Queen of Spain
1602 – 1644
Elizabeth, Queen of Spain. She was the daughter of Henry IV of France, and was married Philip, Infante of Spain in 1615. When her husband in 163=21 succeeded to the crown as Philip IV, he surrendered the administration to the Count of Olivarez, and gave himself up to pleasure. Elizabeth made vain efforts to rouse his from his supineness, and to counteract the ruinous policy of his minister.
In 1640 when Catalonia revolted and Portugal separated from Spain, the queen appealed in person to the Castilians, and succeeded within a few weeks in raising an army of 50,000 men. Then proceeding to the king’s pleasure house, holding her son by the hand, “Sir,” she said, “this boy, our only son, is doomed to be the poorest gentleman in Europe, if your majesty does not forthwith dismiss a minister who has brought Spain to the verge of ruin.”
Olivarez was thereupon exiled, Phillip at the head of his armies endeavored to retrieve his fortunes, while Elizabeth took into her own hands the administration of the kingdom. She displayed equal wisdom and patriotism in her management of public affairs, allayed party strifes by her eloquent appeals, and set the example of generosity by sacrificing her jewels, and reducing her household expenses to the lowest figure.
Her death was mourned as a national calamity.
Reference: Famous Women; An Outline of Feminine Achievement Through the Ages With Life Stories of Five Hundred Noted Women By Joseph Adelman. Copyright, 1926 by Ellis M. Lonow Company.