Biography of Ana de. Princesa de Éboli Mendoza y de la Cerda (1540-1592)

Princess of Eboli. Sánchez Coello.

Spanish Aristocrat, known as the Princess of Eboli; born in Cifuentes (Guadalajara) in June, 1540 and died at Pastrana (Guadalajara) in 1592. Belonging to the influential Mendoza family.

The story has woven in lathe to his person different legends that have earned him worldwide fame. Woman of great beauty, accentuated its originality by placing a patch on the right eye, fact which is explained by the loss of the same in a duel of swords; However, cashew emphasized that it was a birth defect that Doña Ana hid, thus increasing his reputation for extravagant: "what will bring today of Princess eye?", was one of the malicious comments on the Court.

It was only daughter of Diego Hurtado de Mendoza, second count of Melito, and Doña Catalina de Silva, belonging to two of the most important noble houses of Spain. He/She grew up with his parents, fact which deeply marked his character, since it was a marriage unhappy, full of hatred, persecutions and calumnies.

As the only daughter and heiress of two of the first noble houses of Spain, it was married in 1553 with Ruy Gómez de Silva who, although belonging to the Portuguese lower aristocracy, was, for some time, favorite and Minister of utmost confidence of then Prince Felipe. The Mendoza clan planned this wedding to be sure as political ally to the favourite of the future King, at the time that led it Prince so that his friend could join one of the most powerful lineages in Spain. Dona Ana had at that time thirteen years, so it is stipulated that the marriage was completed two years later.

Ruy Gómez remained absent from Spain over the next five years, accompanied the future King to England for her marriage with María Tudor, and then to Flanders. After the two years stipulated, the marriage contract was concluded in Zaragoza without the presence of her husband. As a gift, the father of Doña Ana, then Viceroy of Aragon, gave his daughter and her husband, all States which belonged in the Kingdom of Naples, along with the title of counts of Melito.

During this time Doña Ana remained in Valladolid, seat of the Government of Doña Juana, sister of the King and Regent of Spain during its five years of absence. He/She moved there in a courtly environment and was the center of attention for his youth, beauty, and the position of her husband about already King Felipe II.

In 1557 Ruy Gómez returned to Spain, for few months, to resolve issues of the King. He/She visited his wife in Valladolid and when he/she left it was pregnant. Until the final return of her husband, Doña Ana lived one of the many sad moments of his life. His father left his position as viceroy of Aragon and, scandalously, in love with one of the ladies of the Court, separated from his wife. After a war of hatred and persecution, the Duke ended up retreating to Pastrana with his lover, rid your home and left his daughter and his wife in a critical economic situation. These are refigiaron in the fortress of Simancas, where they were kept locked up, and where Doña Ana fell ill. His mother wrote to Ruy Gómez "[...] is melancholy sadness that brings [...] "." Years later the rupture of the Princess with her parents is total: her mother died twenty years later abandoned by her daughter; his father, away from the Kingdom, held the positions of President of Council of Italy and Viceroy of Catalonia, by Ruy Gómez influence, and by the request of his wife keep it distanced itself.

In 1558, his first son was born, and sixteen months later, in 1559, Ruy Gómez returned to Spain, moment in which the King granted him the title of Prince of Eboli. Husbands did not return to separate during the fourteen remaining years their marriage.

The legend forged around the Princess starts now. It meant it was mistress of the King, which was perfectly debunked the study of don Gregorio Marañón. Doña Ana loved and respected jealously to her husband and the years which lasted his marriage were the most happy and stable life. Everyone in the Court knew that, the marriage having been separated for so many years, Doña Ana had become a jealously possessive woman of her husband. On several occasions he/she avoided spreading the accompanying missions and travel that was sent by the King.

What little is currently known about this time, is that he/she regularly visited the young Queen Elizabeth of Valois and was personal friend of Doña Juana, sister of the King.

In 1562 her husband bought the rich Manor of Pastrana, which had belonged to the grandmother of Princess, also named Hannah; the King granted him the title of Duke of Pastrana and began the work of improvement and enlargement of its States. His accomplishments include having called the Santa Teresa de Jesús ammendment to he/she founded two convents in Pastrana. The permanence of the Saint in the ducal palace caused the shock of the characters of both women, and even the Princess committed the indiscretion of commenting on the contents of the book of his life which was writing Santa Teresa, which gave rise to suspicions of the Inquisition that picked up the manuscript and retained it for ten years.

Palacio of Pastrana, the residence of the Princess of Eboli.

In July 1573 the Prince of Eboli died suddenly in Madrid, at the age of 57. The turbulent nature of the Princess broke out. The day of death he/she decided to leave the world. He/She left immediately for the carmelitas descalzas convent founded in Pastrana, where he/she entered under the name of sister Ana de la Madre de Dios. He/She was then 33 years and several children alive. Antonio Pérez wrote Felipe II over the death of Ruy Gómez: "[..].his wife has taken, in her husband, the habit of a nun from the Carmelitas Descalzas expiring and part tonight to his monastery of Pastrana with a courage and resolution strange [...] Your Majesty knows better than anyone what it loses in Ruy Gómez [...] "."

The pain of the Princess was sincere, although, as defined by Marañon, "a distinct accent theatrical and hysterical". In the first moments Princess respected rules of the convent, but five or six weeks after the death of Ruy Gómez, the prior begged to leave the community because of the worldly life that introduced him. The King ordered him to leave the convent and that work on their States and their incomes. Finally the Carmelite nuns had to leave one night, secretly, her convent of Pastrana.

