Сontent | Library | Late Middle Ages

On 9 March 1526 Charles V, Holy Roman emperor and ruler of Spain, Mexico, the Netherlands and much of Italy, rode into the bustling and fast-growing city of Seville for the first time. Still in his traveling clothes and covered with dust, he dismounted in the courtyard of the royal castle and strode to the room where Princess Isabella of Portugal, his cousin, was waiting. It had been arranged that the two were to marry, and they were betrothed at once. Charles then retired to change and rest until one o'clock the following morning, when he and Isabella were married. After the nuptial mass, they retired together to bed.

The royal couple were in their prime - the empress was twenty-three; her husband was twenty-six and already the father of an illegitimate daughter, Margaret of Parma - and they spent their first summer together in the south of Spain. For most of the time they lived in the Alhambra, the beautiful palace of the Moorish kings in Granada, which Charles ordered to be extended with a new suite of rooms. In fact, the new palace was never finished, and Charles never returned to Granada, but it was there, in the sweltering heat of the Andalusian summer and amid the bustle of building work, that Philip II [3] was conceived. In December his parents moved back to the more familiar surroundings of Old Castile and it was at Valladolid, effectively Charles V's capital, in the building called to this day '"the palace of Philip II," that the child was born on 21 May 1527, in the presence of his father and the leading nobles. As is often the case with a first child, the birth was difficult - labor lasted thirteen hours - and his mother asked for a veil to be placed over her face so that her agony would not be seen. "I may die, but I will not cry out" was her firm rebuke to a midwife who urged her to give full vent to her feelings. Two weeks later the child was baptized, and when the ceremony was completed the royal herald cried out in a loud voice three times: "Don Felipe, by the grace of God prince of Spain". But the infant prince was heir to far more than Spain.

Dynastic accident had brought together in the person of Charles V four separate inheritances, each of them a major political entity. From his father's father, Charles received the ancestral estates of the Habsburgs in southeastern Germany and (after 1519) the title of Holy Roman emperor; from his father's mother he inherited the Burgundian lands in the Netherlands. From his mother's mother, Charles received Castile and the Castilian conquests in North Africa, the Caribbean and Central America; from his mother's father he inherited Aragon and the Aragonese overseas dominions of Naples, Sicily and Sardinia. In the course of his reign Charles was to add several more territories to this impressive core of patrimonial states: in the Netherlands he annexed several provinces in the northeast; in Italy he gained the duchy of Lombardy and in North Africa he conquered Tunis (both in 1535); most spectacular of all, in America only a few thousand Spaniards conquered in twenty years (1519 - 1539) an area eight times the size of Castile, inhabited by one-fifth of the world's population.

At the moment of Philip II's birth, however, most of this lay in the future. In 1527 Charles V was at war with France and with of the independence princes of Italy (including the pope); the Turks had just overrun Hungary, driving into exile [4] Charles's sister (Mary, queen of Hungary and Bohemia) and killing her husband, the king. The previous year had seen the formation of the first anti-Habsburg alliance between France and the Turks. The internal situation in Charles's dominions also gave cause for concern. In the Netherlands, the main towns of Brabant, the richest and most influential province, defied government orders and refused to vote money for the war. In Castile the representative (the Cortes) likewise refused to provide the funds requested and it had to be disbanded. Charles V dared not risk a confrontation because only seven years before, in May 1520, a major rebellion had broken out against his authority and above all against his taxes. The revolt, known as the comunero revolt, involved most of the large towns of Castile and was only suppressed in 1521 when the nobles, fearing social upheaval, threw their weight behind the crown. Following the rebellion, there were executions, banishments and indemnities; but Charles had learned his lesson. The comuneros had made some reasonable demands, and the victorious emperor was prepared to make some concessions: they had asked him to come to Spain, to learn to speak Castilian, and to make use of Castilian advisers (all of which he did at once); they had asked him to marry a Portuguese princess (which he did in 1526); and they had asked that any children born of the union should be brought up and educated in Spain (which they were, and all the children also eventually died in Spain). Philip II is often criticized for having been brought up to be "too Spanish". With the memories of the great comunero revolt so fresh in men's minds, Charles V had no choice.

