Political Decisions

Philip II of Spain was an incredibly politically savvy ruler throughout his life. He used a number of strategies to achieve his goals. First, he had been raised and trained to rule his entire life by his father, Charles V, the Holy Roman Emperor. At the age of eight, Philip was given his own household, away from his parents so that he could be trained in the art of kingship, with Don Juan de Zúñiga, comendador mayor of Castile, as his governor and councilor.[1] Second, he carefully controlled his image throughout his kingship, commissioning artwork of himself and his family that would help him to achieve his political goals. Such works include Titian’s Philip II in Armor, painted in 1548, before Philip ascended to the throne; Sofonisba Anguissola’s Philip II of Spain, from 1565; and another later painting by Titian, Portrait of Philip II. Finally, Philip was incredibly involved in the everyday business of the kingdom, writing a vast amount of letters to his advisors, his nobles, and his military leaders regarding the specifics of the kingdom.

[1] Peter Pierson, Philip II of Spain (London: Thames and Hudson, 1975), 15.

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