Being a teenager is, with perspective, the worst time in anyone’s life. You are going through changes, you get all ‘rebel’ and make your parents’ lives impossible, and then they force you at age 15 to become the regent of an entire country and marry your first cousin and stop the affair you are having with your sister’s lady-in-waiting. Teens, am I right?
We start with a short visit to my pal François, whom life isn’t treating well –something that happens when you’ve had sex with every woman in France. Yes, my friend is syphilitic, but that doesn’t stop him from hating Carlos more than ever. Seriously. All he can think of is going to war again, now that the Spaniard has suffered a defeat in Algiers. Since he is quite sick, he listens to his now grown-up son Henri and decides to stay at court instead of fighting, but the minute he finds out Carlos, sick of gout, is leading his troops, he decides to do the same.
Of course, this battle ends before it begins when Carlos finds out his camp is near François’s, and sets off to fight him. Luckily for the French monarch, Montmorency forces him to flee and return to French court before the Spanish soldiers can catch him again. I don’t need to tell you how unhappy François was about this, but I am afraid that next episode will be his last, and I am NOT ready for his death. Nope.
By the way, both François and Carlos spent the entire episode talking about how old and ancient they are and how their time is near and so on, and they are in their forties! People, be happy to have been born now and not in those centuries. Brrrr!!!!
Oh my god. I will never stop saying this: I cannot understand how Carlos got to live 58 years, considering how many problems and conflicts he had to endure on a daily basis.
It’s been four years since Isabel’s death, but Carlos hasn’t got back on his feet yet –and he never will. He’s been away trying to win Algiers back, as his late wife wanted him to, but the venture goes wrong and Carlos returns to Spain with one thing in mind: make sure that his 16-year-old heir, Felipe, is growing up to be the man the empire needs him to be. But the emperor returns to find only problems.
Besides the fact that his daughters María and Juana barely remember his face, Felipe is quite a problem. Because yes, we all remember the heroic king Philip II, but when he was a teenager, all he cared about were poems and the plants and flowers that were being brought to Spain from the New World –I won’t blame him, though, they were bringing tomatoes and potatoes!
That and the fact that Felipe doesn’t care about politics and spends his time in bed with his mistress Isabel de Osorio are enough reasons to make Carlos decide that he is the only one who can act as Felipe’s teacher.
I don’t know how long this teaching goes on for, but probably no more than a few months, because then Carlos rushes away to Paris to fight his frenemy François, leaving Felipe alone as regent with only 16 years of age and an impending marriage to his cousin Maria Manuela, daughter of Carlos’s sister Catalina, queen of Portugal –you know, the one who spent her first years of life locked in Tordesillas with her mother, queen Juana. Before he leaves, Carlos warns Felipe not to dedicate much time to “loving” issues, since that is what killed his wife and also his uncle Juan. Sure. If you want to know, this conversation is actually a unique letter known as the Instrucciones de Palamós.
Frankly, I wouldn’t have given a teenager control over an entire kingdom, but I can see why Carlos wanted his son to start getting the hang of it. Nevertheless, marrying him off to his cousin just to use the dowry to pay the war sounded a bit too much to me, but I guess that’s how things worked back then.
It is famous that Felipe had four wives, but it is quite clear now that his one true love was Isabel de Osorio, because he even visited her on his wedding night. Poor Maria Manuela. Felipe’s first wife only “enjoyed” two short years of marriage before dying of childbirth in 1545, aged 17. At least she gave birth to prince Carlos, the new heir –but don’t hold your breath, because he was a fricking sadist who had difficulties to read and write and suffered from fevers, malaria, a trepanation and died when he was only 23, with a rumour about Felipe killing him because he was basically the worst. Who would blame Felipe, although they should have known better: what can you expect if you marry your cousin, who is your cousin both ways- instead of having eight great-grandparents, he only had four. And after Maria Manuela’s death, Tavera dies as well. Deaths on this show always come in pairs.
Buuut back to the story! Felipe wasn’t Carlos’s sole headache in Spain, because Bartolomé de las Casas, if you remember well, left New Spain to come back to Castile and inform the emperor of all the atrocities committed against the natives, whom despite the crown’s orders, were still being used as slaves.
Our friend Hernán Cortés, who is already settled back in Spain to live the rest of his days in peace with clean clothes and his hair brushed back, informs Carlos that Bartolomé might be complaining too much, because no matter what the crown orders, things are not really going to change so far away.
Anyway, Carlos decides to issue a new law to forbid slavery (something his wife Isabel fought hard for), and names de las Casas the new bishop of Chiapas. You know what happens? That the mean people in New Spain who trade with slaves get very angry and become much harsher when it comes to mistreating natives, even bringing people over from Africa to become slaves as well. I know that Bartolomé wanted to punch some people in the face, but all the poor man could do was sit and cry his heart out. Who can’t blame him.
Oh, and after the battle and the peace treaty with France, Carlos and his entourage decided to go to Flanders for a family visit! Also to issue some diets, but that doesn’t matter right now. What does matter is that Carlos got dragged to an orgy by singer Barbara Blomberg, who wasn’t even 20, and who would become the mother of Carlos’s son Juan of Austria. It was all very surreal. Carlos didn’t even move during the ‘act.’
We finally got to see Fernando’s first son, Maximilian, who would eventually become his father’s heir as Holy Roman Emperor, but in 1545, he is not exactly happy. Teenagers…
Maximilian’s main issue with his uncle Carlos is that the emperor is not giving his father the rewards Maximilian thinks he deserves. And when Carlos announces that the Duchy of Milan will be for Felipe, Maximilian loses his shit. It is not 100% proved and it’s a bit vague on the show, but Maximilian talks to the German Princes to rise against the emperor, because why should Carlos have a single day of resting and fishing and reading a nice book. Imagine Fernando’s anger when he finds out about his son’s betrayal, especially because it means that, when Carlos finds out about the princes and asks Fernando about it, he is forced to lie to his brother for the first time to protect his son. Fernando, the noblest and most loyal brother ever. At least he got to be emperor and that line of the Habsburgs became his own.
So much drama. I never get tired of seeing those two brothers together, by the way. The casting is so good, if I squint I can’t tell them apart.
I’ve just remembered that I hadn’t mention a scene that I loved, when Felipe goes to Tordesillas with Maria Manuela to visit his –their- grandmother Juana before the baby is born, and Juana pretty much has a vision of this poor teen girl being struck by tragedy. I love that character.
By the way! La Corona Partida finally has a release date: February 19th.
Of course, don’t miss El Mundo de Carlos! They thoroughly explain what happened to Carlos during that four-year gap and all about Felipe’s puberty years! And they show images from La Corona Partida.
PS. They showed a summary before the episode of what had happened so far. I recommend you to watch it.