The need to keep Philip in Spain was reinforced by the fact that his father, the emperor was often absent. From 1529 to 1533 he was in Italy and Germany, trying to organize the defense of Christendom against the Turks. In 1535 - 1536 he was away again, conquering Tunis. In 1539 - 1541 he was in the Netherlands. And after he left for northern Europe again in May 1543 he was not able to return to Spain until 1556. [5] Philip II thus spent many of his formative years apart from his father and, in 1539, when he was only twelve, his mother died. The young prince was obliged by court protocol to lead the funeral cortege from Toledo, where the empress died, to the vault of her ancestors at Granada[1]. Meanwhile Charles V shut himself up in monastery to mourn for eight weeks.

Until 1535, Philip was brought up with his sister Maria (only one year younger than he was) in the household of his mother. Life there seems to have been casual and undemanding, for at the age of seven he still could neither read nor write. Shocked by such backwardness, a member of the prince's entourage composed a special book to teach him his letters, and another to teach him Castilian grammar (since young pupils found the standard grammar of the great humanist Antonio de Nebrija too difficult). The same courtier also translated Erasmus's classic The Education of a Christian Prince (composed in honor of Charles V in 1516) into Castilian. But this promising beginning was undermined by the choice of Juan Martinez de Siliceo as Philip's tutor, above the heads of such impressive candidates as Juan Luis Vives (the noted Valencian humanist who had been tutor to Mary Tudor in the 1520's). Siliceo, although a scholar of distinction, was not firm enough with his charge for the emperor's liking. "He was not, and certainly is not now, the person who is most suitable for your studies," Charles complained. Nevertheless, Siliceo (who was a cleric) later became Philip's confessor. "I hope he will not want to appease you as much in matters of conscience as he did in matters of study" was Charles's comment. It was to remedy Siliceo's softness that, in 1541, further educational appointments were made: Cristobal Calvete de Estrella, a classical [6] scholar, was to teach the prince Latin and Greek; Honorato Juan was to teach him mathematics and architecture; and Juan Gines de Sepulveda was to teach him geography and history. Unfortunately, no one was appointed to teach the prince modern languages, and although he learned in time to understand French, Italian and Portuguese, he could never manage to speak them. Toward the end of his life he took special care to make sure that his heir apparent, later Philip III, could speak French. The old king claimed that, although he could understand it perfectly, he could never get the pronunciation right and therefore felt too embarrassed to speak. (This embarrassment explains Philip's oft-cited failure to make a speech in French, which he had prepared, at the abdication ceremony of Charles V in 1555. He only managed to utter two words; the rest had to be read out by someone else.)

The new tutors also taught the other young members of the royal household who were the prince's companions - about fifty pages, almost all of them the sons of Spanish noblemen. All activities in the life of Philip II, from 1 March 1535 onward, took place within the arena of his own personal household. He was seldom alone. Within five years, this household had grown to one hundred and ninety-one persons, including the fifty-one illustrious pages, eight chaplains, a kitchen staff and sundry cleaners. When the household moved, it required twenty-seven mules and six carts to transport all its equipment (one cart for the chapel, one for the tapestry work, three for the privy chamber, one for other things).

Philip's new household was under the stern, strict and Arguseyed "governor" appointed by Charles V: Don Juan de Zuniga. Whereas the tutors were in charge of the things of the mind - moral attitudes, letters, virtues, devotions - the governor looked after physical education and behavior. Until 1535 this had been done by the prince's mother, who sometimes had to smack her son when he was naughty. Zuniga continued the same firm regime, thereby provoking the prince to complain to his father about his governor's severity. But Zuniga was [7] supported by the emperor: "If he gave in to your every caprice," the prince was told by his father, "you would be like the rest of mankind and would have no one to tell you the truth". A special book was composed, at the emperor's command, describing how the last prince of Spain, Don Juan, the eldest son of the Catholic kings, was brought up and Zuniga was told to follow the same regimen "so that my son will live and die in the same way as the prince his great-uncle" (another concession to the comuneros?).

Zuniga did his job well. In 1543, when Philip was made regent of Spain, his father noted that "up till now, thanks be to God, there is nothing obvious to criticize in you." Philip had become, in the words of Martin A. S. Hume, "a Spaniard among Spaniards": he ate, drank, dressed and acted like a Spanish grandee. He learned, under Zuniga's watchful eye, to do everything with led everyone who met him, even those who came upon him incognito and alone (for instance, while hunting), to great him with respect. Zuniga also taught him self-control and self-discipline: Philip became adept at concealing his feelings and restraining his emotions.

