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Carlos the Bewitched
John Nada
publisher: Querido, Amsterdam, 1962

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This book follows the sad and poor existence of HM Carlos II Habsburg of Spain Ė the product and victim of generations of inbreeding between the Spanish and Austrian Habsburgs. We are shown how Carlos was treated merely as a pawn in the political game of control as regent. The main influences throughout his life were limited to his mother, Queen Marianna Habsburg; his wives, Princess Marie Louise de Orleans of France and Princess Maria Anna Wittelsbach of Neuburg, and his bastard half brother, Don Juan de Austria.

From his birth, Carlos was expected and doomed to fail as a king, physically, mentally and, most importantly, reproductively. The child of an uncle and his niece, Carlos inherited a more concentrated dose of Habsburg blood which gave him no chance in avoiding the trademark Habsburg jaw and lip. Hardly being able to chew his own food, Carlos became king at the age of three, but didnít walk on his own until he hit ten. The regency established under his mother, Queen Marianna, lasted for roughly twelve years; two more than his fatherís will had specified. Marianna relinquished power only with her death on 16th May 1696 from breast cancer.

With Carlos not expected to produce an heir and both of his wives leading miserable lives branded as barren, the issue of succession was indeed
a hot topic. With three different candidates from three warring families; the Bourbons, the Wittelsbachs and the Austrian Habsburgs; everyoneís interest was divided. Although Carlos was not expected to live long, he surprised all of Europe for surviving to his 38th birthday. During those anxious years, France, England, Spain, Austria, Portugal, Bavaria and the Netherlands warred with and against each other in favour of their candidate that would suit their interests the best.

As many know, Duke Philippe de Bourbon of Anjou won out against Archduke Charles Habsburg who later became HRE Charles VI and Prince Joseph Ferdinand Wittelsbach of Bavaria who died of smallpox part way through the war. Felipe V de Bourbon of Spain had won the throne due to his grandmother Queen Maria Theresa the daughter of Philip IIIís blood and his grandfather, Louis XIVís, determination.

Carlos died before his 39th birthday ending the Habsburg tradition of inbreeding; however it would seem that the succeeding Bourbons had not learned from example and continued the same tradition for generations to come. Carlos the Bewitched is an interesting read that enlightens the reader to the sad character that was the last Habsburg king of Spain. Four crowns.



Carlos the Bewitched
Biography of the last Spanish Hapsburg, Carlos II.
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