Philip II of Spain

Anthonis_Mor_-_Portrait_of_the_Philip_II,_King_of_Spain_-_WGA16176

Philip II of Spain,

husband of Queen Mary I

1527-1598

Born:

21 May 1527, son of Charles V, King of Spain and Holy Roman Emperor, and Isabella of Portugal, at Valladolid, Spain

Married:

  1. 1543, Maria Manuela of Portugal; she died in 1545
  2. 25 July 1554, Mary I, queen of England, in Winchester Cathedral; she died in 1558
  3. 1559, Elisabeth of Valois, in Guadalajara, Spain; she died in 1568
  4. 1570, Anna of Austria; she died in 1580

Crowned:

not crowned in England

Died:

13 September 1598 at El Escorial, Spain

Buried:

El Escorial

harles V of Spain had strongly supported his aunt Katherine of Aragon as she fought to maintain her marriage to Henry VIII. He continued to offer moral assistance (and political heft) to Katherine’s daughter, Mary.

When Mary came to the throne in 1553, Charles took the opportunity to expand Spain’s influence and to bolster Mary’s efforts to restore Catholicism. He offered his only son, Philip, as Mary’s husband. Philip was destined to rule an empire that included Spain, Burgundy, the Netherlands, Naples, Sicily, Mexico, Peru and numerous islands in the Caribbean. In character, temperament and loyalties, however, Philip was always pure Spanish.

Mary agreed to this purely political alliance, but allowed herself to become emotionally invested in her bridegroom, sight unseen. Philip, a much cooler customer, never progressed beyond duty. A year after the marriage, he left to attend to Spanish business on the continent. After his weary father abdicated in his favor in 1556, Philip had even less time to devote to his uninteresting wife. He returned to England for several months in 1557 but was not present during Mary’s final illness and death.

Although, after Mary’s death, Philip had briefly considered marriage to her sister Elizabeth, he was a devoted Catholic and mercilessly opposed to heresy. Years later, Philip and Elizabeth clashed.

Elizabeth encouraged revolt in the Netherlands. In turn, Philip championed Mary Queen of Scots, sending his great Armada against England after Mary’s execution. The Spanish fleet was destroyed by storms and, thereafter, English ships were free to raid Spanish colonies in the Caribbean with impunity. In 1596, English forces even attacked Spain itself, sacking the town of Cadiz.

Philip outlived his neglected English wife by forty years. When he died he was buried at his newly-built imperial complex (and monastery) at El Escorial.

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