Ana de Mendoza, Princess of Eboli

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The Princess of Eboli
File:La princesa de Éboli.jpg
Ana de Mendoza, Princess of Éboli
Spouse(s) Ruy Gómez de Silva
Full name
Ana de Mendoza y de la Cerda
Noble family House of Mendoza House of Silva
Father Diego Hurtado de Mendoza y de la Cerda
Mother Catalina de Silva
Born (1540-06-29)June 29, 1540
Cifuentes, Guadalajara, Spain
Died February 2, 1592(1592-02-02) (aged 51)
Pastrana, Guadalajara, Spain

Ana de Mendoza y de la Cerda, Princess of Eboli, Duchess of Pastrana, (in full, Spanish: Doña Ana de Mendoza y de la Cerda ), (29 June 1540 – 2 February 1592) was a Spanish aristocrat,[1] suo jure 2nd Princess of Mélito, 2nd Duchess of Francavilla and 3rd Countess of Aliano.

Early years

Ana, Countess of Melito and Duchess of Pastrana, married Rui Gomes da Silva, 1st Prince of Éboli when she was 13 years old (1553), by recommendation of the regent of Spain, the future King Philip II.[2] Her husband was a chief councillor and favourite with Philip, and from 1559 Prince of Éboli. Due to her husband's absence, staying with Philip in England and the Netherlands, the marriage was only consummated in 1559 when he returned to Spain with the king. Although she may have been blind in one eye, the Princess of Éboli was considered very attractive. She was an energetic person, and prominent in court life. One of her friends was the queen, Isabel de Valois.[3]

Ana, Princess of Éboli, had ten children by her marriage:[4]

Later intrigue

After her husband's death in 1573, she spent three years in a convent, but returned to public life in 1576, forming an alliance at Court with the King's undersecretary of state, Antonio Pérez (1540–1615).[5] They were accused of betraying state secrets which led to her arrest in 1579. Ana died 13 years later in prison on 2 February 1592.

Appearances in fiction

There was a character called Princess Eboli based on Ana in Schiller's play Don Carlos, Infant von Spanien, and Verdi's opera Don Carlos.[6] She is also the subject of Kate O'Brien's novel That Lady,[7] and the 1955 film adaptation of O'Brien's novel, That Lady. La Tuerta, a stage play charting the life of Ana de Mendoza was performed at Bedlam Theatre as part of The Edinburgh Fringe Festival in August 2008. Julia Ormond played her in La Conjura de El Escorial (2008) and Belén Rueda in the TV film La Princesa de Éboli (2010).


  1. Henry Kamen (1999). Who's Who in Europe 1450–1750. Routledge (UK). ISBN 0-415-14727-1.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. Henry Kamen: Philip of Spain. Yale University Press. 1998. ISBN 978-0-300-07800-8. pp. 85, 166.
  3. Kamen, Philip of Spain: pp. 166, 342.
  4. Kamen, Philip of Spain: pp. 166.
  5. J. H. Elliott (2002). Imperial Spain, 1469–1716. Penguin Books. ISBN 0-14-100703-6.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. Friedrich Schiller (2000). Don Carlos and Mary Stuart. Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-283985-3.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. Kate O'Brien (1949). That Lady: A Romantic Drama. Harper.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>