Elisabeth of Valois


Elisabeth of Valois

Infobox Spanish Royalty|majesty|consort
name = Elisabeth of Valois
title = Queen consort of Spain



caption =Élisabeth de Valois, by Sofonisba Anguissola, 1565
reign = 1559 - October 3, 1568
spouse = Philip II
issue = Infanta Isabella
Infanta Catherine
royal house = House of Valois
othertitles =
father = Henry II of France
mother = Catherine de' Medici
full name =
date of birth = birth date|1545|4|2
place of birth =
date of death = death date and age|1568|10|3|1545|4|13
place of death =|

Élisabeth of Valois (April 2 1545 – October 3 1568) was the eldest daughter of Henry II of France and Catherine de' Medici.She was born in the Chateau of Fontainebleau. Her childhood was spent mostly in the company of her future sister-in-law, Mary, Queen of Scots, who was being raised at the French court. The two would remain close friends for the rest of their lives. Elisabeth was described as being shy, timid and very much in awe of her formidable mother; although there is also evidence which shows Catherine to have been loving and tender toward Elisabeth.

Elisabeth married Philip II of Spain ("Philip the Catholic"), son of Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor and Isabella of Portugal in 1559 in Guadalajara, Spain. The marriage was a consequence of the Peace of Cateau Cambrésis (1559).His second wife, Mary I of England had recently died; making Elisabeth of Valois Philip's third wife.Elisabeth had originally been betrothed to Philip's son, Don Carlos, but political complications unexpectedly necessitated her marriage to Philip instead. Despite the significant age difference between them, Philip was very attached to Elisabeth, staying close by her side even when she was ill with smallpox. Elisabeth's first pregnancy in 1564 ended with a miscarriage of twin girls. She later gave birth to Infanta Isabella Clara Eugenia of Spain on August 12 [1566] , and then to Isabella's younger sister Catherine Michelle of Spain October 10 1567. Elisabeth had another miscarriage on October 3 1568, and died the same day, along with her newborn infant son.

Ancestors

The Infanta Isabella Clara Eugenia became the major vehicle of her father's unsuccessful claims to the thrones of the Kingdom of England and France. Philip married her to her Habsburg cousin, Archduke Albert (1559-1621), who was made regent of the Spanish Netherlands in 1598. Their joint reign coincided with a golden age for the Habsburg Netherlands.

Isabella bore Albert three children, Archdukes Philip (born 21 October 1605) and Albert (born 27 January 1607) and Archduchess Anna Mauritia; however, all three died in infancy.

After Albrecht died, the archduchess ruled as a governor in the name of her nephew, the king of Spain, for the last twelve years of her life.

Catherine Michelle of Spain, Élisabeth's younger daughter, was married to Carlo Emanuele I, Duke of Savoy, and was the mother of Vittorio Amedeo.

Sofonisba Anguissola, the first Italian woman artist to win international recognition, served as Élisabeth's lady-in-waiting from 1559 to 1569, and painted Élisabeth's portrait.

Friedrich Schiller's romantic tragedy linking Don Carlos of Spain with Élisabeth of Valois in a doomed romance (without historical basis) furnished the subject of Giuseppe Verdi's "Don Carlos".


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