Biography of Margarita de Austria. Queen of España (1584-1611)

Queen of Spain. He was born in Grätz (Germany) December 25, 1584 and died on October 3, 1611 in the monastery of San Lorenzo de El Escorial. Queen of Spain since 1599 after his marriage to Felipe III.

His parents were the Archduke Carlos of Styria and the Archduchess María of Bavaria. The children of the Archdukes used since childhood to a routine life. They used to get up early, which own Archduchess did, and immediately prayed before we hear daily mass. Immediately after the mass, which was often heard at school that the society of Jesus was in the town of Gratz, at ten in the morning we ate and then went to the work of learning, and in this case the daughters, including Marguerite, played les first work and after grammar. At six in the afternoon started dance classes, lasting up to seven. After the mentioned class, he was having dinner, the second mass of the day could be heard and they moored their vessels. There were minor modifications of the day depending on the day of the week that it were, related changes all with religious aspects. This made that very small Margarita of Austria lived a life full of religious aspects, but however free of rigid Protocol Label given in other courts. This education he received made that many cultural aspects, had especially in grammar, and so, at the age of thirteen, just did not understand latin, not Spanish, German Austrian version was very rudimentary. These failures had to be remediated when he became the candidate for wife of Prince Felipe, the son, heir and successor of King Felipe II. The Archduke Carlos de Estiria was the brother of the Emperor Maximiliano II and therefore, cousin of King Felipe II, the father of Carlos and Maximiliano was the Emperor Fernando I, which was the brother of Carlos V. His lordship, which was called as a mark of Styria, was a land border with the Ottoman Empire.

Carlos had been in Spain in 1568 and Felipe II knew him personally since he came, among other things with the Mission of proposing the marriage of Felipe II with Anne of Austria, something that finally happened. María of Bavaria was the niece of the own Carlos of Styria and between them they had an offspring of a fortnight of stems. Thus, when Felipe II sought out his son's future wife, he turned his sights toward the family of his cousin. In it had four single candidate with a difference between the major and minor, Daisy, eight-year-old. The King chose Catherine Renata two years older than the Prince, but died shortly after. Then it was decided by Gregoria Maximiliana, three years younger. Nominations of Leonor, and Margarita were discarded because of the tender age of the same. Chosen candidate once started the negotiations between King Felipe II and the Emperor Rodolfo II. By Hispanic party intervened don Guillén of San Clemente, who was Ambassador of the Spanish monarchy in the imperial court. One significant consequence of this negotiation was that marriage was also agreed between the younger daughter of Felipe II, Isabel Clara Eugenia, the Archduke Alberto. After this, the Ambassador sent Gratz to his personal Secretary, Pedro Rodríguez, to speak with mother's chosen bride, since the father had died shortly before and give you letters of the King Felipe II, aimed at the wedding of his son however the same night that the Secretary came to Gratz, Gregoria Maximiliana died victim of the plague. During their stay at Gratz, Pedro Rodríguez had to adapt to adversity that arose while the Archduchess María proposed to him that his two daughters, Eleanor and Margaret, were to Spain so the monarch chose in person and that the rejected joins in the convent of las descalzas reales. At the same time insisted that if one of his daughters was finally chosen for the marriage of Prince Felipe, who is accompanied by two ladies, two maids and two servants. In this trance the own María of Bavaria showed himself more favorable to the candidacy of the younger of the two daughters, Margarita, since he believed his daughters was that enjoyed better health. Finally Felipe II chose it as the future wife of Prince Felipe, against the very idea of Margaret, who had wanted to enter a convent of Gratz.

Once again chosen bride, this should go to Spain on a long journey that took her through Italy. The Archduke Alberto, who was Governor of the Netherlands received the indication of Felipe II, which addressed the encounter of Margarita of Austria, which had to be his home. When he had done so and became the Cardinal of Austria to replace him temporarily as Governor of the Netherlands, he moved to Trento, the place which had been concluded and that met with the delegation which came from Gratz. Similarly, Pope Clement VIII, when he received the news of the conclusion of the double marriage wanted that these should be held in the town of Ferrara when the couple arrived at the same on his journey to Spain. From Gratz Margarita was with his Entourage to Vilach. Here Ambassador San Clemente Guillén received news of the death of the King Felipe II, the fiance of Margaret was now ruler of the domains of the Spanish monarchy, Felipe III. With the mourning of the news, the procession moved towards Ferrara. Before he entered Italy and they did stop in Trento, in the Duchy of Milan, domain of the Spanish monarchy, where they arrived a few hours before the retinue of Archduke Alberto. A few days later they put way to Ferrara. Here was held, by proxy, the double marriage between Felipe III and Margaret of Austria and Archduke Alberto and Isabel Clara Eugenia, which took place the day of San Leopoldo, who was the patron of the House of Austria. There also came into contact with the family who would be his great rival, when the Duchess of Gandia started working as a waitress most of the future Queen. After this began the trip in which a rodeo occurred when the city of Milan requested the presence of Margarita and she agreed, so they went to that city, where it remained for three months. The three February 1599 went to Genoa, where the Admiral of Castile Andrea Doria was waiting for them with an army of forty galleys. On 10 February left the procession to Spain, to the city of Valencia.

