- Carlos, Prince of Asturias
- Several of the Carlist pretenders to the Spanish throne were also known as Don Carlos.
Carlos Prince of Asturias and Portugal Portrait by Alonso Sánchez Coello, 1564. House House of Habsburg Father Philip II of Spain Mother Maria Manuela, Princess of Portugal Born 8 July 1545
Died 24 July 1568(aged 23)
Burial El Escorial Religion Roman Catholicism
Carlos, Prince of Asturias, also known as Don Carlos (8 July 1545 – 24 July 1568), was the eldest son and heir of King Philip II of Spain. His mother was Maria Manuela of Portugal, daughter of John III of Portugal. Carlos was mentally unstable and was imprisoned by his father in early 1568, dying after half a year of solitary confinement. His fate was a theme in Spain's Black Legend, and inspired a play by Friedrich Schiller and an opera by Giuseppe Verdi.
Carlos was born at Valladolid, and his mother died a month after his birth. The young Infante Carlos was delicate and deformed. He grew up proud and willful and, as a young adult, began to show signs of mental instability. Many of his physical and psychological afflictions may have stemmed from the inbreeding common to the House of Habsburg and the royal houses of Portugal and Spain. Carlos had only four great-grandparents instead of the maximum of eight, and his parents had the same coefficient of coancestry (1/8) as if they were half siblings. He had only six great-great-grandparents, instead of the maximum 16; his maternal grandmother and his paternal grandfather were brother and sister, his maternal grandfather and his paternal grandmother were also brother and sister, and his two great-grandmothers were sisters.
In 1559 Prince Carlos was betrothed to Elizabeth of Valois, eldest daughter of King Henry II of France. However, for political reasons, she instead married King Philip in 1560. Three other brides were then suggested for the Prince: Mary, Queen of Scots; Margaret of Valois, youngest daughter of Henry II of France; and Anna of Austria, who was to later become Philip's fourth wife, and was a daughter of Philip's cousin, the Emperor Maximilian II.
Carlos was recognized in 1560 as the heir to the Castilian throne, and three years later as heir to the Crown of Aragon as well. He became also the 218th Knight of the Order of the Golden Fleece. He often attended meetings of the Council of State (which dealt with foreign affairs) and was in correspondence with the Netherlands regent, Margaret of Parma.
In 1562 Carlos fell down a flight of stairs, which caused serious head injuries. His life was saved by a trepanation of the skull, performed by the eminent anatomist Andreas Vesalius. After his recovery, Carlos became wild and unpredictable in his behavior. He took a dislike to the Duke of Alba, who became the commander of Philip's forces in the Netherlands, a position that had been promised to Carlos. Carlos possibly made contacts with representative of the Count Egmont from the Low Countries, who was leading the revolt against the Spanish. He also exhibited an antipathy towards his father, whose murder, according to Carlos' confessor, he supposedly contemplated at one time. In the autumn of 1567 he made preparations to flee to the Netherlands. However, Don Juan de Austria revealed these plans to King Philip.
In January 1568 Don Carlos was arrested and placed in solitary confinement on his father's orders. He died in isolation six months later. It was later claimed that he was poisoned on the orders of King Philip, especially by William the Silent in his Apology, a 1581 propaganda work against the Spanish king. Modern historians think that Don Carlos died of natural causes. He grew very thin and developed eating disorders during his imprisonment, alternating self-starvation with heavy binges.
Carlos left an unfavourable impression on some foreign ambassadors. The Venetian ambassador Hieronymo Soranzo thought that Carlos was "ugly and repulsive" and claimed that Carlos liked to roast animals alive and once tried to force a shoemaker to eat shoes Carlos had found unsatisfactory. Another Venetian, Paolo Tiepolo, wrote: "He [Prince Carlos] wished neither to study nor to take physical exercise, but only to harm others."
The idea of King Philip confining and murdering his own son later played a minor role in establishing the anti-Spanish Black Legend. It also formed the basis for Friedrich Schiller's 1787 tragedy Don Karlos, Infant von Spanien; Schiller's play was adapted into several operas, most notably Giuseppe Verdi's Don Carlos.
