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HM King Carlos II of Spain 

Today I want to look at the genealogy of King Carlos II of Spain (1661-1700). If any royal person is a victim of too many dips into the gene pool it is him. Going back only a few generations, to his 8 great-grandparents we see 6 of them are all from the Habsburg dynasty and the final 2 are from the Bavarian Wittelsbach dynasty. If we go back one generation further it gets much worse.

The Spanish kingdoms of Castile and Aragon married into each other’s dynasties for generations. King Fernando II of Aragon (Fernando V of Castile) (1452-1516) was a first cousin to his wife Queen Isabelle I of Castile (1451-1504) and these two monarchs that united Spain were both the results of inter-cousin marriages of their forbears. When Fernando and Isabelle’s daughter, Joanna (1479-1555) married the Habsburg heir, Philipp (Felipe) (1478-1506), you would think bringing in new blood would have helped the Spanish line, while it did in the short term it was a problem in the long term. Every single one of his 64 great-great-great-great-great grandparents is a descendant of, or connect to, the marriage of Joanna of Spain and Philipp of Austria.

In 1516 Karl of Austria inherited Spain upon the death of his maternal grandfather King Fernando V-II of Castile-Aragon as King Carlos I of Spain (1500-1558) and in 1519 he succeeded his paternal grandfather Emperor Maximilian I as Holy Roman Emperor Karl V, making him one of the most powerful emperors since the time of Charlemagne. Technically, Karl was co-monarch of Spain along with his mother, who by that time had slipped into insanity after the death of her husband. Karl married his maternal first cousin Infanta Isabella of Portugal (1503-1539). In 1556 Karl abdicated all of his thrones and the Spanish and Italian crowns went to his eldest son Felipe II of Spain (1527-1598) and the Holy Roman Empire and Austrian titles went to his brother Ferdinand (1503-1564).

This seemed to have created a new problem genealogically speaking. For the next several generations the Spanish and Austrian branches of the Habsburg family intermarried with one another at what we today would find rather disturbing rate. For example, King Felipe III of Spain (1578-1621) was the son of King Felipe II of Spain and his 4th wife who was also his niece, Archduchess Anne of Austria (1549-1580). Now Anne of Austria’s mother, Marie of Spain (1528-1603) was the sister of King Felipe II of Spain, and was a first cousin to her husband, Holy Roman Emperor Maximilian II (1527-1576). Maximilian II himself was the product of an intermarriage also. His father, Emperor Ferdinand I, was a younger brother of Holy Roman Emperor Karl V, King of Spain, as we have seen, but Ferdinand married a cousin from the Hungarian branch of the Habsburg family.

Felipe III of Spain continued the practice of marrying into the Austrian branch of the Habsburg family. He married princess Margaret of Austria (1584-1611) who was the product of a uncle-niece union. Margaret’s mother, Marie of Bavaria (1551-1608) was the daughter of Duke Albrecht V of Bavaria (1528-1579) and Archduchess Anne of Austria (sister to Holy Roman Emperor Maximilian II). Marie of Bavaria’s husband was her uncle Archduke Karl II of Austria, Duke of Styria (1540-1590). Is your head spinning yet? Marie and Karl had 15 children but we will be concerned only with three: Margaret (1584-1611), the wife of Felipe III of Spain, Holy Roman Emperor Ferdinand II (1578-1637) and Archduke Leopold of Austria, Duke of Tyrol (1586-1632).

Felipe III and Archduchess Margaret had eight children, of whom five survived into adulthood. Only three concern us here. Anne of Austria (1601-1666), Felipe IV of Spain (1605-1665) and Marie Anne of Austria (1606-1646). Anne married King Louis XIII of France and Navarre (1601-1643) and were the parents of King Louis XIV of France and Navarre (1638-1715) and it was from this union stems the Bourbon claim to the Spanish throne. Felipe IV married twice. His first wife was Elisabeth de Bourbon-France (1602-1644) sister to King Louis XIII. Their daughter, Infanta Marie Therese of Spain (1638-1683) married her first cousin Louis XIV of France, strengthening the French royal house’s claim to the Spanish throne.

Felipe IV’s first wife, Elisabeth died in 1644, and their son, Infante Balthasar Carlos, died in 1646 leaving Felipe without an heir. He chose as his second wife his niece (but of course!), Archduchess Mariana of Austria (1634-1696), the daughter of Felipe IV’s sister Infanta Marie Anne of Spain and her first cousin, Holy Roman Emperor Ferdinand III (1608-1657). Felipe IV and Archduchess Marie Anne of Austria had two children that concern us here: Margaret Theresa and Carlos. Before I mention Carlos I will mention his sister, Infanta Margaret Theresa. Infanta Margaret Theresa married her cousin, Holy Roman Emperor Leopold I (1640-1705), who was the son of Holy Roman Emperor Ferdinand III and his second wife, Archduchess Marie of Austria, who was his niece being the product of the union of her father’s brother, Archduke Leopold of Austria, Duke of Tyrol and Claudia de Medici (wow, new blood!). From this union would stem the claims to the Spanish throne of both the Bavarian and Habsburg dynasties.

Carlos II of Spain suffered from this inbreeding. He was born physically and mentally disabled, and disfigured. He suffered from mandibular prognathism and he was was unable to chew. His tongue was so large that it was difficult for him to speak and to be understood. It was reported that he drooled. Medical historians suggest that he suffered from an endocrine disease acromegaly, and that his lineage may have contributed to rare genetic disorders such as combined pituitary hormone deficiency and distal renal tubular acidosis. He married twice. His first wife was his French cousin, Marie Louise of Orléans (1662–1689). His second wife was Maria Anna of Neuburg (1667-1740) a member of the Bavarian Wittelsbach dynasty. He left no heir and it is more than likely Carlos was impotent or sterile.

His death left a vacancy for the Spanish throne. He left the throne to his great-nephew, Prince Philippe de Bourbon, Duc D’Anjou who became King Felipe V of Spain. However there were other claimants to the Spanish throne and the death of King Carlos II lead to the War of the Spanish Succession which I will recount in next Monday’s look at royal genealogy.