The Prince and the Infanta


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The Cultural Politics of the Spanish Match

Glyn Redworth

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On the night of March 7, 1623, the prince of Wales and the duke of Buckingham knocked on the door of the British embassy in Madrid. Their unsolicited arrival began one of the most bizarre episodes in British history, as the Protestant heir to the Stuart throne struggled to win the Spanish Infanta as his bride.

The prince’s visit marked the end of a decade of high-level negotiation to secure a marriage between the leading Protestant and Catholic royal families and heal Europe’s century-old division into warring Christian camps. The effort was a diplomatic disaster. It split political and religious opinion in Britain, alienated much of Italy and Germany, confused the Spaniards (who thought that the English crown was about to convert), and failed to secure a marriage or to resolve the Thirty Years’ War.

Drawing on archival material from five countries, Glyn Redworth provides the definitive explanation of this pivotal moment and tells a fascinating story of early modern politicking, cultural misunderstanding, and religious confusion.

Glyn Redworth teaches history at the University of Manchester and at the Centro de Estudios Historicos, Madrid.

“The most convincing account we have. It throws floods of light on the internal and international politics of the early 1620s.”—John Morrill, University of Cambridge

“One of the most mysterious episodes in early modern English history.”—Tom Cogswell, University of California, Riverside

“This is a superb book that will unquestionably become the definitive account of Charles’s visit to Madrid. . . . Beautifully written with a great feel for the hopes and fears of the English entourage, its scholarship is impeccable. But like all the best history, it also contains a powerful emotional charge.”—Jerry Brotton, BBC History Magazine

"The first major study for some considerable time [on the Spanish Match]. . . . The author builds a detailed and readable account of the events surrounding the Spanish Match, one that is revealing about politicking in the early modern period, as well as about the confusion and misunderstanding that arose concerning both cultural and religious matters. . . . This story of the Spanish Match is a fascinating one."—British Bulletin of Publications

“Fascinating.”—Nicholas Cranfield, Church Times

"A study such as this is long overdue.  Richly descriptive, beautifully illustrated and engagingly written, it makes the fullest, most detailed and best documented account of Prince Charles's failed bid to win the hand of the Infanta Maria during his sojourn in Spain in 1623." —Brennan C. Pursell, Ecclesiastical History

“[A] lively account. . . . Redworth provides a succinct and fluid reading of political and personal relations at the English court.”—Martha K. Hoffman-Strock, Renaissance Quarterly

"A well and wittily written account of the proposed Spanish match." —Studies in English Literature

"Redworth extensively uses both British and Spanish sources, with much of the work told from the Spanish point of view. His examination of the Spanish reaction to Charles and Buckingham's rash behavior is insightful and will explain the whole episode more fully for students of English history. . . . A comprehensive and in-depth study of one of the more unusual events in European history. . . . [A] worthy addition to the study of British history."—Laura A. Endicott, Sixteenth Century Journal

ISBN: 9780300213843
Publication Date: September 23, 2014
232 pages, 6 1/8 x 9 1/4
19 b/w + 25 color illus.