Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Biography - Queen Anne of Austria & Spain 1601–1666 marries son of Marie de Medici

1621 Anne of Austria (1601–1666) by Frans Pourbus the younger

Anne of Austria (1601–1666) was Queen consort of France & Navarre, regent for her son, Louis XIV of France, & a Spanish Infanta by birth. During her regency (1643–1651) Cardinal Mazarin served as France's chief minister.

Anne of Austria, Queen of France as a child by Juan Pantoja de la Cruz (1553–1608)

Born at Benavente Palace in Spain, & baptised Ana María Mauricia, she was the eldest daughter of 2 Habsburg parents, Philip III of Spain & Margaret of Austria. She held the titles of Infanta of Spain & of Portugal & Archduchess of Austria. Despite having been a native of Spain, she was referred to as "of Austria," because the Habsburgs were originally from Austria.

Anne d'Autriche Reine de France

Anne was raised mainly at the Royal Alcazar of Madrid. Unusually, Anne grew up close to her parents, & lived a rather calm & orderly life compared to other royal children. Her parents were very religious; & she often visited monasteries as a child. When she was 10 in 1611, she lost her mother, who died in childbirth. As the oldest girl, Anne did her best to take care of her younger siblings, who referred to her with affection as mother.

Anne of Austria (1601–1666) as a young Princess

Anne was betrothed at age 11 to Louis XIII. Her father gave her a dowry of 500,000 crowns plus costly jewels. For fear that Louis XIII would die early, the Spanish court stipulated that Anne would return to Spain with her dowry, jewels, & wardrobe, if he did die.

Anne of Austria (1601–1666) as a young Princess

The financial pre-nuptual agreement, between nations rather than bride & groom, concluded, Anne was saluted as the Queen of France, "a dignity which her Highness accepts with marvellous dignity & gravity."  By agreement, Anne renounced all succession rights of herself & her descendants by Louis, with a provision that, she would resume her rights should she be left a childless widow.

Anne of Austria (1601–1666) Femme de Louis XIII Roy de France et de Navarre

In 1615, Louis & Anne were married by proxy in Burgos, while Louis's sister, Elizabeth, & Anne's brother, Philip IV of Spain, were married by proxy in Bordeaux. These marriages followed the tradition of a matrimonial cementing of military, financial, & political alliances between France & Spain.   Anne was lively & beautiful during her youth. She was also a noted equestrian. At the time, Anne had many admirers, including the handsome Duke of Buckingham, although her intimates believed their flirtations remained chaste.

1621-1625 Anne of Austria (1601–1666) by Peter Paul Rubens

Anne & Louis, both 14 years old, were pressured to consummate the marriage in order to forestall any possibility of future annulment, but Louis wasn't interested & ignored his bride.

1622 Anne of Austria (1601–1666) by Peter Paul Rubens (1577-1640) Felipe III's daughter  married young Louis XIII (son of Marie de Medici)

Louis's domineering mother, Marie de' Medici, continued to conduct herself as queen of France, without showing any deference to her young, new daughter-in-law. Newlywed Anne, surrounded by her entourage of high-born Spanish ladies-in-waiting, continued to live according to Spanish etiquette & did not attempt to  improve her French.

1622-1625 Anne of Austria (1601–1666) by Peter Paul Rubens

In 1617, Louis conspired with Charles d'Albert, duc de Luynes, to dispense with the influence of his overbearing mother in a palace coup d'état, having her favorite Concino Concini assassinated in April of that year.

Anne of Austria (1601–1666) attributed to Jean de Saint-Igny

During the years he was influential at court, the duc de Luynes attempted to remedy the formal distance between Louis & his queen. He knew they would need an heir.  He sent away the Spanish ladies & replaced them with French attendants, notably the princesse de Conti & Marie de Rohan-Montbazon, his wife, & organized court events that would bring the couple together under amiable circumstances.

1649 Anne of Austria (1601–1666)

With her Spanish friends dispatched back to their homeland, Anne began to dress & speak in the French manner; & in 1619, Luynes pressed the King to bed his queen. Some affection did develop, as Louis became distracted during a serious illness of his queen.

Anne of Austria (1601–1666) with child

In 1622, while playing with her ladies, Anne fell on a staircase & suffered her 2nd miscarriage. Louis blamed her & was angry with Madame de Luynes for having encouraged the queen in what was seen as negligence.  A series of continuing miscarriages disenchanted the King & put a chill on their relationship.  

