Margaret of Austria, Queen of Spain

Margaret of Austria, Queen of Spain
Margaret of Austria
Queen consort of Spain and Portugal
Margaret of Austria, 1609, by Bartolomé González y Serrano
Spouse Philip III of Spain
Anne, Queen of France
Philip IV of Spain
Maria Anna, Holy Roman Empress
Ferdinand of Austria, Cardinal
House House of Habsburg
Father Charles II of Austria
Mother Maria Anna of Bavaria
Born 25 December 1584
Graz, Austria
Died 3 October 1611 (aged 26)
San Lorenzo de El Escorial, Spain
Burial El Escorial
Religion Roman Catholicism

Margaret of Austria (25 December 1584 – 3 October 1611) was Queen consort of Spain and Portugal by her marriage to King Philip III.



Margaret was the daughter of Archduke Charles II of Austria, the son of Emperor Ferdinand I, and Maria Anna of Bavaria. Her elder brother was Archduke Ferdinand, who succeeded as Emperor in 1619. Two of her sisters, Anna and Constance, through their subsequent marriages to King Sigismund III Vasa, became Queens of Poland.[1][2]

Life as Queen of Spain

Coat of arms of Margaret of Austria, Queen of Spain.

Margaret married Philip III of Spain, her first cousin, once-removed, on 18 April 1599 and became a very influential figure at her husband's court. Philip had an "affectionate, close relationship" with Margaret, and paid her additional attention after she bore him a son in 1605.[3]

Margaret also was a great patroness of the arts. Margaret was considered by contemporaries[who?] to be a very pious Catholic and "astute and very skillful" in her political dealings.[4]

Alongside of the Empress Maria (1528–1603), daughter of Emperor Charles V and widow of Emperor Maximilian II, and the latter's daughter, Archduchess Margaret (1567–1633), who lived as a nun in Madrid, Queen Margaret formed a circle of women wielding considerable influence over the king.[5] They emphasised Spain's status as a Catholic power acting in the interest of Catholic Europe, and also highlighted the unity of the House of Habsburg.[5] They were successful, for example, in convincing Philip to provide financial support to Ferdinand II from 1600 onwards.[3]

The pro-Austrian camp was opposed by the Duke of Lerma, the King's chief minister, who advocated Spain to pursue her own course of action independently of religious or dynastic ties. Queen Margaret was "melancholic" and unhappy about the influence of Duke, whom she considered corrupt, over her husband,[4] and continually fought him for influence over the King. In this conflict, she was supported by her husband's confessor, Father Luis de Aliaga, her daughter Maria Anna's confessor, the Franciscan friar Juan de Santa María - who was felt by contemporaries[who?] to have an excessive influence over the King at the end of his life - and her own favourite, Mariana de San José, prioress of the Monasteria la Encarnación.[6] The Duke was eventually removed from power in 1618, though only after her own death.

Margaret died while giving birth to her youngest child, Alfonso.[7] Her husband never remarried and died ten years later.


Margaret with her eldest daughter Infanta Maria Anna.

Margaret and Philip were the parents of eight children, of whom five survived into adulthood:

Name Picture Birth Death Notes
Anne Peter Paul Rubens - Portrait of Anne of Austria - WGA20365.jpg 22 September 1601 20 January 1666 Married Louis XIII, King of France (1601–1643) in 1615. Had issue.
Maria 1603 Maria.jpg 1 February 1603 2 February 1603 Died in childhood.
Philip InfanteFelipe.JPG 8 April 1605 17 September 1665 Married (1) Elisabeth of Bourbon (1603–1644) in 1615. Had issue. Married (2) Mariana of Austria (1634–1696) in 1649. Had issue.
Maria Anna InfantaMariaAnna.JPG 18 August 1606 13 May 1646 Married Ferdinand III, Holy Roman Emperor (1608–1657) in 1631. Had issue.
Charles 1607 Carlos.JPG 14 September 1607 30 July 1632 Died unmarried.
Ferdinand CardinalInfante.JPG 16 May 1609 9 November 1641 The Cardinal-Infante. He had an illegitimate daughter (nun).
Margarita Francisca 1610 Margarethe.JPG 24 May 1610 11 March 1617 Died in childhood.
Alfonso Mauricio 1611 Alfons.JPG 22 September 1611 16 September 1612 Died in childhood.



  • Magdalena S. Sánchez, Pious and Political Images of a Hapsburg Woman at the Court of Philip III (1598–1621). in: Magdalena S. Sánchez and Alain Saint-Saëns (ed.), Spanish women in the golden age: images and realities. Greenwood Publishing Group (1996).


  1. ^ Margaret of Austria
  2. ^ Ancestors of Margaret of Austria
  3. ^ a b Sánchez, p. 100.
  4. ^ a b Sánchez, p. 98-99.
  5. ^ a b Sánchez, p.91.
  6. ^ Sánchez, p.97.
  7. ^ Descendants of Margaret of Austria
Margaret of Austria, Queen of Spain
Born: 25 December 1584 Died: 3 October 1611
Spanish royalty
Preceded by
Anne of Austria
Queen Consort of Spain
Queen Consort of Portugal

Succeeded by
Elisabeth of France

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