Сontent | Library | Late Middle Ages

If there is no way to avoid an engagement before I arrive, I cannot enjoin you too strongly to inform me post haste.[1]

(eve of the battle of St Quentin)

By the time Philip returned to Valladolid in the autumn of 1551 the world was again moving towards war. After three years of feasts, gallantry and women, the prince found it difficult to adjust to the sober reality of politics. The week after arriving in Valladolid he went to Tordesillas for the customary visit to his grandmother. The visits were a painful duty. Juana did not always recognise those who came to see her. For years she had refused to attend mass, or go to confession or communion. She identified all her attendants as devils. Her conversation seemed normal until, suddenly, she would say something which showed that she was not in her right mind.[2] After the visit he went on to stay with his sister Juana at her palace in Toro, 'where I think I shall relax for a week or ten days before going to work in Madrid'.[3]

In fact he remained most of the month at Toro. During his stay he put on a grand tourney at Torrelobaton, in which two groups, each with sixty knights, jousted against each other. Those who took part were 'men at arms I found here'.[4] The entertainment went on for two whole weeks in late September.[5] He was to repeat the exercise from time to time in later years. The Renaissance cult of chivalry, one of his most passionate interests, was reflected too in his collections of weapons and armour, and above all in his reading. Yet despite the excitement of the jousting, Philip felt morose. He had returned home only to be immediately separated from his [50] sister Maria, to whom he had always felt particularly close. After the tourney, he wrote to Maximilian from Medina del Campo, 'I felt so depressed that I felt at once... Today I felt Toro, feeling absolutely alone'.[6]

The rest of the year was spent alternating between Madrid and Aranjuez. Ну spent the Christmas of 1551 at Toro. The day after New Year he wrote to Maximilian: 'I came here for the holidays and after them I shall return to Madrid. Before that, my sister will be married'.[7] His youngest sister, sixteen years old and strikingly attractive, was due to marry prince Joao of Portugal. About to lose her as well, Philip made sure he could spend the maximum amount of time in her company. 'At Easter I'm going to Toro', he wrote in April...[8] At this juncture international events broke into his domestic preoccupations. The situation abroad was rapidly deteriorating.
Distracted by his ill-health, too confident over his victory in Germany and the secure succession agreed at Augsburg, the emperor was caught unawares by his enemies. In August 1551 the Turks captured Tripoli and prepared to move in the Mediterranean. In October the French forged an alliance with the German Protestants. In 1552 the whole scenario exploded.[9] Maurice of Saxony, on whose friendship Charles had depended heavily, joined the other Protestant princes and came to an agreement with Charles's principal enemy, France. Henry II of France immediately laid claim to the Habsburg lands in Italy. He also sent an army into Lorraine while the German princes massed another army in Franconia. The emperor was at Innsbruck, without sufficient forces. His brother Ferdinand would not or could not help him. Virtually alone, in late May 1552 Charles was forced to flee for safety over the Brenner pass, in the midst of a raging snowstorm.
Philip tried to prepare the treasury for the crisis. A Cortes had been summoned to meet in October 1551. It did not give substantial help, so another session was called for the end of the year. When news from Germany reached Spain there was indignation; the news of his father's humiliation angered Philip. Those who remembered Maurice as a friend were the most indignant. 'What Maurice did was an act of great villainy', Ruy Gomez protested.[10] Several Castilian nobles, among them Alba, set off at once to help the emperor and Philip intended to follow their example. In June he wrotе to Andrea Doria (who was ferrying Alba to Italy): 'I have decided to go to serve His Majesty, and to his effect I am writing the present letter to implore you. When you arrive in Genoa you will do me a very great favour by coming back at once with the galleys, without losing a moment, so that I can cross over'.[11] In the event, no doubt dissuaded by his father, he stayed behind and dedicated himself to raising men and money. Letters were sent throughout Spain to raise volunteer soldiers and cash; the Church was tapped for money.
No sooner was all this set on foot than the prince convoked the joint [51] Cortes of Aragon for July 1552 at Monzon. Madrid was his base in the first half of 1552. During these months he and Ruy Gomez put into effect in Castile an overhaul of the government and a purge of institutions. The measures (as we shall see, in Chapter Four) brought about the first clashes between Gomez and the duke of Alba. Philip took a break at Easter, which he spent with his sister at Toro, with courtesy stops at Tordesillas to see his grandmother. In mind-June he took leave of Juana, who set out towards Portugal for her marriage to prince Joao. Philip went in the opposite direction, arriving at Monzon on 30 June.
He braved heat and discomfort to assist at the Cortes. With good reason, he never had favourable memories of his stays at Monzon. This time he remained there a full six months, giving him an opportunity to play a closer role in the affairs of the crown of Aragon. Catalans, Valencians and Aragonese used the occasion to direct their petitions to him. The opening speech was made on 5 July. Subsequent discussions, as often happened, dragged on. To escape from the boredom of the setting, the prince spent his leisure hours hunting and work was left to the end of the day. 'His Highness returned from hunting at about ten, supped at once, and afterwards he and the duke of Maqueda read your letter and were a great while discussing the matter... It is now past midnight'.[12] Sometimes he prince returned too late for work. A secretary apologised to Perez for not replying to a letter sooner: 'because'.[13] The Cortes did not close formally until 27 December. Philip stayed to spend Christmas at Monzon, then took his leave and headed for Saragossa. He spent an enjoyable New Year's Day in the Aragonese capital, then returned with the court to Madrid in mid-January 1553.
From October 1552 the emperor had been besieging the city of Metz, then in French hands with a large Imperial army commanded by Alba. But Charles was forced to raise the siege at the beginning of January 1553

[1]To duke of Savoy, Cambrai, 9 Aug. 1557, Bl Add.28264 f.26.

[2]See the report on her made by Francisco de Borja to Philip in 1554: Monumenta Historica Societatis Iesu: Borgia, Madrid 1908, IIII, 161.

[3]Philip to Maximilian, 16 Sept. 1551. HHSA Spanien Hofkorrespondenz, karton 1, mappe 4 f.23.

[4]Philip to Maximilian, 25 Sept. 1551. Ibid. f.27.

[5]Vandenesse, IV, 7.

[6]Philip to Maximilian, 29 Sept. 1551. HHSA Spanien Hofkorrespondenz, karton 1, mappe 4 f.29.

[7]Philip to Maximilian, 2 Jan. 1552. Ibid. f.39.

[8]Philip to Maximilian, 5 Apr. 1552. Ibid. f.44.

[9]Braudel, II, 923.

[10]Ruy Gomez to Eraso, 19 May 1552, AGS:E leg.89 f.131. Maurice was killed in a campaign in Germany in 1553.

[11]Philip to Andrea Doria, Madrid, 12 June 1552, ibid. leg.92 f.106.

[12]Zayas to Perez, 8 Nov. 1552, in Gonzalez Palencia, I, 135.

[13]Juan Vazquez to Perez, 26 Nov. 1552, ibid., II, 443.