Charles IV of Spain
|Portrait of Charles IV by Goya|
|Reign||14 December 1788 – 19 March 1808|
|Spouse||Maria Luisa of Parma|
|Charlotte, Queen of Portugal
Maria Louisa, Queen of Etruria
Ferdinand VII of Spain
Infante Charles, Count of Molina
Maria Isabella, Queen of the Two Sicilies
Infante Francisco de Paula
|Carlos Antonio Pascual Francisco Javier Juan Nepomuceno Jose Januario Serafin Diego|
|House||House of Bourbon|
|Father||Charles III of Spain|
|Mother||Maria Amalia of Saxony|
|Born||11 November 1748
Palace of Portici, Portici, Italy
|Died||20 January 1819
Charles IV (Spanish: Carlos Antonio Pascual Francisco Javier Juan Nepomuceno Jose Januario Serafin Diego; 11 November 1748 – 20 January 1819) was King of Spain from 14 December 1788 until his abdication on 19 March 1808.
Early life 
Charles was the second son of Charles III and his wife Maria Amalia of Saxony. He was born at Naples (11 November 1748), while his father was king of the Two Sicilies. His elder brother Don Felipe was passed over for the two thrones as he was mentally retarded and epileptic. In Naples and Sicily Charles was styled as the Prince of Taranto. He was called el Cazador (the Hunter) due to his preference for sport and hunting over affairs of state. Many considered Charles to be amiable but simple-minded.
In 1788, Charles III died and Charles IV succeeded to the throne. He intended to maintain the policies of his father and maintained his prime minister the Count of Floridablanca in office. Even though he had a profound belief in the sanctity of his office and kept up the appearance of an absolute, powerful monarch, he never took more than a passive part in the direction of his own government. The affairs of government were left to his wife, Maria Luisa, and his prime minister, while he occupied himself with hunting. In 1792, political and personal enemies ousted Floridablanca from office and had him replaced with Pedro Pablo Abarca de Bolea, Count of Aranda . However, in the wake of the war against Republican France, the liberal-leaning Count of Aranda was replaced by Manuel de Godoy, a favourite of the Queen and widely believed to be her lover, who enjoyed the lasting favour of the King.
Godoy continued Aranda's policy of neutrality towards France but after Spain protested against the execution of the deposed king, who was a first cousin of both Charles and Maria Luisa, in 1793, France declared war on Spain. After the declaration Portugal and Spain signed a treaty of mutual protection against France. In 1795 France forced Godoy to conclude an alliance and declare war on the Kingdom of Great Britain.
Spain remained an ally of France and supported the Continental Blockade until the British naval victory at Trafalgar. However, after Napoleon's victory over Prussia in 1807, Godoy again steered Spain back onto the French side. This switching back and forth devalued Charles' position as a trustworthy ally. The return to the French alliance increased Godoy's unpopularity and strengthened the "fernandistas", the supporters of Crown Prince Ferdinand, who favoured a close relationship with the United Kingdom.
Economic troubles caused by wars, the rumours about a sexual relationship between the Queen and the powerful prime minister Godoy, and the King's ineptitude caused the monarchy to decline in popular prestige. Anxious to take over from his father as soon as possible and jealous of the prime minister, Crown Prince Ferdinand attempted to overthrow the King in an aborted coup in 1807.
Riots and a popular revolt at the winter palace Aranjuez in 1808 forced the king to abdicate on 19 March, in favour of his son. For all its popularity, there is no doubt as to what the so-called Motín de Aranjuez represented. Inspired by elements from outside its ranks though it may have been, a section of the army - in this case the royal guard - had sought to impose its views upon the body politic by 'pronouncing' against the régime. Challenged by this call of arms, Godoy and his royal patrons founded that they had few defenders. The officer corps as a whole was disgruntled by the failure of the favourite's reforms to make any difference in its situation, and his orders to resist the French were already being widely disobeyed; much of the upper nobility and the Church was hostile; reformist circles had long since lost all faith in Godoy's political credentials; and the common people were in a state of open revolt. As for Fernando, he was seen as a saviour, the reception that he received when he rode into Madrid on 24 March.
Popular though the new king was, his security was far from assured. Murat had occupied the city only the day before, and, despite increasingly abject attempts to win France's favour, refused to recognise Fernando; still worse, indeed, Carlos IV was persuaded to protest against his abdication and appeal to Napoleon for assistance. The ousted King having appealed to Napoleon for help in regaining his throne, Napoleon summoned both Charles IV and his son to Bayonne in April 1808. With the two rivals openly craving his mediation, the emperor was placed in a ideal position to recast situation as he wanted, Carlos, María Luisa and Fernando alike being summoned to meet him for a conference at Bayonne (as a sop to the former king and queen, Godoy was rescued from captivity and whisked to safety in France). With all the protagonists in the drama united in his presence, Napoleon exploded the waiting bombshell: the rival kings were both to renounce the throne and hand it to the emperor. Napoleon forced both the former King and his son to abdicate, declared the Bourbon dynasty of Spain deposed, and installed his brother Joseph Bonaparte as King Joseph I of Spain. To this demand Carlos made no resistance, and on 5 May, after some days of unedifying squabbles, such feeble defiance as Fernando was willing to offer was also overcome, the throne now being formally signed over to Napoleon in exchange for generous pensions for the royal family and guarantees of territorial and religious integrity for Spain her self.