In Spain

The fleet with Margarita of Austria arrived opposite the port of Barcelona of March 23, 1599, although not landed and were heading towards Vinaròs, where finally landed the Queen on 28 March, just it was fourteen years old and was accompanied by his mother. When a few days later he came to Valencia was received which was her husband, King Felipe III, he convinced to carry out the trip your valid, Francisco Sandoval y Rojas, Marqués de Denia and future Duke of Lerma. This, that landed the Queen is them managed and gradually dismissed German bondage Queen brought from Gratz and placed around it to him/her. The couple met briefly before the celebration of weddings in Valencia. Who also had opportunity to meet before the wedding was his future political rival, Francisco Sandoval and Rojas. A few days later, the confirmation of the wedding ceremony was performed by powers that the Pope had made in Ferrara, this time part of the ceremony was the Cathedral of Valencia, where also held, at the same time, the double ratification and the infanta Isabel Clara Eugenia and Archduke Alberto. This was cause for that were subsequently held large celebrations and festivities, the courtly nobility and the local nobility by both the village, including bullfight, something that was completely new to the new Queen. The stay of the Kings in the Kingdom of Valencia lasted for many months so it was not until October 21, when the Kings and the Court returned to Madrid, here began the problems to the new Queen. Earlier, the Kings were in Barcelona, where dismissed the Archduchess María of Bavaria, who had earlier gone to Madrid where he presented his respects to the widow Empress María of Austria, the sister of Felipe II, which at that time was in the convent of las Descalzas Reales. Before October 21 the Kings agreed and waited fifteen days in the town of Barajas for the city of Madrid was prepared enough for the Kings. The new Queen could on intermediate learn also the Empress in a meeting that took place in the Casa de Campo. Thus spent the time until he came on Sunday, October 21, date in the monarchs made their entry official in Madrid in the middle of a great popular celebration.

The Queen and the Duke of Lerma

The first years of the stay of the new Queen in Spain were Margarita of Austria type family, aware that his obligation was the give her husband an heir for the Spanish monarchy. This was encouraged by his mother, the Archduchess María, that did not stop requesting information from his daughter in the connection from the town of Gratz. In this sense was good law-abiding its obligation, since in ten years provided eight children to the King, including the heir, the future Felipe IV. These children were: the infanta Ana Mauricia, who was born September 22, 1601; the infanta María, who was born January 1, 1603 but died in March of that year; again a Princess name María, who was born August 18, 1606; the infante don Carlos, who was born 15 September 1607; the infante don Fernando who was born May 16, 1609; the infanta Margarita, who was born May 24, 1610; the infante don Alfonso on September 22, 1611. Equally those early years were for the Queen of learning, both of the Spanish language and the Customs on the stiff label Burgundian court. They also were years of absolute devotion and dedication toward the person of her husband, as it had been previously with his mother or his brother Fernando, so that he came to write about the King, her husband, "I love him very much and he behaves very well and is very good". This was a constant throughout his life, his love for her husband, love that was fully reciprocated, as even they found the contemporary to the husbands, and Felipe III was one of the few monarchs of the Spanish monarchy, Austrias either or Bourbon, which is not known extramarital adventure any. This love between them made that Felipe III had increasingly more confidence in his wife and to even solicit the same Council on any matter of State. This raised suspicions of the valid Francisco Sandoval and Rojas, Duke of Lerma, was how little by little began the political rivalry between this character and the Queen, rivalry that was initially buried but was then a true open confrontation by power, which ended with the death of the Queen in dark circumstances.

