Margaret of Austria, Queen of Spain

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Margaret of Austria
File:Margaret of austria 1609.jpg
Margaret of Austria, 1609, by Bartolomé González y Serrano
Queen consort of Spain and Portugal
Tenure 18 April 1599 – 3 October 1611
Born 25 December 1584
Graz, Austria
Died 3 October 1611 (aged 26)
San Lorenzo de El Escorial, Spain
Burial El Escorial
Spouse Philip III of Spain
Issue Anne, Queen of France
Philip IV, King of Spain
Maria Anna, Holy Roman Empress
Cardinal Ferdinand
House House of Habsburg
Father Charles II of Austria
Mother Maria Anna of Bavaria
Religion Roman Catholicism

Margaret of Austria (25 December 1584 – 3 October 1611) was Queen consort of Spain and Portugal by her marriage to King Philip III and II.


Margaret was the daughter of Archduke Charles II of Austria, the son of Holy Roman Emperor Ferdinand I and Anne of Bohemia and Hungary. Margaret's mother was Maria Anna of Bavaria. Her elder brother was the Archduke Ferdinand, who succeeded as Emperor in 1619. Two of her sisters, Anna and Constance, through their subsequent marriages to King Sigismund III Vasa, became Queens of Poland.

Life as Queen of Spain

File:Coat of Arms of Margaret of Austria (1584-1611), Queen Consort of Spain.svg
Coat of arms of Margaret of Austria, Queen of Spain.

Margaret married Philip III of Spain, her first cousin, once-removed, on 18 April 1599 and became a very influential figure at her husband's court. Philip had an "affectionate, close relationship" with Margaret, and paid her additional attention after she bore him a son in 1605.[1]

Margaret was also a great patroness of the arts. She was considered by contemporaries[who?] to be a very pious Catholic and "astute and very skillful" in her political dealings.[2]

Alongside the Empress Maria, widow of Holy Roman Emperor Maximilian II, and the latter's daughter Archduchess Margaret, who lived as a nun in Madrid, Queen Margaret formed a circle of women wielding considerable influence over the king.[3] They emphasised Spain's status as a Catholic power acting in the interest of Catholic Europe and also highlighted the unity of the House of Habsburg.[3] They were successful, for example, in convincing Philip to provide financial support to Holy Roman Emperor Ferdinand II.[1]

The pro-Austrian camp at the Spanish court was opposed by the Duke of Lerma, the King's chief minister, who argued that Spain should pursue her own course of action independently of religious or dynastic ties. Queen Margaret was "melancholic" and unhappy about the influence of Duke, whom she considered corrupt, over her husband,[2] and continually fought him for influence over the king. In this conflict, she was supported by her favourite Mariana de San José, prioress of the Monasteria la Encarnación, her husband's confessor Father Luis de Aliaga, and her daughter Maria Anna's confessor, the Franciscan friar Juan de Santa María - who was felt by contemporaries[who?] to have an excessive influence over the King at the end of his life.[4] The Duke of Lerma was eventually removed from power in 1618, though only after Margaret's death.

Margaret died while giving birth to her youngest child, Alfonso. Her husband never remarried and died ten years later.


Margaret and Philip had eight children:

  • Anne (22 September 1601 – 20 January 1666), queen of France
  • Maria (1 February 1603 -2 February 1603)
  • Philip (8 April 1605 – 17 September 1665), king of Spain
  • Maria Anna (18 August 1606 – 13 May 1646), empress of the Holy Roman Empire
  • Charles (14 September 1607 – 30 July 1632)
  • Ferdinand (16 May 1609 – 9 November 1641), a cardinal
  • Margaret Frances (24 May 1610 – 11 March 1617)
  • Alphonse Maurice (22 September 1611 – 16 September 1612)



  • Magdalena S. Sánchez, Pious and Political Images of a Habsburg Woman at the Court of Philip III (1598–1621). in: Magdalena S. Sánchez and Alain Saint-Saëns (ed.), Spanish women in the golden age: images and realities. Greenwood Publishing Group (1996).


  1. 1.0 1.1 Sánchez, p. 100.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Sánchez, p. 98-99.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Sánchez, p.91.
  4. Sánchez, p.97.
Margaret of Austria, Queen of Spain
Born: 25 December 1584 Died: 3 October 1611
Royal titles
Title last held by
Anna of Austria
Queen consort of Spain
Title next held by
Elisabeth of France
Title last held by
Catherine of Austria
Queen consort of Portugal