Elisabeth of France (1602–1644)

Last updated
Elisabeth of France
Rodrigo de Villandrando - Isabel of France - WGA25100.jpg
Queen Isabel by Rodrigo de Villandrando
Queen consort of Spain
Tenure31 March 1621 – 6 October 1644
Queen consort of Portugal
Tenure31 March 1621 – 1 December 1640
Born(1602-11-22)22 November 1602
Palace of Fontainebleau, France
Died6 October 1644(1644-10-06) (aged 41)
Royal Alcazar of Madrid, Madrid, Spain
Burial
Spouse
(m. 1615)
Issue
more...
Balthasar Charles, Prince of Asturias
Maria Theresa, Queen of France
House Bourbon
Father Henry IV of France
Mother Marie de' Medici
Religion Roman Catholicism

Elisabeth of France or Isabella of Bourbon (22 November 1602 – 6 October 1644) was Queen Consort of Spain (1621 to 1644) and Portugal (1621 to 1640) as the first spouse of King Philip IV of Spain. She served as regent of Spain during the Catalan Revolt in 1640-42 and 1643-44. [1] She was the eldest daughter of King Henry IV of France and his second spouse Marie de' Medici.

Contents

Life

Childhood

Elisabeth as young girl in France Isabel de Borbon, reine d'Espagne.jpg
Elisabeth as young girl in France

Élisabeth, Madame Royale, was born at the Château de Fontainebleau on 22 November 1602; reportedly her mother showed a cruel indifference to her, because she had believed the prophecy of a nun who assured her that she would give birth to three consecutive sons. [2]

Shortly after her birth, she was betrothed with Philip Emmanuel, Prince of Piedmont, eldest son and heir of Charles Emmanuel I, Duke of Savoy, by Catherine Michelle, a daughter of King Philip II of Spain. Philip Emmanuel died in 1605. [3] [4]

As a daughter of the King of France, she was born a Fille de France. As the eldest daughter of the king, she was known at court by the traditional honorific of Madame Royale . The early years of Madame Royale were spent under the supervision of the royal governess Françoise de Montglat at the Château de Saint-Germain-en-Laye, a quiet place away from the Parisian court in which she shared education and games with her legitimate siblings (besides Dauphin, the other Fils de France were Christine Marie, later Duchess of Savoy; Nicholas Henri, Duke of Orléans, who died in infancy; Gaston, Duke of Orléans; and Henrietta Maria, later Queen of England) and the bastard children that her father had from his constant love affairs. [2] When King Henry IV was assassinated outside the Palais du Louvre in Paris on 14 May 1610, her brother the Dauphin (with whom Élisabeth had a very close relationship) succeeded him to the throne as King Louis XIII of France under the Regency of their mother Marie de' Medici.

When Elisabeth was ten years old, in 1612, negotiations were begun for a double marriage between the royal families of France and Spain; Elisabeth would marry the Prince of Asturias (the future Philip IV of Spain) and her brother Louis the Spanish Infanta Anne.

Marriage

After her proxy marriage to the Prince of Asturias and Louis's proxy marriage to the Infanta Anne, Elisabeth and her brother met their respective spouses for the first time on 25 November 1615 on the Pheasant Island in the river Bidassoa that divides France and Spain between the French city of Hendaye and the Spanish city of Fuenterrabía. This was the last time Louis would see his sister. In Spain, Elisabeth's French name took on the Spanish form of Isabel. The religious ceremony took place in the Saint Mary Cathedral in Burgos. At the time of her marriage, the thirteen-year-old Isabel became the new Princess of Asturias.

This marriage followed a tradition of cementing military and political alliances between the Catholic powers of France and Spain with royal marriages. The tradition went back to 1559 with the marriage of King Philip II of Spain with the French princess Elisabeth of Valois, the daughter of King Henry II of France, as part of the Peace of Cateau-Cambrésis. The Exchange of the Princesses at the Spanish Border was painted by Peter Paul Rubens as part of his Marie de' Medici cycle.

Queen

In 1621, by the time of the birth of the couple's first child, the couple had ascended to the throne of Spain upon the death of Philip III of Spain. The new queen of Spain was aware that her husband had mistresses {Memoirs of Madame de Mottville}

Elisabeth herself was the subject of rumors about her relations with the noted poet Peralta (Juan de Tassis, 2nd Count of Villamediana), who was her gentleman-in-waiting. On 14 May 1622, a fire broke out while the Peralta masque La Gloria de Niquea was being acted before the court. Peralta carried the queen to a place of safety, which caused suspicion about their relationship to deepen. Peralta neglected a significant warning that his life was in peril, and "he was murdered as he stepped out of his coach. The responsibility for his death was divided between Philip IV and Olivares" (at the time, prime minister and king's favorite).

Elisabeth's last child, Infanta Maria Theresa of Spain, would later become queen of France as the wife of her nephew, the future Louis XIV. Unlike her husband and sister-in-law, she would not see the wedding that cemented the peace between her homeland and adopted country, Spain; the countries would be at war until 1659.

