Mariana of Austria

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Mariana of Austria
Diego Velázquez 032.jpg
Mariana in 1652 by Velázquez, Prado Museum, Madrid.
Queen consort of Spain
Tenure 7 October 1649 – 17 September 1665
Spouse Philip IV of Spain
Issue Margaret Theresa, Holy Roman Empress
Philip Prospero, Prince of Asturias
Charles II of Spain
Full name
Maria Anna
House House of Habsburg
Father Ferdinand III, Holy Roman Emperor
Mother Maria Anna of Spain
Born (1634-12-24)24 December 1634
Wiener Neustadt, Austria
Died 16 May 1696(1696-05-16) (aged 61)
Uceda Palace, Madrid, Spain
Burial El Escorial
Religion Roman Catholic

Mariana of Austria (Maria Anna; 24 December 1634 – 16 May 1696) was Queen consort of Spain as the second wife of King Philip IV, who was also her maternal uncle. At the death of her husband in 1665, Queen Mariana became regent for her son Charles II, the last Spanish Habsburg, and she remained an influential figure during his reign.

Queen Mariana is also known as a benefactress for funding the Jesuit voyage of Blessed Father Diego Luis de San Vitores and Saint Pedro Calungsod to Guam to spread Christianity to the Chamorro people in the mid-1600s.

Early life[edit]

Maria Anna and her older brother, Ferdinand, by Frans Luycx, c. 1636

Born as Maria Anna on 22 December 1634 in Wiener Neustadt, Austria, she was the granddaughter of Holy Roman Emperor Ferdinand II. Her parents were Crown Prince Ferdinand and Maria Anna of Spain, the sister of Mariana's future husband, King Philip IV of Spain. Her father, who would become Emperor in 1637, was as yet only King of Hungary and Bohemia, and was away for most of his wife's pregnancy campaigning in the Thirty Years' War.Her grandfather Emperor Ferdinand II died when she was 3 and her father became Holy Roman Emperor Ferdinand III.

Maria Anna, was the second of six children, three of which died in early childhood. Her oldest brother, Ferdinand IV of Hungary died young. Only Maria Anna and her younger brother, the future Holy Roman Emperor Leopold I, lived to reach old age.

Marriage[edit]

The reflection of Mariana and Philip IV appears in Las Meninas, by Velázquez.

Maria Anna was destined from her early years to continue the marriage policy between the two branches of the Habsburg family, the Austrian and the Spanish. A policy of inbreeding followed for generations. Following this policy, in 1646 Maria Anna, then eleven years old, was engaged to her Spanish Habsburg first cousin Balthasar Charles, Prince of Asturias, heir of the Spanish crown. However, he died only three months later age 16. With Balthasar Charles's death, Philip IV was left without a male heir and Maria Anna without a fiancé. Philip was widower, as his beautiful and beloved French wife, Elisabeth of France, had just died a few years prior. Philip decided to marry his 14 year old niece himself. After a marriage by proxy, they were wedded on 7 October 1649 in Navalcarnero, near Madrid, and spent their wedding night at El Escorial. From then on, she went by her name in Spanish, Mariana.

Mariana and Philip's marriage produced five children, however, only two lived into adulthood. Their first child was Margaret Theresa, who was born on 12 July 1651; just as her mother did, she went on to marry her maternal uncle Leopold I, Holy Roman Emperor. In 1655, Mariana then had another daughter, Maria Ambrosia de la Concepción; she only lived fifteen days. During this time, there were those at court who wanted Philip to officially name his eldest daughter, Maria Theresa, as his heir, as she was already heir presumptive according to Spanish tradition. Mariana began feeling the pressure to have a son. Eventually, her first son, Philip Prospero, was born on 28 November 1657, who was joyously received. She then gave birth to the Infante Ferdinand Thomas in 1658, but he died a year later in 1659.

Coat of arms of Mariana of Austria as queen consort

Sadly, her son Philip Prospero died in 1661. But that same year, Mariana gave birth to her last child, a son; he was named Charles and was born on 6 November.

Charles was born physically and mentally disabled. Possibly through affliction with mandibular prognathism, he was unable to chew. His tongue was so large that his speech could barely be understood, and he frequently drooled.[citation needed] It has been suggested that he suffered from the endocrine disease acromegaly, or his inbred lineage may have led to a combination of rare genetic disorders such as combined pituitary hormone deficiency and distal renal tubular acidosis.[1] journalConsequently, Charles II is known in Spanish history as El Hechizado ("The Hexed") from the popular belief – to which Charles himself subscribed – that his physical and mental disabilities were caused by "sorcery." The king went so far as to be exorcised.

Mariana by Velázquez[edit]

Mariana by Velázquez, c. 1656.

