Elisabeth of France (1602 – 1644) was Queen consort of Spain (1621 to 1644) and Portugal (1621 to 1640) as the first wife of King Philip IV of Spain. She was the eldest daughter of King Henry IV of France and his second spouse Marie de’ Medici. As a daughter of the king of France, she was born a Fille de France.
These pendant portraits are commemorative of the pledge of Philip as heir to the Portuguese crown on 14 July 1619, in a ceremony held in Tomar, Portugal. Philip and Elisabeth, married in 1615, are portrayed with the lavish Portuguese white-and-gold ceremonial garments they wore when they arrived to Lisbon.
The dwarf Miguel Soplillo (d. 1659) was sent as gift by the Archduchess Isabella Clara Eugenia (sovereign of the Spanish Netherlands and Philip’s aunt) to Madrid in 1614, and remained a favourite of Philip IV for 44 years. "The fact of being objectified as a gift did not prevent dwarfs attendants becoming long-standing and much-loved court subjects.“ (source)
Rodrigo de Villandrando (c. 1588–1622) was a court painter during the reign of Philip III of Spain. His death opened the road to court for the young painter Diego Velázquez, who became Philip IV’s royal painter in 1622.
This tiara, considered the most important diadem of their collection, called “La Buena” (The Good one) and only worn by the Queens of Spain, was a wedding present from King Alfonso XIII to his bride, Princess Victoria Eugenie of Battenberg. Made in 1906 by Ansorena with more than 500 diamonds set in platinum, it features the Fleur de Lys, the Bourbon’s emblem.
From the beginning, this diadem became one of the favorites of the young Queen, who was married wearing it and chose it for her first photo session as Queen of Spain in 1906. Her Majesty was photographed and painted with the Fleur de Lys on numerous occasions. Shortly after her wedding the Queen opened the tiara and started wearing it in its current form. Queen Victoria used the tiara throughout her life, and unlike many of her tiaras and jewels, she never lent it to her daughters, the Infantas Beatriz and María Cristina.Queen Victoria Eugenia lent the tiara to her daughter-in-law, the wife of the Head of the Family, on a few occasions, one of them for the coronation of Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom in 1953.
In her will, the late Queen Victoria Eugenia left the Fleur de Lys tiara to her son Don Juan, Count of Barcelona and pretender to the Spanish throne. The tiara was left for the exclusive use of the Queens so when King Juan Carlos was proclaimed King in 1975, his mother, the Countess of Barcelona passed the tiara to the new Queen, Sofía of Greece and Denmark. Queen Sofía has used the Fleur de Lys tiara on the grandest occasions, like State Visits from other Monarchies or the 60th Jubilee of the King of Thailand in 2006, the last time she wore the tiara. Following tradition, the next wearer of the tiara would be the Princess of Asturias after her husband becomes Felipe VI, King of Spain.