The Spanish Habsburg Court during the Reign of Carlos II (1665-1700)

Special Journal Issue—The Court Historian: The International Journal of Court Studies

Despite a growing body of revisionist literature on the reign of Carlos II (1665-1700), his court remains one of the lesser known of the Habsburg period. Carlos II’s court, however, holds major allure for scholars. The court’s organization and its ceremonies were adapted to the needs of a child-king thus becoming a testing ground for existing etiquette traditions and institutional development. The presence of three queens—Carlos’s mother and regent during his minority, Mariana of Austria (1634-1696), and his two consorts, Marie Louise of Orleans (r. 1679-1689) and Mariana of Neuburg (r. 1690-1700)—stimulated the production of art, festivals, royal entries, theater, literature, and music. Several important administrative measures associated with the reign and its political circumstances are of particular interest for court studies specialists. For example, women—queens, aristocrats, ambassadresses, and nuns—played a preeminent role in court politics. Most importantly, the court of Carlos II became a hub of international diplomacy during his minority and the rest of the reign, particularly in the waning decades of the seventeenth century when the question of the Spanish succession dominated European affairs.

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