Anne of Austria (1601–1666) and baby Louis

The King began to have less tolerance for the influence the duchesse de Luynes had over Anne.  Luynes died in 1621. The King's attention was monopolized by his war against the Protestants.

Anne of Austria (1601–1666) and little Louis XIV

Louis turned now to Cardinal Richelieu as his advisor, who was his 1st minister from 1624. Richelieu's foreign policy of struggle against the Hapsburgs, who surrounded France on 2 fronts, inevitably created tension between himself & Anne, who continued to remain childless for another 16 years. 

Louis XIII, Anne of Austria, and their son Louis XIV, flanked by Cardinal Richelieu and the Duchesse de Chevreuse.

Under the influence of the duchesse de Chevreuse, the queen let herself be drawn into political opposition to Richelieu & became embroiled in several intrigues against his policies.

Anne of Austria with her sons the future King Louis XIV of France, and Philippe I, Duke of Orléans.

Vague rumors of her betrayal circulated in the court, notably her supposed involvement with the conspiracies of the comte de Chalais that Chevreuse organized in 1626.

Anne of Austria (1601–1666) in mourning holding a portrait of Louis XIV

In 1635, France declared war on Spain, placing the Queen in an untenable position. Her secret correspondence with her brother Philip IV of Spain passed beyond the bonds of sisterly affection. In August 1637, Anne came under so much suspicion, that Richelieu forced her to sign covenants regarding her correspondence, which was henceforth open to court inspection. 

Anne of Austria (1601–1666) by Charles Beaubrun (1604-1692)

Surprisingly, in such a climate of distrust, the queen became pregnant once more, a circumstance that contemporary gossip attributed to a single stormy night that prevented Louis from traveling & obliged him to spend the night with the queen.

Louis XIV was born on 5 September 1638, securing the Bourbon line. At this time, Anne was 37. The official newspaper Gazette de France called the birth "a marvel when it was least expected." One German diplomat would refer to the King's "quite extraordinary birth" 40 years after the event.  The birth soon afterwards of a 2nd son failed to re-establish any affection between the royal couple. Anne's 2nd son, Philippe de France, Duke of Anjou & would found the modern House of Orléans.

Anne of Austria by Charles Beaubrun (1604-1692)

Richelieu made Louis XIII a gift of his palatial hôtel, the Palais Cardinal, north of the Louvre, in 1636; but the king never took possession of it. Anne fled to the Louvre to install herself there with her 2 small sons, & remained as regent (hence the name Palais-Royal that the structure still carries). Louis tried to prevent Anne from obtaining the regency after his death, which came in 1643, not long after that of Richelieu.

Anne was named regent upon her husband's death in spite of her late husband's wishes. With the aid of Pierre Séguier, she had the Parlement de Paris revoke the will of the late king, which would have limited her powers. Their 4-year-old son was crowned King Louis XIV of France. Anne assumed the regency but to general surprise entrusted the government to the chief minister, Cardinal Mazarin, who was a protegé of Cardinal Richelieu. Mazarin left the hôtel Tuboeuf to take up residence at the Palais Royal near Queen Anne. Before long he was believed to be her lover.

Anne with her niece & daughter-in-law, Maria Theresa of Spain, & grandson, Louis. Two Queens of France Anne d'Autriche with her niece & daughter-in-law, Marie-Thérèse d'Espagne, who holds her son.

With Mazarin's support, Anne overcame a revolt of aristocrats, led by Louis II de Bourbon, Prince de Condé, that became known as the Fronde. In 1651, when her son Louis XIV officially came of age, her regency legally ended. However, she kept much power & influence over her son until the death of Mazarin in 1661. In 1659, the war with Spain ended with the Treaty of the Pyrenees. The following year, peace was cemented by the marriage of the young King to Anne's niece, the Spanish Hapsburg princess Maria Theresa of Spain. In 1661, the same year as the death of her friend & confidant Mazarin, an heir to the throne was born, Anne's 1st grandchild Louis de France. Soon Anne retired to the convent of Val-de-Grâce, where she died of breast cancer 5 years later. Her lady-in-waiting Madame de Motteville wrote the story of the queen's life in her Mémoires d'Anne d'Autriche.