Philip II of Spain


Name King Philip II of Spain
Date of Birth 21st May 1527
Who was he?
Son of Charles I of Spain (also Charles V Holy Roman Emperor) and Isabella of Portugal.Philip was King of Spain between 1556 and 1598, King of Naples between 1554 and 1598, and husband of Elizabeth’ half sister Mary I between 1554 and her death in 1558.
How was he linked to Elizabeth I SuitorPhilip wanted to keep his link with England so, when Mary died, he sent a marriage proposal to Elizabeth. Elizabeth did not answer straight away and was considering other offers of marriage. Philip eventually gave up on the idea and Elizabeth finally became his enemy when English ships plundered Spanish ships coming back from the New World and also attacked a Spanish port. Philip and Elizabeth eventually “came to blows” with the Spanish Armada and war.
What happened to him? Philip died in 1598 and was succeeded by one of his sons, Philip III of Spain. The Philippines are named after Philip II.
Death He died of fever, gout and dropsy at the age of 71.
Quotes “God, who has given me so many Kingdoms to govern, has not given me a son fit to govern them.”Philip II of Spain
Marriages and Children Philip married four times:-

  • Maria Manuela, Princess of Portugal – Maria died giving birth to their only child, Carlos Prince of Asturias.
  • Mary I of England – Mary died in 1558 and died childless.
  • Elisabeth of Valois – 5 children but only 2 survived: Isabella Clara Eugenia of Spain and Catherine Michelle of Spain. Elisabeth of Valois died after miscarrying a son.
  • Anna of Austria – 4 children: Ferdinand Prince of Asturias, Carlos Lorenzo who died young, Diego Prince of Asturias, Philip (Philip III of Spain) and Maria who died young.
Books The Letters of Philip II of Spain and “Renaissance Man” – an article on Philip II.

17 thoughts on “Philip II of Spain

    1. “God, who has given me so many Kingdoms to govern, has not given me a son fit to govern them” means that Philip had inherited many kingdoms from his father but had no suitable son to pass them on to at that time.

  1. I became interested in Dom Carlos, the insane son of Philip II of Spain and Maria of Austria after watching the Opera Don Carlos a couple of weeks ago. I do not really see what was so insane about this Prince, I think his father pushed him into disobedience and attempted rebellion as he would not allow him to have any responsibility. Had Carlos been allowed to lead and rule in the Netherlands and Philip himself spent more time in the Netherlands he would have appreciated that their grievances were more than religious. They counted themselves as more traditionally Germanic and had other cultural ideas of the individual than the collective rule of Spain. Their rulers were semi elected and they wanted to continue this

    When Charles V abdicated in 1554, four years before his death he divided up his domains as Holy Roman Empire which included German States and Austria, and should have included the Low Countries or the Netherlands, and his Spanish domains which he gave to Philip to rule. The Netherlands wanted to remain with the German States and to go to the authority of Ferdinand who became Holy Roman Empire. Instead Charles gave them to Philip and this caused a breach with the Spanish crown. There were issues over land, religion, taxation, authority, and independence. Areas of the Low Countries such as Flanders had been semi independent for about two centuries and this had been good for international trade, art and thought. It allowed them to forge a trade alliance and to act as independent states with the Hansa and to flourish with religious and political toleration and diversity.

    Carlos was somewhat persuaded by a group of merchants and Flemish nobles to become attentive and sympathetic to their cause. He wanted his father to listen to them and to give them some relief from the growing Spanish taxation that was eating away at that independent economy. When Philip refused to meet with a delegation that came to Madrid, Carlos took up their cause, literally, and was caught plotting to lead their revolt against his father. Philip had him reluctantly declared insane when he was also accused of being in love with his stepmother, Elizabeth of Valois, to whom he had himself been betrothed before she was married off to Philip, and to imprison him in a monastic community.

    Carlos then lost all control, attempted to escape and in the ensuing fighting was again put in prison where he died of his alleged insanity. But was it insanity or was it passion for an oppressed people? Philip clearly did not have any confidence in his son, who had not had a stable childhood and had made errors with his education. He later corrected those errors with his other son and heir Philip III. Yes, Carlos may have raised arms against his father and may have seemed insane in his ambitions, but had he been given the rule of the Netherlands, would he have been different? Would he have proven to be a generous and wise ruler, who listened and allowed fair reform in the country that he was passionate about?

    What they called insanity in the 16th century we may now call passion or mania; or we may call bipolar disease or just simply individual thinking or actions. Yes, he certainly had parent problems, but would he not have been more effective had he been trained to and allowed to rule?

  2. I was very pleased with the outcome of this file/wok this was a huge help with my homework and I enjoyed learning about all the suitors for Elizabeth I.

  3. I am truly grateful for this website, it really helped me answer questions on why the Queen never married and her suitors whom she could’ve to. I particularly liked how everything was set out clearly and straightforward. -Xenny

  4. I have to do some researchon her suitors, but one of the queston for all of the men is : are they: poor, rich of fabulously rich. If anyone knows the ansers to these please could you reply. Thank you x

  5. Phillip new that Elizabeth would never accept him.During his days in England,he and Elizabeth became good friends,(although politics destroyed this friendship)because he helped her when Mary thought her guilty of treason.She was incredibly thankful to him for that,and he admired her will,wisdom and strength of character.They became nearly as close as natural siblings and she told him about her repugnance for marriage,and explained him why she would never wed.Despite king Phillip knew this,his father,the Emperor Charles I of Spain and V of Germany,offered Elizabeth his son as husband as soon as Mary died.Of course,the young Queen declined the offer,it couldn’t be otherwise.
    (Source:Yo,Felipe II,by Spanish historian Ricardo de la Cierva)I just apologize that the book where I read it is written in Spanish,my mother tongue,but it might have an English translation,too.Just check it out if you are interested

  6. Almost 60 years ago when I was a child I found a coin in Michigan when I was digging in some soil. As I recall it had a Queen Elizabeth on one side and a Prince Philip of Spain on the other. I seem to recall a date on it that may have been in the 1500’s. The coin was about the size of a silver dollar and I thought it was made of lead since it was so malleable. An uncle of mine took it and said he would see if he could find out anything about it and that’s the last I saw of it. For some reason I thought it had something to do with commemorating Columbus but that may simply be my recollection of some speculation.

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