Peter Smith

Publications, Lectures and Other Stuff

The Short Sad Life of Margarita Teresa of Spain (1651-1673)

I am just reading Simon Winder’s excellent book on the Habsburgs (Danubia, 2013), and he reminded me of the short sad life of the Spanish princess Margarita Teresa (1651-1673). The daughter of Felipe IV, she was married off to the Holy Roman Emperor, her Austrian Habsburg maternal uncle and paternal cousin Leopold I, when she was 15. During their marriage, she always called him uncle. Despite his being 11 years older than her, the couple shared interests in the arts, and were apparently very happily married. She gave birth to 4 children, 3 of whom died in infancy, and — weakened by miscarriages — she died at the age of 21. Leopold was heartbroken.

Her early death, and her succession of miscarriages and children who died in infancy are a reminder of how precarious life was even for the most powerful families in Early Modern Europe.

She is depicted in a number of famous paintings, including by Velzquez (she is portrayed as a child in his ‘The Maids of Honour’ [1656]).

For a little more detail see:


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This entry was posted on February 6, 2014 by in History and tagged , , , .
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