Biography of emperatriz de Austria María de Austria (1528-1603)

Daughter of the Emperor Carlos V and Isabel of Portugal. It was Empress herself when her husband, Maximiliano II agreed to the imperial throne in 1564. Born at the Royal Alcazar of Madrid, on June 21, 1528, and died at the monastery of las Descalzas Reales, also in Madrid, February 26, 1603. It received the name of María as a memento of her maternal grandmother, the Queen of Portugal María of Aragon and Castile, which in turn was the daughter of the Catholic monarchs.

It was the third stem of Carlos V and the legitimate second, after Felipe II, with his wife Isabel of Portugal. It also was the second daughter of the Emperor but the first legitimate, since who in 1522 was born the bastard of Margaret of Parma. He/She was born preterm after that his father went to Germany, to which embarked in the port of Barcelona from July 27, 1529 and which did not return until April 1533, so he/she met his daughter when he/she was almost five years, but whose growth, education and health was promptly informed by a schoolmaster of the PrincePedro González de Mendoza. He/She visited girl along with his brothers Felipe and Juana to his paternal grandmother, queen Doña Juana, on its closure of Tordesillas. Empress Elisabeth died May 11, 1539, and both he/she and her sister Juana were the recipients of the affection of his brother in the absence of the mother figure. This resulted in a special relationship of affection between them that was sustained throughout their lives. This situation was ejemplarizada when María seriously ill in the autumn of 1544 and his brother, who had already married María de Portugal, decided the transfer of all the Court toward the place that was most suitable for his sister, so he/she healed quickly.

María at the marriage of Carlos V policy

María entry in the plans of his father through the resource of the matrimonial policy occurred in that same year 1544. The reason was given when the peace of Crespy with France was signed in September 1544. Carlos V thought its consolidation through two double options for the Duke of Orléans, who was the second son of Francisco I of France, King of France. One of these options was the marriage with his daughter María, along with the possession of the Netherlands when Carlos died. In October the Prince Felipe received the news of the Treaty in Valladolid and received a Commission from the Emperor, his father, so polled his sister about this possibility, this took place in November in Madrid. This option was however finally dropped, but a few years later María again entering the political plans of his father when it concluded a new marriage, this time if held for her. April 1548 Felipe informed the courts of box, which were gathered in Valladolid, his March towards a trip he/she took through Europe. To assume the Regency of Castile, Archduke Maximiliano came in September from Vienna. This was a cousin of María, since his father, Fernando of Austria, was the brother of the Emperor Carlos, and in April of that year he/she received the honorary title of King of Bohemia. Person of wide culture, spoke Spanish and five other languages, including latin, and was also passionate about the art of the Goldsmith. His marriage to María in a manner agreed by the parents of the intending spouses in the city of Augsburg was concluded, and the aim of this marriage was two-fold. On the one hand it compensated to Maximiliano of intention that his uncle Carlos had and which appointed Emperor to succeed Fernando, the father of Maximiliano, instead of this. On the other hand also is wanted to avoid in this way, and also by way of reward for avoiding it, trends that Maximiliano had expressed towards Protestantism at times. Upon arriving in Castile, the betrothal in Valladolid were held September 15, two days after he/she arrived. Once seated, Felipe departed for Germany on October 2. María, it was when performing its function of Regent, which both his father and his brother, assigned to it when he/she gave birth to her first child. In total, during his marriage he/she bore 15 children, nine males and six females, among the latter to Ana, who was the fourth wife of her uncle Felipe II between 1570 and 1580. Among all his sons only eight finally reached adulthood. Felipe returned to Spain in 1551, to fall and once it arrived Maximiliano and María departed for Central Europe and settled in what was practically his fixed residence, the castle of Prague. He/She already does not return to Castile until 1581.