Coat of Arms of Elisabeth of France as Queen Consort of Spain Coat of Arms of Elisabeth of France (1602-1644), Queen Consort of Spain.svg
Coat of Arms of Elisabeth of France as Queen Consort of Spain

Elisabeth was renowned for her beauty, intelligence and noble personality, which made her very popular in Spain.

She was regent of Spain during the Catalan Revolt and supported the Duke of Nochera against the Count-Duke of Olivares in favor of an honorable withdrawal from the Catalan Revolt. Prior to 1640, the queen does not appear to have had much influence over state affairs, which was largely entrusted to Olivares. Elisabeth did not get along with Olivares, who reportedly assisted her spouse in his adultery and prevented her from achieving any political influence and once famously remarked, when she presented a political view to the king, that priests existed to pray as well as queens existed to give birth. [1]

Between 1640 and 1642, Elisabeth served as regent for the king in his absence during the Catalan revolt, and was given very good critic for her efforts. [1] She was reputed to have influenced the fall of Olivares as a part of a "women's conspiracy" alongside the duchess of Mantua, Ana de Guevara, María de Ágreda and her chief lady-in-waiting Luisa Manrique de Lara, Countessess Paredes de Nava. [1]

The fall of Olivares made the king consider her his only political partner, and when the king left again for the front in 1643, Elisabeth was again appointed regent assisted by Chumacero. [1] Her second regency was also given good reviews, and she was credited by the king for her efforts to provide vital supplies for the troops as well as for her negotiations with the banks to provide finances for the army, offering her own jewelry as security. [1] It was rumored that she was intending to follow the example of queen Isabella the Catholic and lead her own army to retake Badajoz. [1]

The Queen died in Madrid on 6 October 1644 at the age of forty-one, leaving two small children: Balthasar Charles and Maria Theresa. After her death, her husband married his niece Mariana of Austria. One of her great-grandsons, Philip, Duke of Anjou, became King Philip V of Spain, and through him, Elisabeth is an ancestor of the subsequent Spanish monarchs.

Children

Ancestors

Related Research Articles

Philip IV of Spain King of Spain and Portugal

Philip IV was King of Spain and Portugal. He ascended the thrones in 1621 and reigned in Portugal until 1640, and in Spain until his death in 1665. Philip is remembered for his patronage of the arts, including such artists as Diego Velázquez, and his rule over Spain during the Thirty Years' War.

Maria Theresa of Spain Queen consort of France

Maria Theresa of Spain, was by birth Infanta of Spain and Portugal and Archduchess of Austria as member of the Spanish branch of the House of Habsburg and by marriage Queen of France.

Elisabeth of Valois Queen consort of Spain

Elisabeth of Valois was a Spanish queen consort as the third spouse of Philip II of Spain. She was the eldest daughter of Henry II of France and Catherine de' Medici.

Mariana Victoria of Spain Queen consort of Portugal

Mariana Victoria of Spain was an Infanta of Spain by birth and was later the Queen of Portugal as wife of King Joseph I. The eldest daughter of Philip V of Spain and Elisabeth Farnese, she was engaged to the young Louis XV of France at the age of seven. Rejected due to her age, the marriage never took place and she was sent back to Spain. In 1729 she was married to Infante José, son of John V of Portugal and successor to his father as Joseph I of Portugal. She also acted as regent of Portugal during the last months of her husband's life and as advisor to her daughter, Maria I of Portugal, in her reign.

Infante, also anglicised as Infant or translated as Prince, is the title and rank given in the Iberian kingdoms of Spain and Portugal to the sons and daughters (infantas) of the king, regardless of age, sometimes with the exception of the heir apparent or heir presumptive to the throne, who usually bears a unique princely or ducal title. The wife of a male infante was accorded the title of infanta if the marriage was dynastically approved, although since 1987 this is no longer automatically the case in Spain. Husbands of born infantas did not obtain the title of infante through marriage, although they were occasionally elevated to the title de gracia at the sovereign's command.

<i>Fils de France</i>

Fils de France was the style and rank held by the sons of the kings and dauphins of France. A daughter was known as a fille de France.

Balthasar Charles, Prince of Asturias Prince of Asturias

Balthasar Charles, Prince of Asturias, Prince of Girona, Duke of Montblanc, Count of Cervera, and Lord of Balaguer, Prince of Viana was heir apparent to all the kingdoms, states and dominions of the Spanish monarchy until his death.

Mercedes of Orléans Queen consort of Spain

Maria de las Mercedes of Orléans was Queen of Spain as the first wife of King Alfonso XII. She was born in Madrid, the daughter of Antoine of Orléans, Duke of Montpensier, and of Infanta Luisa Fernanda of Spain.

