infanta isabella clara eugenia

“Infanta Isabella Clara Eugenia of Spain” (1598-1599) (detail) by Juan Pantoja de la Cruz (1553-1608).

👑 I’ve read a lot about Anne of Austria over the past several months and thought I’d list some of my favorite bits

  • Her favorite color was blue
  • Although she was the firstborn, her parents called her infanta instead of princess. Until Philip IV was born though, she was styled as heiress and called “Most Illustrious Infanta”
  • She supposedly questioned her ladies and servants about where her brother, Philip IV, had been before he was born and warned her servants not to associate with those of her brother
  • Anne was godmother to all of her siblings
  • She enjoyed hunting and, according to the French ambassador, was capable of bringing down deer and boar with a crossbow
  • The French ambassador also heard Anne exclaim that if her younger sister Maria was chosen to marry Louis XIII, she would enter a convent and never marry
  • One of her last actions in Spain was to commission a portrait of her mother as Saint Margarita
  • Philip III had a hard time parting from Anne and it was reported that he was delaying the journey to France
  • Her first night in France, Anne missed Spanish bread and the snow they used to cool drinks in Spain
  • She ordered a Spanish vegetable stew, olla, every day until it became clear the French didn’t like this reminder of Spain, so she had it brought to the rooms of her chamberwoman so she could have it in private
  • French museum specialists credit Anne with making the tooled leather hangings she brought from Spain fashionable and the two solid silver tables she had also brought were the forerunners of the silver furniture used in Versailles
  • The day after her formal arrival in Bordeaux, Louis XIII gave her a feather from his hat in exchange for one of her ribbons
  • Philip III constantly wrote to her; asking for more portraits of her, impatiently asking for reports of her health when she was sick, how often Louis slept with her (which she wouldn’t reply to), and sending her pocket money and other little gifts
  • Her aunt the infanta Clara Isabella Eugenia sent her a parrot
  • Anne’s standard response to people asking when she would give France an heir was to blush, smile, and say that it must await the will of God
  • When Anne had a bad fever in 1620, Louis, for the only time in his life, suspended court protocol and ceremonial to stay by her side and cried when he thought her to be in danger of not recovering
  • When Louis won a series of races in the equestrian exhibition in the Place Royale and came to the tribune to collect the prize of a diamond ring from Anne, he saw that her eyes were filled with tears of emotion and he was so touched that he leaped up the steps, took her in his arms and kissed her
  • Her favorite jewelry was a choker of pearls and tear-drop pearl earrings
  • When she went to Lyon in 1622, she was presented with a solid gold lion which held a shield that depicted her sleeping while a hand emerging from a crowned cloud placed a medal showing a dolphin on her arm
  • Richelieu learned that after a failed assassination attempt, Anne and Marie de Rohan spent an entire dinner party laughing about it
  • Richelieu kept a list of “grievances of the reigning queen against the cardinal”
  • Anne loved going to the theatre (so you know she was really mad at Louis when she declined his invitations to go on a couple of occasions)
  • In 1636, Madame du Fargis wrote to Anne “But for God’s sake, to put an end to the disputes, make a son”
  • Louis prohibited Anne from visiting convents in 1637 and even though it was then modified to only mean the convent Val-de-Grâce, Anne had decided that if she was not allowed to go to Val-de-Grâce, she wouldn’t go to any other convent either
  • When she was pregnant with Louis XIV, she became depressed toward the end because she feared she would die in childbirth
  • At the ceremony that marked the end of her period of lying-in, the court broke into sympathetic weeping at the sight of her holding the dauphin. She had tears in her eyes, and observers noted that she held him without assistance the entire time–three quarters of an hour
  • When Louis sent word for her to leave their sons and join him in Provence, she feared it would be the start of a permanent separation and told him she was ill and unable to travel I can’t go *cough cough* I’m sick
  • Louis XIV often handed her the chemise at her ceremonial rising, which was traditionally the prerogative of a high-born lady, and sealed the deed with a kiss
  • She was famous for her love of cleanliness and her passion for perfumes. So when Louis XIII was dying, people were amazed at how she stayed at his bedside. Even Louis was embarrassed by the smell and repeatedly asked her not to come too close, but she gave no sign of anything amiss and stayed with him until he lost speech and hearing
  • When she saw Louis dying, Anne felt as though her heart was being torn from her body