ferdinand and his army entered Alhama. He increased the number of soldiers and left them good portion of supplies as well as equipment. This occurrence was as to speak, symbolic, meant to open the new chapter. After the actions that Andalusian nobility had taken, the king himself entered the scene, being seconded by Isabella. The Queen stayed behind, mobilizing all her kingdoms. As contemporary chronicles noted: “She also sent notification letters to all the knights and squires who had gotten lands and properties from her, commanding them to be ready with their weapons and horses when she would send for them, calling them to participate in a war.”

She herself also took a trip in spite of being heavily pregnant, wanting to be as close to the scene of military events, as possible. It was her war. The holy war against the last Muslim enclave in Spain. Hence she left Medina del Campo, going to Andalusia. She had been travelling very slowly given her state but without taking any breaks, for the whole June. Finally, very tired but glad, that she reached her goal, Isabella entered Córdoba on 23th day of June and six days later, on June 29th (1482), she gave birth to her third daughter, whom the Monarchs decided to name Maria. The labour was complicated and The Queen almost lost her life, though she paid her price anyway: she gave birth to twins but the second infant was stillborn.”

Manuel Fernández Álvarez 

„On June 28, as Fernando prepared to depart from Córdoba to invest Loja, Isabel went into labor, at the council table. She gave birth to a third daughter and a stillborn female twin. The surviving child, in a marked departure from giving family names, was baptized María, surely a demonstration of devotion to the cult of Holy Mary, and most likely, given the circumstances, in her guise as Protectress of the Armies. However that may be, María was as it turned out the most fortunate of Isabel’s children. More immediately, according to Palencia, many people saw in the death of one twin a bad omen. And hindsight once again did not fail him, for from the time Fernando left two days later, Isabel received nothing but bad news. Cádiz had warned that his force was too small to invest Loja, and, on making camp, he informed Fernando that the site chosen was too low and too narrow. ”

Peggy K. Liss.

Unfortunately little is known about this daughter of Isabella and Ferdinand. Her life has never attracted particular attention of the scholars as compared to her famous sisters, Joanna and Katherine. Certainly she was as much educated as her sisters and if not as gifted as them (though hard to say anything on the matter, given the lack of sources in regards to her) she would be known for providing her children with an excellent education, so like her own. Infanta Maria was said to be tall, slender, blonde, blue eyed, of fair complexion and round face: she was also sweet, compassionate, pious and as some claim, a bit giggly. The same little is known about her activities during her tenure as a Queen, except for typical ones, such as charities and patronage of humanism. One episode in her life though indicates she knew how to weight influence over her husband, Manuel I (who was previously married to Maria’s elder sister Isabella), while serving her father and the interests of her homeland: when around 1509 her husband Manuel I and father Ferdinand II fell out on the political ground, and Manuel was being obstinate, not wanting to come to any agreement with his father-in-law, it was precisely Maria who intervened, which resulted in negotiations and eventually a treaty was signed on 18 September 1509. 

Maria and Manuel had ten children, the most known of them are John III of Portugal, successor of his father to the Portuguese throne and Isabella of Portugal, Queen of Spain and Holy Roman Empress. 


„Isabel the Queen” by Peggy K. Liss.

“Isabel La Católica” by Manuel Fernández Álvarez 

“La dinastía de los Trastámara” by Julio Valdeón Baruque


On this day in history  Queen Isabella I of Castile gave birth to her third daughter in the city of Córdoba. 

The birth of this infanta occurred at the beginning of the war against the king of Granada. The delivery was very complicated because was double. The life of the sovereign was in danger. First Isabella gave birth to a girl of low weight, which received the name of María. The other child was born dead 35 hours later, by intrauterine death several days before, given the state of fetal maceration. The birth of the Infanta María was celebrated in the city with several days of celebrations. She was baptized in the Cathedral of Córdoba on 7 July. María was a healthy baby and grew up in the itinerant court of her parents. María and her sisters were not only educated noble women among the European aristocracy but they were certainly better educated than most women of their era. 

María of Aragon was tall, slender, blonde, of a very fair complexion, round face and blue eyes. She was not one of the most beautiful daughters of Ferdinand and Isabella, but Maria was kind, sweet, quiet, compassionate and very pious, though little giggly. She became the second wife of her brother-in-law King Manuel I of Portugal, after the death of her sister Isabella. Despite the image of a Queen distant from politics, recent studies have began presenting Maria as a more active participant. She was very charitable with the poor, orphans and widows. Queen Maria devoted herself to the foundation and care of the monastery of Saint Jerome.

She was the only of the daughters of the Catholic Monarchs who had a happy married life. She won the love and respect of her husband. The royal couple had ten children, eight of whom reached adulthood. She was mother of two Kings of Portugal, John III and Henry I, and one Holy Roman Empress, Isabella of Portugal, Charles V’s wife. María of Aragon died in Lisbon on 7 March 1517, at the age of 34. She was buried at the Jerónimos Monastery of Belém. 

AU I NEED: Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor marries Princess Mary Tudor, daughter of Henry VIII of England.

