updated: 05/04/2009

C17th Spain: Élisabeth de France

Élisabeth de France (1602–1644) was the eldest daughter of king Henry IV of France and Marie de’ Medici. As the eldest daughter of the king, she was known at court by the traditional honorific of Madame Royale. In 1615, Elisabeth was married to the future Philip IV of Spain, meeting her husband for the first time on the River of Andaye at the same time that her brother, Louis XIII, met his wife Anne of Austria – this was also the last time Louis and Élisabeth saw each other. These marriages followed a tradition of cementing military and political alliances between the Catholic powers of France and Spain with royal marriages going back to the Peace of Cateau-Cambrésis in 1559. In this case the cement did not ‘go off’ as at the time of Élisabeth’s death Spain was at war with France – itself under the regency of a Spanish queen. While in Spain, she would take on the Spanish form of Élisabeth – Isabel. On her marriage she became the princess of Asturias, becoming Queen of Spain in 1621. She was renowned for her physical beauty, intelligence and noble personality, which made her very popular with the Spanish people. But she suffered from poor health. Only two of her children survived infancy, neither succeeding to the throne of Spain although Maria Theresa (1638–1683) became queen consort of France as the first wife of Louis XIV. Élisabeth died in Madrid at the age of forty-two.

El Rey pasmado (1991): Phillip IV is so stunned by the sight of the naked body of Marfisa, the most beautiful prostitute, that he determines to see the Queen (Anne Roussel) naked causing a scandal. It may not sound promising but it is actually a great film and very funny – and it has eight Goya Awards, and a further six nominations, to prove it. Romana González was makeup artist; Josefa Morales was hair stylist – and shared the Goya for Best Makeup and Hairstyling.