Although a great deal of the prince's day was taken up with reading and study, the account books of his household and the letters from his tutors to Charles V reveal a good deal about Philip's developing tastes. From his earliest years, there is evidence of his love of nature. When his household moved about, one mule was required to carry a number of caged birds belonging to the prince; two years later, Zuniga informed the emperor that the prince was happiest out of doors, and was content to do anything "provided he could do it in the country-side." Indoors, he liked to play [8] "a book of large sheets of plain paper" was purchased "which His Highness asked for so that he could paint in it."

One lifetime addiction which appeared early was music. Orders were issued in 1540 to repair the organs in the prince's chapel and from that time onward Philip refused to travel unless accompanied by his own organs, his own minstrels and his own choristers, so that his ears would hear only music of the highest quality. His sister Joanna learned to play the viol and the vihuela (a sort of lute) with considerable skill, and the prince probably also learned to play. He learned to hunt, too. In 1530, when only three, the prince was asking every day to go to the woods at Aranjuez in order to try out his small crossbow (and when he could not, he quarreled with his sister Maria over which of them owned more clothes). Ten years later he was no less enthusiastic: "He went on horseback into the hills for a good six hours," Zuniga wrote to the emperor, adding grumpily: "It only seemed like two hours to him, but it seemed like more than twelve to me... His only real pastime is shooting game with the crossbow." The household accounts bristle with orders to supply more crossbows, more arrows, more javelins for the hunt. Wolves and bears, as well as deer and rabbits, were shot down. Before long the emperor found it necessary to protect his game against the ravages of his son, and Philip was only allowed to kill a fixed number of animals every week. To make up for disappointments like this, the prince's valet was given thirty ducats a month as pocket money expressly to buy "things which will please His Highness." Some of these are revealing: in the course of 1540, for example, he bought jewels, perfumes, fencing swords, jousting lances (for "running at the ring"), and "a cup of Venetian glass, which was purchased when His Highness was ill with diarrhea."

The prince's health was not good, and it was a source of constant concern. Throughout his life, Philip looked sickly - his fair hair and pale skin gave him an almost albino coloring - but he avoided major illnesses until the summer of 1535, [9] when he was unable to do any lessons for two months and almost died from what appears to have been salmonella poisoning. Philip's diet was rich, but extremely monotonous. There were only two meals a day (lunch and dinner) and the choice of dishes was exactly the same for each: fried chicken, partridge or pigeon, a piece of game, roast chicken, a slice of venison and a hunk of beef (about four pounds of it), except on Fridays when there was fish. There were soups and while bread with every meal. Fruit was available at lunchtime and salads in the evening but hardly any vegetables were consumed, and the household accounts show that little fruit was actually taken. Later on, Philip obtained express permission from the pope to eat meat even on Fridays and during Lent on account o his weak constitution. "We do not wish to risk changing our diet," he told the pope. He only abandoned his meat on Good Friday. Not surprisingly, the Prudent King seems to have suffered constantly from constipation, and the accounts of his doctors show that does of turpentine, emetic and clysters had to be administered frequently. A new chamber pot was provided for the royal privy ever fortnight, this purchase forming the most regular item in the household account books.

Philip displayed the same fascination with the state of his health as did his great-grandson Lois XIV (who, as is well known, perused the logbook kept by his doctors as he sat upon his commode). In the inventories made of the king's possessions after his death, we find many items that reflect his concern for health and, even more, for personal cleanliness. He had an eyeglass made of gold, a toothbrush made of ebony inlaid with gold toothpick, and a special box holding all his tooth-cleaning brushes and sponges, bowls to hold toothpowder and toothpaste, special instruments with which to clean out the ears, scrape the tongue, and relieve aching teeth. There was a hairbrush and a brush to clean combs, a bowl for heating water for shaving, special nail scissors and a manicure set, and the inevitable "silver goblet for the purges to be administered to [10] His Majesty." There were also phials and boxes of special substances for medicinal purposes: rhinoceros horn, coral, amber, balsam, coconut, and "rings made of bone which are said to be good for hemorrhoids." Apart from piles, and the occasional bout of food poisoning, Philip II seems to have suffered from asthma, arthritis (from 1563 onward), gallstones (from time to time in later life) and malaria (producing periodic fevers after the 1560's at least). But in spite of all this, the king was quite handsome. A Scottish observer noted in 1554 that he was medium to small in height, and continued:

Of visage he is well-favoured with a broad forehead, and grey eyes, straight-nosed and manly countenance. From the forehead to the point of his chin, his face growth small; his pace is princely, and gait so straight and upright as he loseth no inch of height; with a yellow head and a yellow beard. And, thus to conclude, he is so well-proportioned of bodly, arm, leg and every other limb to the same, as nature cannot work a more perfect pattern.