The story of a king jailing his own son is also the basis for the Spanish play La vida es sueño (Life Is a Dream) (1635), by Pedro Calderón de la Barca; however, this play does not explicitly refer to Don Carlos.
Ancestors of Carlos, Prince of Asturias
- Marshall, Peter: The Magic Circle of Rudolf II: Alchemy and Astrology in Renaissance Prague. Walker & Company. 2006. ISBN 9780802715517
- Parker, Geoffrey: Philip II: Fourth Edition. Open Court. 2002. ISBN 9780812695199
- This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Chisholm, Hugh, ed (1911). Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press.
Carlos, Prince of AsturiasBorn: 8 July 1545 Died: 24 July 1568
- Henry Kamen: Philip of Spain. New Haven: Yale University Press (1997) ISBN 9780300078008
- Radiolab's program A Clockwork Miracle
Spanish royalty Preceded by
Prince of Asturias
VacantTitle next held byFerdinand Infantes of Spain The generations indicate descent from Charles I, under whom the crowns of Castile and Aragon were united, forming the Kingdom of Spain. Previously, the title Infante had been largely used in the different realms. 1st Generation 2nd Generation 3rd Generation 4th Generation 5th Generationnone 6th Generationnone 7th Generation 8th Generation 9th Generation 10th Generation 11th Generation 12th Generation 13th Generation 14th Generation 15th Generation 16th Generationnone *title granted by Royal Decree
**consort to an Infanta who was naturalized as a Spanish Infante
Austrian archdukes 1st generation 2nd generationArchduke Cristopher · Maximilian I · Archduke John · Archduke Wolfgang 3rd generationPhilip I of Castile · Archduke Francis 4th generation 5th generation 6th generationCharles, Prince of Asturias* · Archduke Ferdinand · Rudolf V · Archduke Ernest · Matthias · Maximilian III · Albert VII · Archduke Wenzel · Archduke Frederick · Archduke Charles · Ferdinand, Prince of Asturias* · Archduke Ferdinand · Archduke Carlos Lorenzo* · Diego, Prince of Asturias* · Philip III of Spain* · Ferdinand III · Archduke Charles · Archduke Maximilian Ernest · Leopold V · Archduke Charles 7th generation 8th generationBalthasar Charles, Prince of Asturias* · Ferdinand IV of Hungary · Archduke Francisco Fernando* · Archduke Philip August · Archduke Maximilian Thomas · Leopold VI · Archduke Charles Joseph · Archduke Ferdinand Joseph Alois · Philip Prospero, Prince of Asturias* · Archduke Ferdinand Thomas* · Charles II of Spain* 9th generation 10th generationArchduke Leopold Joseph · Archduke Leopold John 11th generation 12th generationEmperor Francis I** · Ferdinand III, Grand Duke of Tuscany** · Charles, Duke of Teschen** · Alexander Leopold, Palatine of Hungary** · Joseph, Palatine of Hungary** · Archduke Anton Victor** · Archduke John** · Archduke Rainier Joseph** · Archduke Louis** · Cardinal-Archduke Rudolf** · Archduke Josef Franz*** · Francis IV, Duke of Modena*** · Archduke Ferdinand Karl Joseph*** · Archduke Maximilian*** · Karl, Primate of Hungary*** 13th generationEmperor Ferdinand I · Francis Leopold, Grand Prince of Tuscany** · Leopold II, Grand Duke of Tuscany** · Archduke Joseph Franz · Archduke Franz Karl · Archduke Johann Nepomuk · Albert, Duke of Teschen · Stephen, Palatine of Hungary · Archduke Karl Ferdinand · Francis V, Duke of Modena*** · Archduke Frederick Ferdinand · Archduke Ferdinand Karl Viktor*** · Archduke Rudolf · Archduke Leopold