For several years, Doña Ana remained in Pastrana, plunged into their pain, managing his Duchy and occupying ensure a bright future for their children.

Of their marriage were born eleven children, which reached adult age five. The firstborn was Rodrigo de Silva y Mendoza (1562-1596), who died in the Flanders campaign and was buried in Pastrana. The second living son was Diego de Silva y Mendoza (1564-1630), who after a wild youth, was devoted to poetry and politics. The third was Pedro González de Mendoza (1570-1639), Archbishop and Bishop of Sigüenza, took charge of the lordship of Pastrana following the death of his brother. The daughter more Ana de Silva y Mendoza, was married to Alonso Pérez de Guzmán, 7th Duke of Medina Sidonia (she who gave name to the Coto de Doñana). His daughter also named Hannah, remained with her until his death, and then entered the convent of conceptionist nuns from Pastrana, refounded by her mother following the abandonment of the Carmelites.

In April 1576 the Princess moved back to Madrid. Here begins the novel of his life stage, when the legend of his love with Antonio Pérez, Secretary of Felipe II, who had been as effective head of the ebolista party has been forged. The truth, as revealed Marañón, is that the Princess had interests in all directions and focused all his energies on the aggrandizement of their descendants, and not on the person of Antonio Pérez.

Pérez was a mere instrument for its ambitions. On the one hand, the Princess needed money to finance his Duke of Pastrana and continue with schemes of aggrandizement forged by her husband. Via Antonio Pérez tried to get all the revenues of the Kingdom of Naples and other important gifts. On the other hand, his personal ambition led her to devise an exorbitant plan of marriage of one of his sons with the House of Braganza, pretending that it on the shoulders of this marriage the Crown of Portugal and hindering the dynastic plans own King Felipe II in the neighboring country. This is allied with Antonio Pérez, bribing him and while treating it with money and gifts. The Secretary informed the Princess of all matters, thus violating the State secrets and betraying his own King.

(Almost seventy years later the pretensions of the Princess became a reality. His great-granddaughter Luisa María Francisca de Guzmán, granddaughter of his daughter Ana Silva and the Duke of Medina Sidonia, married to the Duke of Braganza, after the rebellion of 1640 Portugal, became Queen of Portugal as wife of King Juan IV).

The sale of State secrets that Antonio Pérez was doing was discovered by Juan de Escobedo, Secretary of Don Juan of Austria, this gave rise to the plot, hatched by Pérez and the Princess, who would end his life.

Sixteen months after the crime, during the night, the Princess of Eboli and Antonio Pérez were arrested at the same time, everyone in your household. The legend explained these arrests as a result of the jealousy of the King, former lover of the Eboli, learned of his new love with the Secretary. The truth is that the King punished the death of Escobedo with these imprisonments, but fundamentally, the betrayal of his person and own monarchy Spanish; only thus is understood the hardness with that pursued both characters until his death.

The years that elapsed until the death of dona Ana were a continuous weighing. In 1579 the King locked it in the Tower of Pinto, isolated and encircled of armed guards place. Half a year later, the Guard removed and allowed that he/she transferred to Castle Santorcaz, broader, and where their children could meet with her. Subsequently, the King consented to return to freedom, but is limited to the territory of his lordship of Pastrana.

Tower of Pinto (Madrid).

In 1582, heard the monarch that Princess, with its relative freedom, had returned to its usual ostentatious life, he/she blamed her for mismanaging its States, and put a tutor on his property. Doña Ana could not have their own money or direct the Affairs of his Duchy. A year later he/she was treated as a madman and Felipe II ordered to restrict their movements to several rooms of the palacio ducal. Its unique outputs were reduced to a flown Gate located in one of the towers of the Palace, where could only see the square. Keys of the gates kept them his jailers and inmates, accompanied by her youngest daughter, Anna, and a maid, only could communicate with the rest of the Palace by a lathe as the convents of.

In the spring of 1590 occurred the escape of Antonio Pérez in his prison. The furor that this fact resulted in the King was discharged on the Princess. The number of its rooms was reduced to a room with large window overlooking the square also existing gate, was added a lattice.

She herself describes her situation "[...] that put us in dark prison, we need air and the breath to live [...]. Write to my children, to beg his Majesty Dr. Valles, who knows of these chambers and has been in them, declare that one could live in them being as they were with bars, the more now made prison of death, dark and sad [...] "." Since then Doña Ana surrendered to his own despair and, two years later, died, seriously ill, at the age of 52.


Garcia MERCADAL, j.: The Princess of Eboli. (Barcelona: Ed. Ibérica, 1992).

GASPAR wall: The Princess of Eboli. (Alcobendas: circle of friends of history, 1974).

The Princess of Eboli and Pastrana. Conference on the occasion of its centenary. (Guadalajara: AACH editions, 1994).

MARAÑÓN, g.: Antonio Pérez, (Madrid: Espasa-Calpe, 2 vols., 1977).

MIGNET, f.: Antonio Pérez and Felipe II. (Madrid, 1983).

SATAOLALLA LLAMAS, M.: The Princess of Eboli. (Guadalajara, 1995).

SPIVAKOVSKY, e.: "the Princess of Eboli" chronic Nova, University of Granada, 1974, pp. 5-48.

E gladly Carvajal