It is thus that he appears in the early portraits by Titian and Antonis Mor: diffident, perhaps, but handsome; and every inch a king.

Philip II's intellectual development matched his physical progress. The letters he wrote reveal the development of his distinctive literary style and his even more distinctive script, aptly described as an "all but illegible, loopy handwriting - itself almost a visual image of the circles of command and power - endlessly returning back to the writer" (see the next two pages).

Philip's intellectual interests broadened rapidly under the influence of his new tutors. In May 1541 Calvete de Estrella bought a large number of books in Salamanca for his prince. The majority of these were either classical authors or works of theology - which should not surprise us in view of the fact that almost three-quarters of the works published during the first [11] century of printing concerned religion. But there were other volumes purchased, such as the Adages, the Querella pacis, and the Praise of Folly by Erasmus, all bought in 1542; Aesop's Fables (in Greek and Latin); and Durer on geometry and architecture. Later, there were more adventurous items, many of them later forbidden by the Inquisition: in 1543, 144 maravedis were paid in Valencia, where Moorish influence was still strong, "for a book of the Koran which His Highness ordered to be bought". Two years later he purchased books on architecture by Serlio and Virtuvius (both written in Italian), the collected works of Erasmus (in ten volumes), the Immortality of the Soul by Pico della Mirandola, the De revolutionibus of Copernicus (published only two years before), and works by Marsilio Ficino and Johan Reuchlin. In 1547 there was a bulk purchase of one hundred and thirty-five books from the Aldine press: one hundred and fifteen in Greek, even in Latin (including Pliny's Natural History) and thirteen in Italian (including Dante and Petrarch). The same consignment of books included works on music, mathematics, astronomy, history, geography, magic, theology and philosophy, raining from Agricola's De rebus metallica to Reuchlin's De arte cabbalistica. By the time of his death, Philip II possessed at least two hundred books on "magic" - hermetic, astrological and cabalistic - and it was partly this interest in the occult (to which we shall return) that made it necessary for him to appoint a special censor to "expurgate" the library at the Escorial in order to keep out the Inquisition in 1585. Thanks to the erudition of Calvete de Estrella, Philip II received a wide and enlightened education, and the books he bought as a boy always remained on his shelves. They provided him with that encyclopedic knowledge which appears in so many of the marginal notes he scribbled on the reports of his secretaries. A reference to historical precedent, a fact of geography that had been overlooked, a deeper understanding of the ways of men, often saved Philip, and his ministers, from error. [14]

Philip II remained a great reader all is life, but in his early years he also kept up a practical interest in tapestry weaving and in needlework. He danced, too, he played card games, he learned to play quoits (a new game in Spain, it would seem, since special sieves had to be purchased "to shake sand on the table where His Highness played quoits in the German manner"), and he had a number of buffoons and dwarfs to entertain him. The young prince also spent a lot of time, as he was to do throughout his life, in prayer. At Pentecost 1541 he received his fist communion, and from then onward hу paid close attention to his chapel. Some years later, seventy-seven ducats were given to his chaplain and his court painter, who had, respectively, written and lavishly illustrated a book of vespers and other offices for the prince to use in his chapel. For Holy Week, he always went on retreat to some monastery founded by the royal family - again, a lifelong habit - although in these early years he took plenty of hunting equipment along with him so that the journey to and from the retreat would be more enjoyable. He was also much given, at this stage, to tournaments and jousting. Some of these were very grand occasions, modeled upon the heroic combats narrated in chivalric novels such as Amadis of Gaul, one of Philip II's favorite books. Fact, however, seldom lived up to fiction. On one occasion in 1544 a great tournament was arranged on an island in the river Pisuerga near Valladolid. It ended badly. The prince and his team, splendid in their armor, set out in a small boat for the island, but it sank under their weight. After a time it was refloated and the tournament had to be called off. In July 1546, there was to be another spectacular combat, this time on an island in a lake at Guadalajara. Again it ended badly, for the prince injured both his legs and had to walk with a stick for some weeks afterward. But Spanish celebrations were famous for failure: visitors from abroad during Charles V's reign were always critical of them. It was only [15] when the prince went to the Netherlands, and especially to the remarkable "festivals of Binche," that he discovered what spectacles really were.