Spain's most famous painter at the time, Diego Velázquez, stayed in Rome from 1649 to 1650. Philip IV wanted his favourite court painter, now enjoying such a triumph in Rome, to paint his second wife, Mariana, and to give his advice on the renovation of the old royal palace in Madrid, the Alcázar. Consequently, he wished Velázquez to come back to court as soon as possible, but nonetheless the artist delayed his return for another whole year.

The official portrait of Mariana, commissioned by the king, is the most famous one of her, and today it hangs in the Prado Museum, in Madrid. The painting was copied, and one of the copies hangs in the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna. The original portrait was not completed until 1652. Mariana was just nineteen at the time that it was painted. It shows her full length, wearing a black dress with silver braid, and of course adorned with much valuable jewellery: gold necklaces and bracelets, and a large gold brooch on her close-fitting bodice. Her right hand rests on the back of a chair, and she holds a delicate lace starf in her left hand. The picture is bathed in harmonious shades of black and red, although the dramatically drawn curtain has been painted over by another hand.

The composition turns on the focal point of the queen's alabaster skin and rouged face, small and almost doll-like under her hair, which is dressed very wide. Her bust, tightly encased in the bodice, her stiff farthingale and all her fashionable magnificence are rendered true to life by Velázquez, and at the same time he reveals them as a theatrical show concealing the girl's natural physical nature beneath the armour of courtly constraint.

Regency[edit]

Mariana by Velázquez, 1660.

When Philip IV died on 17 September 1665, their only surviving son, Charles, was only 3 years old, and Mariana served as regent, relying on her confessor, Juan Everardo Nithard, for support until his dismissal in 1669. Charles, at most times unable to walk or speak, needed a regent more than most child kings, and was carried as an infant in an adult's arms until he was 10. In 1668, a voyage led by Jesuit missionary San Vitores named the Mariana Islands in the North Pacific after the queen regent.[citation needed] Also that year, Spain entered the War of Devolution; it lost most of its land in the Spanish Netherlands to France. Mariana served as his regent for much of his life. She suffered greatly[citation needed] upon receiving the news of the death of her daughter, the Holy Roman Empress, Margaret Theresa, in Vienna in 1673. In 1675, her son Charles reached the age he needed to be to rule, however, Mariana continued to rule most of the time due to her son's illnesses. In 1677, Mariana was driven from Madrid by John of Austria the Younger, an illegitimate son of Philip IV. The palace coup was due to widespread dissatisfaction at court with her support for her new advisor Fernando de Valenzuela.[citation needed] She went to live in Toledo, but returned to Madrid upon John's death in 1679.

Later life[edit]

Coat of arms of Mariana of Austria as Queen Dowager

That same year, her son Charles II married the French princess Marie Louise d'Orléans. Although he was madly in love with her, their marriage remained childless. Ten years later, in 1689, Marie Louise died under mysterious circumstances. At the time, there were rumours saying that she had been poisoned by the notorious intrigante Olympia Mancini, Countess of Soissons, at the behest of Mariana, the dowager queen, because Marie Louise had not given birth to any children.[citation needed] This is questionable since Mariana and Marie Louise were close and the dowager queen was also devastated at the young Marie Louise's death. It seems likely that the real cause of her death was appendicitis.[citation needed]

Charles married again, this time a German princess: Maria Anna of Neuburg. However, this second marriage was also childless. His new wife was in very bad terms with the Queen Mother,[citation needed] Mariana, who wanted her great-grandson, Joseph Ferdinand of Bavaria, to become the next King of Spain. This led to frequent arguments with her second-daughter-in-law,[citation needed] Maria Anna of Neuburg, who wanted her nephew, Archduke Charles of Austria, to become the next King of Spain. As her great-grandson, Joseph Ferdinand, died childless, Mariana has no descendants today.

Death[edit]

Mariana, as a widow, in her later years, by Claudio Coello, c. 1685–1693

Mariana died of breast cancer on the night of 16 May 1696 at the Uceda Palace in Madrid, Spain.[citation needed]

Issue[edit]

Ancestors[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Gonzalo Alvarez, Francisco C. Ceballos, Celsa Quinteiro (April 15, 2009). The Role of Inbreeding in the Extinction of a European Royal Dynasty 4 (4). PLoS ONE. pp. e5174. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0005174. PMC 2664480. PMID 19367331. Retrieved 2009-04-16. 

Titles[edit]

Mariana of Austria
Born: 23 December 1634 Died: 16 May 1696
Spanish royalty
Vacant
Title last held by
Elisabeth of France
Queen consort of Spain
7 October 1649 – 17 September 1665
Vacant
Title next held by
Marie Louise of Orléans