Happy Birthday Charles V


Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor, by TizianHappy 510th Birthday, Charlie! Yes, on this day in history, 24th February 1500, Charles V Holy Roman Emperor was born in the Flemish city of Ghent. To commemorate the birth of this famous Tudor character, I’ve compiled the following factfile:-

Birth: 24th February 1500 in Ghent

Parents: Philip I of Castile (Philip the Handsome) and Queen Joanna of Castile (Juana la Loca or Joanna the Mad). He was the heir of all three of Europe’s major dynasties: the Trastamara of the Crowns of Aragon and Castile, the Valois of the Duchy of Burgundy and the Habsburgs of the Archduchy of Austria.

Relations: Charles V’s maternal grandparents were Ferdinand II of Aragon and Isabella I of Castile, making him the nephew of Catherine of Aragon, Henry VIII’s first wife. His paternal grandparents were Emperor Maximilian I and Mary of Burgundy.

Also known as: Charles I of Spain (Carlos I), Carlos V, Karel V, Charles Quint.

Titles: King of Spain (Charles I) from 1516-1556, Holy Roman Emperor (Charles V) 1519-1556 and Archduke of Austria 1519-1521. He is known as the first King of Spain because he was the first monarch to reign over both Castile and Aragon.

Motto: Plus Ultra, Further Beyond.

Upbringing: He was raised by his aunt, Margaret of Austria, the Regent of the Netherlands, and learned to speak 5 languages: French, Dutch, Spanish, German and Italian, although French was his mother tongue. His spiritual guide and teacher was Adrian of Utrecht who became Pope Adrian VI.

Marriage: 10th March 1526 in Seville, Spain – Charles married Isabella of Portugal, his first cousin and the daughter of Manuel I of Portugal and Maria of Aragon.

Children: The couple’s surviving children were Philip II of Spain (1527-1598) who married Mary I, Maria of Spain (1528-1603) who married Maximilian II Holy Roman Emperor, and Joan of Spain (1535-1573) who married Infante John of Portugal. Charles also had two illegitimate children by two different mistresses: John of Austria and Margaret of Parma.

Abdication: In 1555 and 1556 Charles abdicated from his various positions and gave his Spanish empire and claims to the Netherlands to his son, Philip II of Spain, and his imperial lands to his brother Ferdinand. He then moved to his final refuge, the monastery of Yuste in Extremadura, Spain.

Death: 21st September 1558 from malaria at the monastery of Yuste. He had previously been suffering from attacks of gout.

Buried: He was buried at the monastery church, but later moved to the Royal Pantheon of El Escorial, the Royal Palace at San Lorenzo de El Escorial near Madrid.

Appearance: Charles V had the famous “Habsburg jaw”, an enlarged lower jaw.

Charles V Quotes: “I speak Spanish to God, Italian to women, French to men and German to my horse”, “I came, I saw, God conquered”, ” My cousin Francis and I are in perfect accord – he wants Milan and so do I”, “Iron hand in a velvet glove”, “How absurd to try to make two men think alike on matters of religion, when I cannot make two timepieces agree!” and “Paris is not a city, but a universe”.

You can find out more about Charles V and his 4 million square km empire at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_V,_Holy_Roman_Emperor and http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/107009/Charles-V.

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8 thoughts on “Happy Birthday Charles V”
  1. I took the liberty of linking to this post. I love the way you remind us of other interesting characters of the Tudor period, alongside your fascinating articles on Anne. Thanks again, Claire!

  2. I’ve run across several versions of that first alleged quote: French to women, German to soldiers (& horses), etc. I wonder how authentic it is–but this seems to have happened with some other “famous quotations” as well, even if it’s just the developing multiplicity of sources for a single saying.

  3. Hi Claire, Matterhorn and Anson,

    great that this has been mentioned because the man fascinates me. How he could rule an empire so vast (taking into consideration the transport system) plus fight battles on differenet front (with France being in the way of his troops) is amazing. My mind boddles when I think what he did.

    Yes Anson, he did say something like you mentioned but I suppose if you live in different countries you feel in different ways – I certainly am a different person when I speak English and when I speak Spanish.

    I have a book which I keep in tehboffice called “The Reign of CHarles V” by William Maltby which is very interesting. I do have other books at home but cannot remember the names.

    There was a film which came out in Spain in the 90s (I think) about his mother called “Juana La Loca” who was played by the actress Pilar Lopez de Ayala who didn’t do a bad job in interpretation but the film was extremely dissapointing as it concentrated on Jauna’s obssion for her husband Philip the Fair and nothing else.

  4. Hi Jenny,
    Charles V was a rather interesting bloke wasn’t he? I can’t believe how much land he had under his control – huge! I’ve just bought “The Last Queen” by C W Gortner which is a fictional account of the life of Juana La Loca so I’m looking forward to reading that, I’ll let you know what it’s like.

  5. Thanks, Matterhorn, for linking to my post. I love your website and I loved that bit about the rebellion in Ghent and how the people came to be called “Noose-bearers”!

  6. Hi Claire,

    Jean Plaidy wrote a book – I think it is called “Spain’s Daughters” which covers part of the lives of those of Ferdinand and Isabelle – And remember “Juana La Loca” was one of Katherine of Aragon’s elder sisters. Let me know about the book you have when you’ve read it – If I bought all the books I really want then I definitely would be in great debt!!!! There are so many around these days that look enticing.

    But yes it is not only Charles V who fascinates me it is all those conquistadores , mainly Spanish, who discovered various parts of South America – returned to Spain, went back, returned, etc.
    and died quite young. How they could have moved such distancesd with the type of transport at the time makes my head whirl.

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