The isolation of the Queen

Before the arrival in Spain of the Queen, the Duke of Lerma had managed to fire the staff of German origin that the Queen brought with him. This staff was replaced by people's confidence of the Duke, as the Marchioness of del Valle, Doña Magdalena Guzmán, or the maid of the Queen, the Duchess of Gandía, closely linked to the widow Empress María, who resided in the convent of las Descalzas Reales. This was not provided to game of the valid from the King and the Duke of Lerma replaced it with his own wife as a waitress more. Thus, despite the opposition of the Duchess of Gandia, the widowed Empress and the own Queen, Felipe III agreed to change and this allowed that Lerma had the Queen watched and controlled. This change is adjudicated on 17 December 1600 and motivated anger, since the 6th of the month, between the King and the Queen, personal situation between them was resolved a few days later but which already motivated in the Queen a situation of distrust about the Duke of Lerma. Also tried the valid that between the Queen and the Governor of the Netherlands, Isabel Clara Eugenia, a direct communication is not possible therefore sent a letter that described the Queen as a woman's child character, spoiled, capricious and thankless it was unhappy the King to this. A new became it was given by the valid and was when he gave order to be sent to the Confessor to the Queen had brought from Germany and was his confessor of always, the Jesuit father Ricardo Haller, back to Germany and instead wanted to that it was occupied by the Franciscan fray Mateo de Burgos. At this the Queen rebelled and before the King indicated that the father Haller got, what convinced the monarch and the Jesuit remained longer with the Queen throughout their stay in Spain. He had failed the valid on this, but if that wasn't enough, he received King prohibiting is to deliver to the Queen any petition or memorial. Also started Lerma in the vicinity of the mother of the Queen, Archduchess María, which was providing monetary subsidies with huge amounts. This made the Archduchess had in very high esteem to the valid of the King, since among other things the correspondence with his daughter was smooth due to the intercession of the valid, but this doesn't mean that some unfavorable to the same letters were lost so the distrust of the Queen was increasing. This was part of his correspondence delivered it to an Austrian Hunter that came with it, Juan Ochs, which meant that the Archduchess María out knowing this through new profiles in the personality of the valid, which he provided his own daughter. Equally Margarita came increasingly to the convent of las Descalzas Reales and there were interviewed with the widowed Empress, in German, conversations that had access by language no more waitress or the Duchess of the Valley.

Thus was the situation when the transfer of the Court to Valladolid 10 January 1601. With this, the valid isolated completely the Queen, already not able to meet so often the Empress María. But among so much adversity he protruded a good news, the first pregnancy of the Queen who gave birth to a Princess, who put the name of Ana Mauricia, in the vallisoletan Benavente, Royal Palace, front Palace to the indication of the private that was born in his palace, something the Queen objected outright way. A thought that invaded the sovereign during her pregnancy was the possibility of that died in childbirth, in which drew up his will, that ten year later added a codicil. This Testament is kept in a closed and sealed envelope while the Duke of Lerma insisted on open it. The valid does not give up in their attempts to keep isolated the King of his wife and with such a function organized for the King endless days of hunting, maximum interest of the sovereign, who did that this was several day away from the Queen or to come to the Palace to the wee hours. In one of these long hunts, the Queen fell ill and the Duke of Lerma convinced the King staying away longer to be not infected. When the King returned, Margarita of Austria was in a situation in which did not recognize her husband, however, a few days after the return of this began the improvement of the Queen. The King acted with feelings of guilt and remained beside his wife, while the own Lerma reduced to the State of health of the sovereign, its intention to isolate it completely. However, named Pedro frankness, count de Vilallonga, Secretary of the Queen, while that to her own uncle, Juan de Borja, who until the death of the Empress María, which took place February 26, 1603, was it the same, Butler of the Queen. As his own wife, because of his age and diseases, already it was useful to watch the Queen, appointed as a new greatest waitress to his sister, the Countess of Lemos. While I was in this situation, the long-awaited heir to the Spanish monarchy was born at last, Holy Friday 8 April 1605 when was born the Prince at nine-thirty in the evening. Another reason of joy for the Queen was that it was bringing greater trust and friendship with Mariana de San José, a nun of the convent of las Descalzas de San Francisco, friendship that was getting stronger when suddenly became the order of the King who again prompted the relocation of the Court to Madrid 4 March 1606. It was already in this capital where he received news of the death of his mother, which occurred April 29, 1608, news that was provided to you by the King and the Queen that it plunged into a deep sadness that even affect your health so that you had to keep bed for a whole day.