María emperatriz

In 1564 Maximiliano agreed to the imperial throne with the name of Maximiliano II. This happened since her father, who was the Emperor Fernando I, died on 25 July of that year. Maximiliano also became King of Hungary and received the title of King of Bohemia effectively. Between 1551 and 1564, the marriage took a discreet life, in which María had to hold the old trends Libertines and filoprotestantes of her husband, something that María, fervent Catholic, was not willing to consent. Shortly before the ascent to the imperial throne, marriage sent to Spain, since thus the King Felipe II, requested it to two older male children, the Archdukes Rodolfo and Ernesto, of twelve and eleven years. They arrived in Barcelona the 17 September 1564, when their parents were already emperors, but had left until this occurs. Felipe II felt great appreciation to his nephews and his mind seemed that that was some of them, due to the ill health of his heir, the infante don Carlos, was his replacement in the territories of the Spanish monarchy. Although this did not materialize, Rodolfo became emperor while Ernesto was Governor of the Netherlands. The possibility of any inherit Felipe II, as well as the constant presence of his wife, made that Maximiliano carried out a policy more filoespanola, so it left aside definitively any possible trend that was favorable to Protestantism. The Emperor and husband of María died on 12 October 1576. The pain of the Empress was very large and in fact long attended the Church where her husband was buried and watched your body day and sometimes at night in the middle of sentences. Before this the widowed Empress raised the return to Spain. But it was not until 1581 when returned to Madrid.

Last years in Madrid

Left Prague on August 3, 1580 and during the trip is notified of the death of her daughter, Queen Anne, which took place on October 26, 1580. The trip went by Moravia, Veneto and Genoa. There, his entourage embarkation in the galleys of Giovanni Andrea Doria headed to Barcelona. Finally arrived to Madrid on March 7, 1581. Aside from the emotional and sentimental reasons, it had two added reasons. On the one hand it did by his daughter Margaret, since it was intended that he/she would be the fifth woman of his brother Felipe II, when in 1580 died the Queen and daughter of María, Ana; but the woman refused to such an idea and finally entered the monastery of the Descalzas Reales in Madrid. Another reason for the return, was the ascent to the throne of Portugal of Felipe II. Both went to Lisbon, where they arrived in April of 1582, and the King intended to remain there as you Regent, something which María not agreed, but waited to arrive Alberto Lisbon, another of the sons of María and nephew of the King who had come with her sister Anna, when this was the case with his uncle, who finally became charge lusa Regency. Again María and Margarita were in Madrid in the spring of 1583. Once in the capital of the widowed Empress stayed at the convent of las Descalzas Reales, which his sister Juana founded when it widow in 1553 Juan de Portugal. In Madrid, the Empress developed an important cultural work, since it brought from Central Europe to his master of Chapel and celebrated composer, maestro Tomas Luis de Victoria and also occurred with the Argensola brothers (see: Juan Bartolomé and Lupercio). Also had that done once again assumed duties of Regency in Castile when it was in Madrid as representative of his brother, as the both the Court departed for Zaragoza in January 1585 for the wedding of the daughter of Felipe II, Catalina Micaela, with the Duke of Savoy. In September 1598 died the King Felipe II, his brother. In 1599 María son of his brother Felipe II and his daughter presented their respects in the Alcázar of Madrid the new King, Felipe III, Ana. Then he/she entered the convent of las Descalzas Reales. Here without entering the religious order as if made his daughter Margarita effectively, led an exemplary life and was also buried in the same. Other cultural aspect of their stay in Madrid was its sponsorship of the Jesuits, this started already in Central Europe. In fact in Madrid he/she gave much of his fortune to the College which they had founded in 1560. However, and this was a point on the end of his life, not all children were compliant with such sponsorship, so it initiated lawsuits against his decision, so that until 1609, when María was dead, did not come off a final ruling, which was favorable to him. February 26, 1603 he/she had died in the monastery and later his grave was located in the High Choir of the same.


CABRERA DE CÓRDOBA, relationship of the things happened in the Court of Spain from 1599 to 1614. Madrid, 1857.

KAMEN, H., Felipe of Spain. Twenty-first century of Spain Editores, Madrid, 1997.