Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Elizabeth of Valois and the Black Legend

Elizabeth of Valois, Queen of Spain, daughter of Henri II and Catherine de Medici. Sister-in-law of Mary Stuart.
From Stephanie Mann:
Philip II of Spain married four times: his third wife, Elizabeth of Valois, one of Henri II of France's daughters, was to marry his son Don Carlos. Instead, since Philip's second wife, Mary I of England, had died, Philip married Elizabeth of Valois, who died on October 3, 1568. Elizabeth died in childbirth after delivering a baby girl, who also died. Two of her children survived, the Infanta Isabella who would rule the Spanish Netherlands and Catherine Michelle who would marry the Duke of Savoy.

Philip II then married one more time, to Anna of Austria, who was to have married Don Carlos, who had died just a few months before Elizabeth of Valois after being imprisoned by his father.

The imprisonment and death of Don Carlos is part of the Black Legend of Spain, depicted romantically in Verdi's opera, Don Carlo(s)--Italian or French--based on Schiller's play. The Spanish Inquisition influences Philip II, ordering the murder of Don Carlos' friend Rodrigo and countenancing the murder of Don Carlos himself if Philip II deems necessary...In reality, Philip II and Elizabeth of Valois were a loving husband and wife, Don Carlos was mentally unbalanced and dangerous because of the usual Spanish inbreeding and a blow to the head, and the Inquisition was never that powerful an influence on the king. (Read more.)

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