The reign of Carlos II

The Queen against the valid

So passed the days until the year 1606 was a turning point in the activity of the Queen concerning the person of the valid. In isolation, the sovereign was acquired awareness of the State of disorder of the realm and of the nepotism and Simony which were practised not so much by the Duke of Lerma and his circle of protected. The Queen was also aware of deep discontent that against Lerma was in some noble circles as well as among the working classes. In this circumstance the valid managed to fray Luis de Aliaga was appoint as new confessor of the King, character from his post was an ally of the Queen against the valid. In a long and unstoppable process, King deposited more and more their with bond in the Queen and asks his opinion on many issues. In this situation it was when in El Escorial were joints that analyzed the economic situation of the monarchy. The Queen told her husband that they were both present at the reading of the conclusions. The valid read his report in which presented a favorable balance of it. When it ended, the Queen intervened and contradicted to the valid while the King, without saying anything, approved of what he said to his wife. This was the first significant intervention of the sovereign against the figure of the Duke of Lerma. This situation gave way to the intervention of Justice against the Duke of Lerma Secretaries as well as part of their protected and so is sent to prison both the Marquis de Villalonga as to Alonso Ramírez de Prado, were collaborators Straits of Lerma, unless this could do nothing to avoid it since I believed that it thus confine their political rivals. However, the Duke of Lerma was wrong. With the collaboration of fray Luis de Aliaga, the Queen said higher, the person more confidence from the Lerma, don Rodrigo Calderón, person of great pride, arrogance, greed and arrogance that showed even before the Queen, he started to ask her husband the removal of don Rodrigo Calderón of the Court. Although the King not agreed, if requested to the Lerma explanations about the attitude of don Rodrigo with the Queen, to which the Duke of Lerma defended his Secretary, question that did not convince the King, despite all, the monarch agreed to don Rodrigo Calderón to retain their posts in the Court, because of the friendship that existed between the Duke and the King. The Queen decided to then act without talking to the King and made contact with the commoner Francisco Juara, man who don Rodrigo Calderón used for more dirty and rough Affairs. These contacts were known to don Rodrigo Calderón of as a result that it paid a mercenary to kill him and it was so. The Queen immediately began an action against don Rodrigo Calderón, who wanted to cover themselves by obtaining a certificate of good vassal, but the King decreed, on behalf of the public morality, its cessation as Secretary and although the Lerma's seemed accessible to such circumstances, the reality was that don Rodrigo Calderón maintained its influence while lasted of the Duke of Lerma in the Court.

In this situation the Queen, pregnant again, gave birth on September 22, 1611, a new son, the infante Alfonso. Three days after the birth, the queen Doña Margarita de Austria, who until then had recovered perfectly, fell ill so that it suffered some attacks of fever that doctors were unable to stop. He is called the doctors most prestigious who unwilling to be practiced a bleeding on the Queen, finally and at the express wish of the King applied such treatment since they failed to stop the fever. The King Meanwhile remained constantly at his side fully convicted since the Queen was in a State of semi-inconsciencia that to not recognize her husband and that he had not heard or saw. In one of the brief moments of conscience applied you the last rites by his confessor, father Haller, and the both the beggar mayor, Diego de Guzmán, it tried to comfort. At 9: 30 in the morning of on October 3, 1611 died the Margarita of Austria, the always beloved wife of King Felipe III.

Margaret of Austria-spiritual life

From his childhood the Queen had shown large doses of piety and religious faith that had led her to think of entering a convent in his Gratz natal if not marriage with whom was the King Felipe III of Spain had crossed at your destination. However, during their lifetime, the Queen kept an intense spiritual life which manifested itself in several ways. On the one hand the continuous contacts, conversations and exchanges letters with significant religious personalities of his time in Spain, in particular the talks with religious, as with sor Mariana de San José. In addition, in Spain the Catholic faith was firmly defended and that motivated even more to the sovereign in matters of personal piety, which is imbued in the reading of the works of figures such as Saint Ignatius of Loyola, Saint Teresa of Jesusor San Juan de Dios. But if there is any order for which the Queen felt special devotion, this was of the company of Jesus, the Jesuits, who admired both his missionary work and the life of its members. For them he thought was founded a school that was universal seminar of the order, the College had its headquarters in Salamanca and was the building known as clergy. Equally, the pious attitude of the Queen made that you think on a foundation for the multitude of mutilated soldiers who existed in Spain at the time of the multiple wars, but this pious idea of the Queen not could be finally carried out. Also it seems that the Queen intervened in various decrees that led to the expulsion of the Moors from the Peninsular territories of the Spanish monarchy, if his performance in this regard was not entirely clear, which made a vote on if it went well the expulsion. This consisted of the construction and endowment of a monastery, which belonged to the Augustinian order and was dedicated to the Encarnación of the word, and which was erected in Madrid, the convent of the incarnation, which was close to the Madrid Alcázar, and which was the founding nun sor Mariana de San José. This Foundation held a special place in the activities of the Queen, who referred to the same large quantities of objects of art and worship as well as monetary endowments that were to finish its construction, which had been the cornerstone on July 10, 1611.


Guzman, D., life and death of Doña Margarita de Austria, Queen of Spain. Madrid, 1616.

PÉREZ MARTÍN, M. J., Margarita of Austria, Queen of Spain. Espasa-Calpe, Madrid, 1961.