Despite Being Abandoned By His King, Don John Perseveres

September 27, 2018

Marie Claire de Croy, Duchess d’Havre and Child by Anthony van Dyck.

The Duchess of Arschot and the Marchioness of Havré, who were at Namur, indignant at the bad conduct of their husbands, wrote to D. John protesting and offering themselves as hostages. He answered that his mission was to serve ladies, not to make them captive, and sent them 600 crowns, so that they might rejoin their husbands. So impoverished was D. John that to obtain this money he had to borrow from the gentlemen and servants who had followed him.

Painting of Don Juan of Austria by a 16th Century Court Painter.

Bad as this was, the worst part of D. John’s situation was that Philip II persisted in upholding that policy of peace, which was encouraging the States more and more, forbidding the Spanish regiments to return to Flanders to continue the war, which D. John thought absolutely necessary, and as a means of forcing him to this obedience, against his opinions and wishes Philip adopted the plan of sending no money whatever to Flanders or answering the frequent and despairing letters the poor Prince wrote, which, after four centuries, give one pain to read. But what was the most extraordinary, and which immersed D. John in a sea of fears and perplexities and made him foresee grave catastrophes, was that his false friend Antonio Pérez did not write either, and the good and loyal Escovedo preserved the same silence.

Rev. Fr. Luis Coloma, The Story of Don John of Austria, trans. Lady Moreton, (New York: John Lane Company, 1912) Book IV, Ch. XVI, pp. 376-381

Stories on Honor, Chivalry, and the World of Nobility—no. 645



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