Margaret Theresa of Spain 17th century Holy Roman Empress

Margaret Theresa of Spain was, by marriage to Leopold I, Holy Roman Empress, German Queen, Archduchess of Austria and Queen of Hungary and Bohemia. She was the daughter of King Philip IV of Spain and the elder full-sister of Charles II, the last of the Spanish Habsburgs. She is the central figure in the famous Las Meninas by Diego Velázquez, and the subject of many of his later paintings.

Maria Anna of Spain Holy Roman Empress

Infanta Maria Anna of Spain was a Holy Roman Empress and Queen of Hungary and Bohemia by marriage to Ferdinand III, Holy Roman Emperor. She acted as regent on several occasions during the absences of her spouse.

Maria Francisca of Savoy Queen consort of Portugal

Dona Maria Francisca of Savoy was twice queen consort of Portugal as the spouse of two Portuguese kings: Afonso VI and Peter II of Portugal. She first became queen of Portugal at the age of 20 on the day of her marriage to Afonso VI; because the marriage was never consummated, she was able to obtain an annulment. On 28 March 1668, she married Afonso's brother, the Infante Peter, Duke of Beja, who was appointed prince regent the same year due to Afonso's perceived incompetence. Maria Francisca became queen of Portugal for the second time when Peter succeeded his brother as Peter II in 1683 but died herself later that year.

Infanta Isabel, Countess of Girgenti Princess of Asturias

Infanta Isabel of Spain, was the eldest daughter of Queen Isabella II and her husband Francisco de Asís, Duke of Cádiz. She was recognized as the heir presumptive to the Spanish throne twice: from 1851 to 1857 and from 1874 to 1880 and given the title Princess of Asturias, which was reserved for the heir to the Spanish crown. She was married to Prince Gaetan, Count of Girgenti, who committed suicide just three years after their marriage on 13 May 1868.

Infanta Amalia of Spain Princess Adalbert of Bavaria

Infanta Amalia of Spain was the youngest daughter of Infante Francisco de Paula of Spain. Her eldest brother, Francisco de Asís married Queen Isabella II of Spain, who was Amalia's first cousin. She was the only one of five sisters who made a royal marriage. In 1865 she married Prince Adalbert of Bavaria, a son of King Ludwig I of Bavaria. Upon her marriage she moved to Munich, where she spent the rest of her life. However she remained attached to her native country and was instrumental in arranging the marriage of her eldest son Prince Ludwig Ferdinand of Bavaria with her niece Infanta Paz of Spain.

Maria of Portugal is the name of several Portuguese queens, queens consort, princesses and infantas, some of whom reigned as Queen of Spain or other lands:

Luis Méndez de Haro

Luis Méndez de Haro, 6th Marquis of Carpio or Luis Méndez de Haro y Guzmán, Grandee of Spain,, , was a Spanish nobleman, political figure and general.

Infante Francisco de Paula of Spain Infante of Spain (1794-1865)

Infante Francisco de Paula of Spain was an Infante of Spain and the youngest son of Charles IV of Spain and Maria Luisa of Parma. He was a brother of Ferdinand VII, as well as the uncle and father-in-law of Isabella II.

Maria Antonia Ferdinanda of Spain Queen consort of Sardinia

Maria Antonia Ferdinanda of Spain was a Queen consort of Sardinia by marriage to Victor Amadeus III of Sardinia. She was the youngest daughter of Philip V of Spain and Elisabeth Farnese. She was the mother of the last three mainline Kings of Sardinia.

Louise Élisabeth of France French princess

Marie Louise Élisabeth of France was a French princess, the eldest daughter of King Louis XV of France and Maria Leszczyńska, and the elder twin of Anne Henriette de France. She married Infante Philip, younger son of Philip V of Spain, who inherited the Duchy of Parma from his mother in 1748, thereby founding the House of Bourbon-Parma. In secondary sources she is referred to also as "Louise Élisabeth of France". She functioned as the de facto ruler of the Duchy of Parma between 1748 and 1759.

<i>The Family of Philip V</i> (1743)

The Family of Felipe V is an oil on canvas painting by the French artist Louis Michel van Loo, completed in 1743. It features life-sized depictions of Philip V of Spain and his family. The painting depicts the royal family in a fictional room and is in the style of French baroque and rococo art. The painting is one of a trio of paintings which bear the same name and are dated 1723 by Jean Ranc, a smaller 1738 version and the 1743 rendition.

Infanta María del Pilar of Spain Spanish Infanta

Infanta María del Pilar of Spain, daughter of Queen Isabella II of Spain and sister of King Alfonso XII, was an Infanta of Spain.

References

Elisabeth of France (1602–1644)
Born: 22 November 1602 Died: 6 October 1644
Spanish royalty
Vacant
Title last held by
Margaret of Austria
Queen consort of Portugal
1621–1640
Vacant
Title next held by
Luisa of Medina-Sidonia
Queen consort of Spain
1621–1644
Vacant
Title next held by
Mariana of Austria