With the whole of the Peninsula now apparently subjugated, Napoleon appeared to have achieved his every objective. Even as the Bourbons departed to a decorous exile - Carlos, María Luisa and Godoy to Italy, and Fernando, his brother, Carlos, and uncle, Antonio, To Talleyrand's chateau at Valençay - however, the Peninsula was astir.
Setting this aside, however, opportunism was the key. Napoleon had been motivated neither by an altruistic desire to spread the benefits of freedom and enlightenment, nor by a gigantic strategic combination, nor by an overwhelming clan loyalty that made the creation of family courts the centrepiece of French foreign policy. Strategic, ideological and historical factors were present in his thinking, certainly, but in the last resort what mattered was, first, the emperor's character, and, second, the force of circumstance. Forever eager to demonstrate his prowess, impose his stamp upon affairs, and demonstrate his contempt for diplomacy, the emperor was confronted with a situation in which nothing seemed to stand between him and the stroke that was more audacious than anything that he had yet attempted. Never had he been more wrong.
Later life and death 
The ex-King, his Queen and former Prime Minister Godoy were then held captive in France. After the collapse of the regime installed by Napoleon, Ferdinand VII was restored to the throne. The former Charles IV drifted aimlessly about Europe until 1812, when he finally settled in Rome in the Palazzo Barberini. His wife died on 2 January 1819, followed shortly by the former King who died on 20 January of the same year.
Well-meaning and pious, Charles IV found himself floundering in a series of international crises far beyond his limited capacity to handle. He was painted by Francisco Goya in a number of official court portraits which numerous art critics have seen as sly satires on the King's stout vacuity.
Marriage and children 
Charles IV married his first cousin Maria Louisa, the daughter of Philip, Duke of Parma, in 1765. The couple had fourteen children, six of whom survived into adulthood:
- Charles Clement (Carlos Clemente) (19 September 1771 – 7 March 1774)
- Charlotte Joaquina (Carlota Joaquina) (25 April 1775 – 7 January 1830), married Prince John of Portugal, later King John VI
- Maria Louisa (Maria Luisa) (11 September 1777 – 2 July 1782)
- Maria Amalia (9 January 1779 – 22 July 1798), married her uncle Infante Antonio Pascual of Spain in 1795, no issue.
- Charles Dominic (Carlos Domingo) (5 March 1780 – 11 June 1783)
- Maria Louisa (Maria Luisa) (6 July 1782 – 13 March 1824), married Louis, heir of Bourbon-Parma and became Queen consort of Etruria and Duchess of Lucca
- Charles Francis (Carlos Francisco) (5 September 1783 – 11 November 1784)
- Philip Francis (Felipe Francisco) (5 September 1783 – 18 October 1784)
- Ferdinand (Fernando) (14 October 1784 – 29 September 1833), succeeded his father as King of Spain
- Charles (Carlos), Count of Molina (29 March 1788 – 10 March 1855), later the first Carlist pretender
- Maria Isabella (6 June 1789 – 13 September 1848), married Francis I, King of the Two Sicilies
- Maria Teresa (16 February 1791 – 2 November 1794)
- Felipe Maria (28 March 1792 – 1 March 1794)
- Francisco Antonio de Paula, Duke of Cadiz (10 March 1794 – 13 August 1865)
Titles and styles 
- 11 November 1748 – 10 August 1759 His Royal Highness the Prince of Taranto
- 10 August 1759 – 14 December 1788 His Royal Highness the Prince of the Asturias
- 14 December 1788 – 19 March 1808 His Majesty the King
- 19 March 1808 – 20 January 1819 His Majesty King Carlos
- Almanach royal, p 34
- Stanley G. Payne, History of Spain of Portugal, Vol 2,University of Wisconsin Press., 1973, ISBN 978-0299062842, page 415
- Supplemeto á Collecção dos tratados, convenções, contratos e actos. V4. pg 10–17
- Payne, page 420
- Charles Esdaile (14 June 2003). The Peninsular War: A New History. Palgrave Macmillan. p. 34. ISBN 978-1-4039-6231-7. Retrieved 27 March 2013.
- Esdaile 2003, p. 35.
- Griffin, Julia Ortiz; Griffin, William D. (2007). Spain and Portugal:A Reference Guide from the Renaissance to the Present. Facts on File. p. 151. ISBN 978-0816045921.
- Griffin, page 152
- Manuel de Godoy#Exile
- The Royal Favorite: Manuel Francisco Domingo de Godoy, Prince of the Peace
- Edward J. Olszewski - Exorcising Goya's "The Family of Charles IV"
- Historia del Reinado de Carlos IV, by General Gomez de Arteche (5 vols.), in the Historia General de España de la Real Academia de la Historia (Madrid, 1892, etc.).
- Historiaantiqua. Isabel II; (Spanish) (2008)
Charles IV of Spain
Cadet branch of the Capetian dynastyBorn: 11 November 1748 Died: 20 January 1819
|King of Spain
Title last held byPrince Ferdinand
|Prince of Asturias