Ludwig · Archduke Ernest Karl · Archduke Alexander · Archduke Sigismund Leopold · Archduke Rainer Ferdinand · Archduke Wilhelm Franz · Archduke Heinrich Anton · Archduke Maximilian Karl · Archduke Joseph Karl 14th generationEmperor Franz Joseph I · Maximilian I of Mexico · Archduke Charles Louis · Archduke Ludwig Viktor · Ferdinand IV, Grand Duke of Tuscany** · Archduke Karl Salvator** · Archduke Rainier** · Archduke Ludwig Salvator** · Archduke John Salvator** · Archduke Karl · Archduke Franz Joseph · Friedrich, Duke of Teschen · Archduke Charles Stephen · Archduke Eugen · Archduke Joseph August · Archduke Ladislaus 15th generationCrown Prince Rudolf · Archduke Franz Ferdinand*** · Archduke Otto Francis · Archduke Ferdinand Karl · Archduke Leopold Ferdinand** · Archduke Joseph Ferdinand** · Archduke Peter Ferdinand** · Archduke Heinrich Ferdinand** · Archduke Robert Ferdinand** · Archduke Leopold Salvator** · Archduke Franz Salvator** · Archduke Albrecht Salvator** · Archduke Rainier Salvator** · Archduke Ferdinand Salvator** · Albrecht Franz, Duke of Teschen · Archduke Karl Albrecht · Archduke Leo Karl · Archduke Wilhelm · Archduke Joseph Francis · Archduke Ladislaus Joseph · Archduke Matthias 16th generationEmperor Charles I · Archduke Maximilian Eugen · Archduke Gottfried** · Archduke Georg** · Archduke Rainier** · Archduke Leopold Maria** · Archduke Anton** · Archduke Franz Joseph** · Archduke Karl Pius** · Archduke Franz Karl** · Archduke Hubert Salvator** · Archduke Theodor Salvator** · Archduke Clemens Salvator** · Archduke Joseph Arpád · Archduke Itsván · Archduke Géza · Archduke Michael Koloman 17th generationCrown Prince Otto · Archduke Robert*** · Archduke Felix · Archduke Carl Ludwig · Archduke Rudolf · Archduke Ferdinand Karl · Archduke Heinrich Maria · Archduke Leopold Franz** · Archduke Guntram** · Archduke Radbot** · Archduke Johann** · Archduke Georg** · Archduke Stephan** · Archduke Dominic** · Archduke Friederich Salvator** · Archduke Andreas Salvator** · Archduke Markus** · Archduke Johann** · Archduke Michael** · Archduke Franz Salvator** · Archduke Karl Salvator** · Archduke Joseph Karl · Archduke Andreas Agustinus · Archduke Nicholas Franz · Archduke Johann Jacob · Archduke Edward Karl · Archduke Paul Rudolf 18th generationArchduke Karl · Archduke Georg · Archduke Lorenz*** · Archduke Gerhard*** · Archduke Martin*** · Archduke Karl Philipp · Archduke Raimund Joseph · Archduke Itsván · Archduke Rudolf · Archduke Carl Christian · Archduke Karl Peter · Archduke Simeon · Archduke Johannes · Archduke Maximilian Heinrich · Archduke Philipp Joachim · Archduke Ferdinand Karl · Archduke Konrad · Archduke Sigismund** · Archduke Georg** · Archduke Guntram** · Archduke Leopold** · Archduke Alexander Salvator** · Archduke Thaddäus Salvator** · Archduke Casimir Salvator** · Archduke Matthias** · Archduke Johannes** · Archduke Bernhard** · Archduke Benedikt · Archduke Joseph Albrecht · Archduke Paul Leo · Archduke Friedrich Cyprian · Archduke Benedikt Alexander · Archduke Nicolás · Archduke Santiago · Archduke Paul Benedikt 19th generationArchduke Ferdinand Zvonimir · Archduke Karl Konstantin · Archduke Amedeo*** · Archduke Joachim*** · Archduke Bartholomaeus*** · Archduke Emmanuel*** · Archduke Luigi*** · Archduke Felix Carl · Archduke Andreas Franz · Archduke Paul Johannes · Archduke Carl Christian · Archduke Johannes · Archduke Thomas · Archduke Franz Ludwig · Archduke Michael · Archduke Joseph · Archduke Imre · Archduke Imre · Archduke Christoph · Archduke Alexander · Archduke Lorenz Carl · Archduke Wilhelm · Archduke Johannes · Archduke Ludwig · Archduke Philipp · Archduke Nicholas · Archduke Constantin · Archduke Jacob Maximilian · Archduke Leopold Amedeo** · Archduke Maximilian** · Archduke Leopold** · Archduke Constantin Salvator** · Archduke Paul Salvator** *also an infante of Spain
