Main Page | See live article | Alphabetical index

Philip III of Spain

Philip III (April 14, 1578 - March 31, 1621) was the king of Spain, from 1598 until his death. His chief minister was the Duke of Lerma. Philip III married Margaret, sister of Ferdinand II.

Born at Madrid, the son of Philip II of Spain and his fourth wife, Anne, daughter of the emperor Maximilian II.

He inherited the beliefs of his father, but no share of his industry. The old king had sorrowfully confessed that God had not given him a son capable of governing his vast dominions, and had foreseen that Philip III would be led by his servants. This calculation was exactly fulfilled.

The new king put the direction of his government entirely into the hands of his favourite, the duke of Lerma, and when he fell under the influence of Lerma's son, the duke of Uceda, in 1618, he trusted himself and his states to the new favourite. The king's own life was passed amid court festivities, on which enormous sums of money were wasted, or in the practice of childish piety. It was said that he was so virtuous as hardly to have committed a venial sin. He cannot be justly blamed for having been born to rule a despotic monarchy, without even the capacity which would have qualified him to manage a small estate.

He died at Madrid on March 31, 1621. The story told in the memoirs of the French ambassador Bassom-pierre, that he was killed by the heat of a brasero (a pan of hot charcoal), because the proper official to take it away was not at hand, is a humorous exaggeration of the formal etiquette of the court.

He was the father of Anne of Austria (1601 - 1666), who became Queen of France; as well as Philip IV.

Preceded by:
Philip II of Spain
List of Spanish monarchs Succeeded by:
Philip IV of Spain
(ruled Portugal
as D. Felipe III)

Initial text from a 1911 Encyclopaedia - Please update as needed.