1539. Isabella of Portugal, Holy Roman Empress and Charles V’s wife dies. The Kingdoms of Spain are in despair. And yet, Charles is shortly pull out of his grief when the Council reminds him that he needs to find another wife despite vowing not to.

In England, Henry VIII is finding a new wife and it seems that Anne of Cleves might be the ideal candidate. His oldest daughter Mary, now 23 remains unmarried and not consider a Princess by her father despite being in his good graces once more.

The marriage with Mary is proposes. Charles finds the idea appealing, as he had once considered an alliance with England and a marriage with the girl, though she had been 6 at the time. Things move swiftly. A portrait is send to Spain and Charles finds her pleasing. Mary still has the brooch she had with his name when she was six, a token of her hopes for a marriage.

Henry VIII is reluctant to marry Mary off, specially with the Emperor. But Charles is not waiting this time and sends an Ambassador to get Mary safely to Spain.Upon arrival, the couple meet for the first time in years. 16 years her senior, Charles is 39 and already has children, he does not expect pressure on Mary in that regard but she is young and pretty and eager to finally be wed.

They marry shortly after and Mary is now Holy Roman Empress. 


On May twenty first 1527, the Infante Philip of Spain , Prince of Asturias was born at the Palacio of Valladolid to Isabella of Portugal, Queen and Empress to Charles V of the Holy Roman Empire and I of Spain. Philip was the couple’s firstborn and only surviving son. He was followed by two sisters, Maria and Juana. The couple had been married the previous year on 10 March 1526 on Seville. They were well-matched. Isabella was the daughter of King Manuel I of Portugal and Maria of Aragon, sister to Charles V’s mother, Juana I of Castile (otherwise known unfairly as “Juana la Loca”). What began as an arranged marriage soon became a love match. Initially Charles V was pledged to marry his other first cousin, whose mother was his mother’s youngest sister; Princess Mary Tudor. Henry VIII’s (then) only child. When he visited England during the summer he found the girl charming and very accomplished. According to contemporary writers, Mary was a young beauty and very precocious, curious and eager to please. However as the years passed by, Charles grew very disenchanted with an English alliance and listened to his councilors who never wanted him to marry the English Princess (or any other foreign Princess) in the first place. Charles V was for lack of better words, not very loved by the Spaniards when he ascended to the throne after the death of his maternal grandfather, King Ferdinand II of Aragon and Regent for Castile. He didn’t speak any Castilian and he brought with him many foreigners whom he appointed to key positions in government. In the beginning of the 1520s a popular revolt called “Las Comunidades de Castilla” had been led by the commons and the dissatisfied nobles who called for the cessation of Charles’ policies. Among these many policies were taxation and the appointment of German and Austrian to key positions in government. Their motto was basically Spain for Spaniards only. Charles managed to placate the rebellion but he learned from this experience. To his councilors, it was imperative that he married someone who could understand Spain and could help him rule in his absence when he would be looking after his other territories. As appealing as the idea of marrying the daughter of the Catholic Queen’s favorite daughter, and one who was heiress presumptive at the time; it was better that he married his other first cousin. Someone who was closer in age to him, and someone who understood the customs of Spain better.

Isabella was fierce, ambitious and smart as he was. The two soon fell in love.

When she was in labor, she asked for “a veil to be placed over her face so that no one would see her agony”. One of the midwives reassured her that no one would judge her if she cried or screamed. To this, the young Queen and Empress responded: “I would rather die. Don’t talk to me like that: I may die, but I will not cry out.” Many hours later at 4pm, Philip was born, much to the joy of his father who was so “overjoyed and delighted by his son”. Their son was baptized days later by the bishop of Toledo at the monastery of St. Pablo in Valladolid.

Philip became the Prince of Asturias and on his marriage to his second wife, Queen Mary I of England, King of Naples so he would not be inferior in status to her. This however, did not prevent Mary from forcing him and his party to agree to her terms that there would be no other boss in her country except her. Mary I was a stern, calculate and pragmatic woman. Like her sister, the future “Glorianna”, she was both cruel and compassionate. While she wrote desperately to Philip and his father Charles V when he was away to return, her letters are not those of a love-sick girl but of a woman who was demanding his presence because she believed he was vital to help her deal with the rebellions in her country. After she died, he briefly entertained the idea of marrying her sister, the new Queen, Elizabeth I. After she made it clear that she was toying with him, he looked elsewhere for a bride. His eyes landed on France, on the beautiful pre-teen daughter of Henry II and Catherine de Medici. The couple had two surviving daughters, who became Philip’s favorite offspring, Isabel Clara Eugenia and Catalina Michaela. His letters to her still survive and they speak of great parental devotion. His fourth marriage to his niece, Anna of Austria did the trick providing him with a healthy male heir. The future Philip III.

Philip II died at his great monastery of San Lorenzo El Escorial that he had built in Madrid on the 13th of September 1598. He was buried there.

Sources: Imprudent King: A New Life of Philip II of Spain by Geoffrey Parker, Philip II of Spain by Henry Kamen, and On This Day in Tudor History by Claire Ridgway.

CARLOS & ISABEL; an empire for two | A mix for Charles V and Isabella of Portugal [LISTEN HERE]

“The empress sleeps every night with her husband in her arms and they are very much in love and very happy”

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