**also a prince of Tuscany
***also a prince of Modena
Infantes of Portugal The generations indicate descent form Afonso I, and continues through the House of Aviz, the House of Bourbon through Isabella of Portugal, and the House of Braganza through Infanta Catherine, Duchess of Braganza. 1st GenerationInfante Henrique • Sancho I • Infante João 2nd Generation 3rd Generation 4th Generation 5th GenerationInfante Afonso, Lord of Leiria • Afonso IV 6th GenerationInfante Afonso • Infante Dinis • Peter I • Infante João 7th Generation 8th Generation 9th Generation 10th Generation 11th GenerationAfonso, Prince of Portugal • Infante João • Miguel da Paz, Prince of Portugal and Asturias^ • John III • Infante Luís, 5th Duke of Beja • Infante Fernando, Duke of Guarda and Trancoso • Cardinal-Infante Afonso • Henry, The Cardinal-King • Infante Duarte, 4th Duke of Guimarães • Infante António • Infante Carlos 12th GenerationAfonso, Prince of Portugal • Manuel, Prince of Portugal • Filipe, Prince of Portugal • Infante Dinis • John Manuel, Prince of Portugal • Infante António 13th Generation 14th Generation 15th GenerationBalthasar Charles, Prince of Portugal and Asturias* • Infante Francisco Fernando* • Teodósio, 1st Prince of Brazil • Afonso VI • Peter II 16th GenerationJoão, 3rd Prince of Brazil • John V • Infante Francisco, 7th Duke of Beja • Infante António • Infante Manuel, Count of Ourém • 17th Generation 18th Generationnone 19th Generation 20th Generation 21st Generation 22nd Generation 23rd Generation 24th Generation ^also an infante of Castile and León, Aragon, Sicily and Naples, *also an infante of Spain, **claimant infante, ^^only prince or infante by marriage Princes of Asturias
Infante Felipe (1977–present)Infante Alfonso (1907–1931) · Infanta Mercedes (1880–1904) · Infanta Isabella (1875–1880) · Prince Emanuele Filiberto of Savoy (1871–1873) · Infante Alfonso (1857–1868) · Infanta Isabella (1851–1857) · Infanta Isabella (1830–1833) · Infante Ferdinand (1788–1808) · Infante Charles (1759–1788) · Infante Ferdinand (1724–1746) · Infante Louis (1709–1724) · Prince Joseph Ferdinand of Bavaria (1698–1699) · Infante Charles (1661–1665) · Infante Philip Prospero (1657–1661) · Infante Balthasar Charles (1629–1646) · Philip IV (1605–1621) · Infante Philip (1582–1598) · Infante Diego (1578–1582) · Infante Ferdinand (1571–1578) · Infante Charles (1556–1568) · Philip II (1527–1556) · Infante Charles (1504–1516) · Infanta Joanna (1502–1504) · Infante Michael of Portugal (1498–1500) · Infanta Isabella (1497–1498) · Infante John (1478–1497) · Infanta Isabella (1470–1478) · Infanta Isabella (1468–1470) · Infante Alfonso (1464–1468) · Infanta Joanna (1462–1464) · Infante Henry (1425–1454) · Infanta Eleanor (1424–1425) · Infanta Catherine (1423–1424) · Infante John (1405–1406) · Infanta Maria (1402–1405) · Infante Henry (1388–1390)
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