Friday, November 4, 2011

From Pheasant Island to global World War

King Louis XIV of France meets Philip IV of Spain and his bride Maria Theresa (Philip’s daughter) at Pheasant Island, June 1660.

On Pheasant Island the French princess Elisabeth de Bourbon (age 13) met her Spanish husband Philip IV of Spain (age 10), while at the same time his sister Anne of Austria (age 14) met her husband Louis XIII (age 14), the brother of Elisabeth, on November 25th, 1615. Both couples were already married by proxy the day before.

In 1660 Louis’ son, the (in)famous Sun King Louis XIV of France met his bride Maria Theresa of Spain (daughter of Philip) at the island. After the wedding, Louis wanted to consummate the marriage as quickly as possible, however the new queen's mother-in-law (and aunt) arranged a private consummation instead of the public one that was the custom.

Charles & Marie Louise

In 1679 Philip’s son king Charles II of Spain met his bride Marie Louise d’Orleans at the island. Because of all this inbreeding Charles II was severely intellectually and physically disabled. He was unable to chew, and his tongue was so large that his speech could barely be understood. After the marriage Marie Louise became depressed and died at age 26. Charles remarried, but both marriages were childless. 

After Charles' death in 1700, the lack of a heir led Louis XIV of France (you may know him of his soundbite "L'État, c'est moi") to gain control over the large Spanish empire. This provoked a massive coalition of the English, Dutch, Austrians, Prussians and Portuguese and resulted in the War of the Spanish Succession; a bloody global war fought on four continents and three oceans. The war ended when the Treaty of Utrecht was concluded, 20 km from Amersfoort, in 1713.

next episode: Napoleon?

1 comment:

  1. Okay, first of all, that island looks a lot larger in the painting than in the photograph. Secondly, I feel very badly for the court painter that had to try and make Charles look presentable.

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