Biography of Príncipe de Asturias Baltasar Carlos de Austria (1629-1646)

Príncipe de Asturias, born 17 October 1629 and died 9 October 1646 in Zaragoza. It was attributed to him the nickname of "the unfortunate". He/She was son of Felipe IV and his first wife Isabella of Bourbon.

Ten pregnancies that had his mother, only Prince Baltasar Carlos and his sister, the infanta María Teresa (future wife of Luis XIV of France), arrived at puberty, so her birth was greeted with enthusiasm by the Spanish people, who thus saw the dynastic continuity assured. His coming into the world was celebrated with a Te Deum in the Royal Chapel and various celebrations at the Court and the different cities of the Kingdom, such as bullfights of bulls, masquerades, Fireworks or canes games. Some historians claim that his name is because that was a draw between the names of the three wise men, as years ago had happened when choosing the name of Gaspar de Guzmán, count-Duke of Olivares. Prince Baltasar Carlos was baptized November 4, 1629, in the parish of San Juan, which communicated with the Royal Palace and their godparents were, her uncle, the infante don Carlos, and the infanta Doña María, which at that time was Queen of Hungary. At the ceremony was born in arms by the Countess of Olivares, waitress most of Queen Elizabeth, in a Chair of rock crystal, the most precious of jewelry that had been present.

Baltasar Carlos de Austria was sworn as Prince of Asturias of March 7, 1632, in a solemn ceremony held at the monastery of San Jerónimo, still present infants, the nobility and the courts of Castilla, who made the oath on behalf of all the Kingdom, accepting him as heir to the throne of Spain.

During his childhood he/she suffered a disease which was cured after visiting the Hermitage of San Babilés, in Boadilla del Monte. The King gave the Hermitage, as a thank you, a contribution of 300 reales and 6 Maravedis.

His education was provided by his nurse, Doña Inés, Countess of Olivares, and he/she also participated closely her husband, which caused in the Court reviews their possible capture by olive groves to preserve its influence when the Prince Baltasar Carlos to reign on the throne of Spain; his guardian was the Marquis of Miravel. In 1640 Diego Saavedra Fajardo wrote a manual for the education of princes for Prince Baltasar Carlos, titled Idea of a Christian political Prince represented in 100 companies, but in the dedication did record their main recipient. Cantari describes the Prince at the age of thirteen as a good student who spoke and understood several languages.

On May 28, 1642 Prince Baltasar Carlos served as Godfather at the wedding of the bastard son of the count-Duke of Olivares, Enrique, in the chapel of the Palace, which gives a sample of the good relations between the heir to the throne and the valid. In court it was rumored that the Prince should enjoy home, as had happened with the former heirs of Spain and that the fact of not having it was Olivares didn't let him to depart from his side to avoid possible negative influences on their person. The reluctance of the valid to house the Prince Baltasar contributed to his fall as valid, along with the influence of the brothers of the King and Queen Elizabeth.

Sunday, June 4, 1646 it was the first day that Prince Baltasar Carlos dined in your room. He/She was named Sommelier of corps don Fernando de Borja and master of the horse don Luis de Haro; they exerted as Gentile men of his camera the Earl of Coruña, of Alba de Liste, the Marquis of the East and the Flores Dávila; they were also appointed six supports camera, a wardrobe and the other lesser offices.

In 1644 he/she began to find wife to the future King of Spain. The first project was the Prince to marry a Princess of England, that would ensure the anglo-espanola Alliance against France, but was scrapped. Finally it was promised to her cousin, Archduchess Mariana of Austria, daughter of his sister, the Queen María de Hungría. This link was very much to the taste of the Prince, as he/she himself expressed in his private correspondence.

Since the beginning of 1645, after the death of his mother, Prince Baltasar Carlos began to learn their future King craft attending the offices of his father. Felipe IV was accompanied on his expedition to Zaragoza, where the courts of Aragon swore her loyalty March 11, 1645. The following year he/she returned to accompany his father on his trip to the North of Spain. In April, during the preparation of the ceremony of jura by the cortes of Navarre, fell seriously ill after a Basque pelota match. Enough for the ceremony, which was held on 25 may, could recover after which the Royal family retreated to Zaragoza.

2 October 1646 he/she began to manifest the disease that would lead him to death. Two days later he/she went to the Church of San Francisco, to winning the indulgence of the Jubilee celebrated in Zaragoza. Day 5 worsened and increased her fever which, although it came down the next morning, suffered a relapse from which it did not recover. The extreme unction was administered him on 9 October and died the same night. It was believed that the cause of his death had been a malignant smallpox, but after this don Pedro de Aragón confessed that it had allowed the Prince spend a night with a prostitute, which could have been the cause of his illness. Don Pedro, for not promptly disclosing excess, fall into disfavor. He/She was buried in the monastery of el Escorial, despite the request of the Aragonese that was buried in Zaragoza.

We keep a portrait of Prince Baltasar Carlos, painted by Velázquez in 1636 in which its support of camera delivered a spear to the count-Duke of Olivares so this, as a trainer, give to the Prince. This box was a copy between 1643 and 1646 in which the figure of the Duke was removed. In 1646 Zaragoza erected an obelisk in his memory and he/she was honored in his poems by Juan Francisco Andrés de Uztarroz. But have also reached us satirical compositions on their person, such as this, which is attributed to the Admiral of Castille: Prince: madness mil / murmur, without God or law / of that having to be King / you walk capando cats. / And I you hope so, / so dexterous to be / which, in being large, capéis / more towards cat (Olivares).


FISAS, C. history of the Queens of Spain. The House of Austria. Barcelona, 1996.