The great voyage to the Netherlands, which was chronicled in a large tome written by Calvete de Estrella, marked a milestone in the development of Philip II. Already he was maturing fast. In 1543, at the first time and he had married his first wife, Maria Manuela, princess of Portugal. Before long he also faced his first rebellion: in May 1545 news arrived at the Spanish court of a revolt in Peru by the European colonists. The rebellion was serious, in view of the risk of Peru's breaking entirely free of Spanish control, and so Prince Philip convoked his leading advisers to consider the correct policy to follow. The duke of Alba put forward the solution he was to suggest later on other, similar occasions: to send an army and crush the rebels by force. The other councillors pointed out that this was impossible. Peru was over three thousand miles from Spain, and the rebels controlled the sea. Alba was overruled, although his policy, which was founded on his deep distaste for the insult to royal authority posed by a revolt, may well have appealed to the young prince. Twenty years later, in a different context, Philip was to adopt it. But in 1545, at the age of eighteen, the final decision was not taken by him but his itinerant father, the emperor.

Charles V was absent from Spain but he was not idle: in 1543 he occupied the lands of the duke of Gelderland, his only rival in the Netherlands; in 1544 he defeated and made peace with the king of France; in 1545 he made peace with the Turks; and in 1546 - 1547 he defeated the German Lutherans, who had opposed him impunity for twenty years. With so many successes behind him, the emperor had the leisure to consider the possibility of transferring his enormous empire to his son, and it 1548 he gave orders for Prince Philip to leave Spain and join him in the Low Countries, there to [16] meet his future Netherlands subjects and to receive practical instruction in the art of government from his father.

In fact, the political education of the prince had already begun by letter. Charles V was painfully aware, as were all his less exalted contemporaries, of the fragility of line. His own father had died in 1506 (when Charles was only six) and his mother had almost immediately passed irrevocably into insanity. Charles's first will and testament, in French, was composed in 1522 "in the knowledge that nothing is more certain than death and nothing more uncertain than the time of it". In 1554, his last will and testament (significantly, composed in Spanish) contained the same phrase. It was in this spirit that the emperor wrote four sets "instructions" to guide his son and heir should death suddenly claim him. The first was written at Madrid in November 1539, just before the emperor set out for the Netherlands; the second was written at Palamos, north of Barcelona, in May 1543, as Charles left Spain to direct the war against France; the third and longest was written at Augsburg in January 1548, after the defeat of the German Protestants; the fourth and shortest was written in Brussels in 1556 as the emperor prepared to return to Spain to die. These papers of advice reveal, better than almost any other source, the political skill and competence of Charles V. The instructions, especially those of 1543, are a synthesis of the art of government and a blueprint for the actions of a good prince. They constitute, in the words of the great Belgian scholar L. P. Gachard, "a monument of prudence, of foresight, of consummate experience in government, of profound knowledge of men and of the world. They would, by themselves, suffice to give Charles V the reputation of being the leading politician of his time."

The instructions of 1543 were the most important, and they were designed to do two things: to lay down precise rules for Prince Philip's conduct of government, and to offer advice on the problems that were likely to arise. Written in the emperor's [17] own hand, the documents sparkled with incisive and subtle insights into the art of government and the intricacies of sixteenth-century politics. Immediate problems, such as the strengths and weaknesses of individual councilors, were discussed in detail - for on these matters the young prince had no one else whose judgment he could trust. The duke of Alba, for example, who was twenty years older than Philip and who was to play a prominent role in government until his death in 1582, was admitted to be the best military commander in Spain, but the emperor advised his son to keep him out of the administration because of his dynastic ambition: "Не has always laid claim to great things and tried to make more of everything that he has, although he always does it with great humility and self-abasement. Beware, my son, of what he does with you who are much younger." Charles V warned his son about the factions that had grown up among his servants, one of them led by the duke of Alva, and urged him to avoid becoming identified with any single faction or faction leader: "Transact business with many, and do not bind yourself to or become dependent upon any individual, because although it may save time, it does no good." There were many similar pieces of general advice, which the young prince was to take to heart: never trust anyone, never show your emotions, always have fixed hours in which to appear regularly in public, be devout and God-fearing at all times, be just in all things.

