Lavish Court Life

Though the court of Philip II was one which was severely lacking in funds by the time he came into power, it was still an extremely lavish place. During his reign, Philip was forced to declare bankruptcy as many as four times because of the great amount of funds that he borrowed from investors, particularly in Italy, and could not afford to pay back. John Lynch wrote that the cost of the numerous wars in which Spain was embroiled “remained a burden for several decades to come.”[1]

In spite of these economic burdens, Philip’s court was richly decorated and attended by much of the nobility. These concessions to vanity and desire to promote the wealth and power of Spain can be seen in the poetry and plays produced at the court of Philip II, and in the courts of his descendants in following years. In addition to this, the building of El Escorial was very costly, and provided a new space for the court to live.


[1] John Lynch, Spain 1516-1598: From Nation State to World Empire (Cambridge, MA: Blackwell Publishers, 1992), 472.

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