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Infanta Maria Anna of Spain was born in the Palace of El Escorial, near Madrid, on August 18, 1606 as the fourth child and third (but second surviving) daughter of King Felipe III of Spain and his wife Margaret of Austria, Archduchess of the Inner Austrian branch of the House of Habsburg, and the daughter of Archduke Charles II of Austria and Maria Anna of Bavaria and thus the paternal granddaughter of the Holy Roman Emperor Ferdinand I.

Infanta Maria Anna of Spain

Infanta Maria-Anna of Spain (18 August 1606 – 13 May 1646) was a Holy Roman Empress and Queen of Hungary and Bohemia by marriage to Holy Roman Emperor Ferdinand III. She acted as regent on several occasions during the absences of her spouse.

Of her seven siblings, only four survived infancy: Anna (later wife of King Louis XIII of France), Felipe IV of Spain, Charles (who died young in 1632) and Ferdinand (the later known Cardinal-Infante and Governor of the Spanish Netherlands). Maria Anna’s parents had a close kinship: her father was her mother’s first cousin once-removed. On her father’s side she was the granddaughter of King Felipe II of Spain, and his fourth wife and niece Archduchess Anne of Austria, and on her mother’s side she was the granddaughter of Charles II, Archduke of Inner Austria and his wife Princess Maria Anna of Bavaria.


From early childhood, Maria Anna has played an important role in the matrimonial projects of her father. In adolescence she was betrothed to Archduke Johann-Charles, eldest son and heir of Ferdinand II, Holy Roman Emperor and his first wife Maria Anna of Bavaria. Her fiance was her first cousin, being the son of her mother’s brother. The marriage never took place due to Archduke Johann-Charles’ early death in 1618.

In 1622, King James I-VI of England and Scotland received an offer from the Spanish King Felipe IV to strengthen the relations of their countries through a dynastic marriage between Charles, Prince of Wales, and Infanta Maria Anna. London and Madrid began active negotiations. The possible marriage between the Prince of Wales and the Spanish Infanta, was known in history under the name “Spanish Match”, and caused an internal political crisis in both England and Scotland.

Charles, Prince of Wales.

In 1623 the Prince of Wales, accompanied by George Villiers, 1st Duke of Buckingham, visited Madrid to meet his intended bride. However, Maria Anna did not wish to marry a Protestant and Charles would not convert to Catholicism. At the end, the wedding never took place not only for political reasons but also because of the reluctance of the new Spanish King to conclude a dynastic marriage with the House of Stuart. Charles eventually married Henrietta Maria of France, daughter of King Henri IV of France and Navarre and Marie de Medici.