The emperor did not stop here. He also gave advice about more intimate matters. He reminded Philip that his sisters were now growing into women and should be treated with appropriate decorum and respect for their sex; he asked that the prince get rid of the buffoons and simpletons who filled the court (a piece of advice Philip did not follow); and he advised his son to avoid excessive sexual indulgence (an imminent problem, since Philip was about to marry his cousin of the same age, Maria Manuela of Portugal). "When you are with your wife... be careful and do not overstrain yourself at the beginning, in order to avoid physical damage, because [18] besides the fact that it [intercourse] may be damaging both to the growth of the body to its strength, it often induces such weakness that it prevents the siring of children and may even kill you." Philip must remember, the emperor continued, that he was not marrying to enjoy sex, but to produce heirs. And "for this reason you must be very careful when you are with your wife. And because this is somewhat difficult, the remedy is to keep away from her as much as you can. And so I beg and advise you strongly that, as soon as you have consummated the marriage, you should leave her on some pretext, and do not go back to see her too quickly or too often; and when you do go back, let it be only for a short time." Naturally the emperor did not leave matters there. He told Philip's governor, Don Juan de Zuniga's, to make sure that this advice was followed (and he told Philip of Zuniga's orders). He also placed his daughter-in-law in the care of relatives, who had strict orders "to keep her away from the prince except for the times which his life and health can stand."

This remarkable piece of paternal advice concluded with an injunction that Philip was not to use his separation from his wife as an excuse to consort with other women: "Since you have not, I am sure, had relations with any other woman than your wife, do not commit any further wickedness after your marriage because... apart from the discomfort and ills that may ensue from it between you and her, it will destroy the effect of keeping you away from her."

The young prince appears to have followed this advice to the letter. The reports of Zuniga's to the emperor, which normally listed Philip's shortcoming in meticulous detail, recorded no sexual excesses until the birth of Don Carlos, the young couple's only child, put an end to the princess's life in July 1545. In almost all other things, too, the emperor's advice was religiously followed, which is not surprising, given the credentials of the adviser: no other person had as good a title to be believed and respected. Charles V knew the problems facing a prince of Spain as no one else did or could, and the fruit [19] of his experience had a uniquely forceful influence on his son, who kept the 1543 instructions all his life.

The longer instruction of 1548 was also full of valuable advice on governmental methods, personal behavior and dynastic affairs. This time the emperor envisaged a marriage between his son and a daughter of the king of France (actually effected in 1560), between his daughter Maria and his nephew Maximilian (effected in 1548) and between his other daughter Joanna and another nephew, Prince John of Portugal (effected in 1552). There was also a bird's-eye view of the European political scene, underlining the policies and developments most advantageous to the Habsburg empire.

But, the emperor began to wonder, could any of this make sense to his son, who had never set foot outside Spain? Philip knew nothing about the geography of Europe, nor of the extent of his future inheritance. And the people of Charles's empire beyond Spain had never seen their future sovereign. The emperor therefore resolved that his son should make a "Grand Tour" through Italy and Germany to the Netherlands where, on the one hand, he could be recognized as heir apparent by the provinces of the Low Countries and, on the other, he could be introduced directly to the problems of government and diplomacy by his father. Accordingly, Prince Philip left Valladolid, the town where he was born, in October 1548, and traveled via Barcelona and Genoa to Milan, capital of the state of Lombardy. The prince spent Christmas and the New Year there, before moving on through Trent, Innsbruck, Munich and Heidelberg to Brussels, the capital of the Habsburg Netherlands, where the prince was reunited with his father on 1 April 1549.

