The children of Philip III of Spain (1578–1621) and Margarita de Austria (1584–1611) inherited great potential power: the abilities to declare war or make peace, to advocate religious doctrine, and to exert lasting influence over art, culture, and taste. The leadership provided by this generation raises the question of how royal families learned the roles they played in court, country, and on the international stage. In Raised to Rule, Hoffman presents a deeply researched and stimulating study of the formative experiences of children in the royal households of early modern Spain.
Five of the eight children born to the royal couple survived to adulthood: the future king Philip IV; the future queen regent of France, Anne of Austria; the Cardinal-Infante Fernando, who rose to international fame as a general during the Thirty Years’ War; the future Empress María, briefly known as the princess of England during Charles Stuart’s 1623 pursuit of a “Spanish match”; and the Infante Carlos, the constant companion of Philip IV and his heir-presumptive for nearly a decade, who was named governor of Portugal but died before he could serve. Hoffman elucidates the formal instruction and informal training that prepared these individuals to shape the history of their country and influence all of Europe.
For the heirs of Philip and Margarita, developmental experiences took place within the social structures and patronage systems of the royal court—a place that proved to be influential and precarious, where public and private relationships overlapped and political metaphors of family relationships reflected the reality of public service based on personal ties. Drawing on a wide variety of sources, including palace rulebooks, chronicles, household accounts, a journal of the royal chapel, diplomatic and personal correspondence, published and unpublished advice to kings, and treatises on the education of princes, Hoffman illustrates the formation of the leadership of Spain and early modern perceptions of the proper education and function of royalty.
Hoffman’s Raised to Rule provides an insightful account of the education of the Spanish Habsburgs from 1601 to 1634. Her work fills a significant historiographical gap and offers new revelations into a previously neglected aspect of royal life.