Something of a cloud lay over the meeting, however. Some observers believed that the prince had behaved badly on his journey, standing on ceremony and appearing cold and arrogant. An English observer of the prince's entry into Mantua [20] noted that when the duke of Ferrara and the Venetian ambassador came in person to pay their respects, "the prince made small countenance to anie of them, whereupon he obtayned throughe all Italye a name of insolencye." There had also been reports from Zuniga in Spain that the prince was acquiring bad habits. In a remarkable letter the emperor singled out for criticism "the disorder and the time wasted in getting up and going to bed, in dressing and undressing... because although at present it may not be of great inconvenience, it bodes ill for the future if all this becomes a habit and custom." Charles then launched into a long list of crimes his son had committed: he had become cool towards his wife, he came home very late from hunting, he was becoming negligent in his devotions and in confessions; and then there was "what happened in Cigales at the house of Perejion and going out these by night," and "other little things that have begun during my absence." The emperor intended to take a strong line on these matters (although perhaps is severity was mitigated by his own short-comings: before his son could reach the Netherlands, Charles had an affair with an eighteen-year-old girl from Regensburg, the fruit of which was Don John of Austria, born in February 1547).

For several reasons, therefore, Charles V was glad to have his son once more under his direct scrutiny, and he labored to improve his manners, his understanding of politics and his knowledge of the Low Countries. In 1549 the prince, accompanied by his father and the leading courtiers, made a leisurely tour of the Netherlands to meet his future subjects. This time, it would seem that everyone was favorably impressed. Philip now appeared affable, he danced well, he flirted with the ladies, and did his best to drink as much beer as the Netherlands nobles. And he was certainly favorably impressed with the Low Countries. He was delighted by the formal and ornamental gardens and the distinctive red-brick and black-slate building style, both of which he successfully introduced into Spain on his return; and he fell in love with Flemish art and music, [21] sending picture like van der Weyden's Descent from the Cross back to Spain and collecting Netherlands musicians and instruments for his household. But what made the most lasting impact was the obvious wealth of the cities of Flanders and Brabant, especially Antwerp, and the sumptuous magnificence of the old Burgundian court, especially as displayed in spectacles like the festivals held at the prince, an elaborate presentation of "the Castile of Darkness," a passage from Amadis of Gaul, was staged in the magnificent grounds of the palace, the property of Queen Mary, sister of Charles V and his regent in the Netherlands. Even twenty years later, men still talked about court festivities as being better or worse than "the festivals of Binche." Philip II never forgot them.

A major rebellion broke out in Germany, where the protestant princes managed to drive out the emperor's troops. At the same time the French invaded Italy and the Turkish fleet attacked Spain's bases in North Africa. Although he mobilized more than 150,000 troops in 1552, Charles V was unable to defeat his enemies. In 1554 he therefore ordered work to begin [22] at Yuste to build a small palace to which he could retire and spend his last years on earth in spiritual meditation. In the same year he bestowed the kingdoms of Naples and Sicily on his son, and organized Philip's marriage to his second cousin, Mary Tudor, queen of England. Philip became "king consort." In October 1555 Charles made him ruler of the Netherlands, and in January 1556, king o Spain. The emperor had abdicated.

Yet Philip's apprenticeship was still not quite over: for some time he continued to stand in the shadow of his father. The psychological burden of being the son of such a great man must always have been oppressive; but for his first year as king, Philip's position was intolerable because Charles V continued to reside in Brussels until the end of 1556, openly directing his son's policies. Even after that, from his retreat a Yuste, he bombarded the young king with orders, opinions and peremptory letters of advice on what to do. When Philip desired to make peace with his enemies in order to save money, the emperor overruled him. (And, in this, events proved the emperor right, for in the war that followed, the Habsburgs' armies gained complete control of Italy and inflicted two crushing defeats on the French: at Saint-Quentin in August 1557 and at Gravelines in July 1558.) Philip II only ceased to be an "apprentice" and escaped from his father's tutelage in September 1558 when, clutching his wife's crucifix and his own scourge, his eyes fixed emperor on Titian's great Gloria painting, the emperor Charles V died. His son was at last free to govern his great inheritance in whatever way he chose.

[1] The journey was memorable for others besides the prince. The body of the empress decomposed badly in the summer heat so that when the coffin was opened at Granada for a final identification before burial, the marquis of Lombay could not be sure that the corpse was that of his late sovereign. Appalled by this example of ‘earthly corruption’, Lombay renounced the court, took Holy Orders, and rose to become the third general of the Jesuits and, posthumously, Saint Francis Borgia.