Conscious of His Son’s Softness, Philip II of Spain Gives Him a Last Lesson From His Death Bed

August 11, 2022

Últimos momentos de Felipe II (Last moments of Philip II) by Jover y Casanova, Francisco. The dying monarch blesses his son, the future Felipe III, in the presence of his daughter Isabel Clara Eugenia, both in the center. Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid

The king told his clergy to give him extreme unction ‘while he is still conscious and can make the responses.’ On 1 September the sacrament was administered. The king ‘asked for the cross which his father the emperor held when he was dying. He sent for the prince and told him to remain during the ceremony and contemplate this example of worldly misery.’ The solemn ceremony, a final leave-taking, was also witnessed by the archbishop of Toledo. . . . After the proceedings, Philip asked everybody to withdraw except his son. He then explained to the prince that he had wanted him to see ‘the end to which everything comes.’ He also enjoined him to be a protector of religion and justice. . . .

Henry Kamen, Philip of Spain (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 1997), 315.

Short Stories on Honor, Chivalry, and the World of Nobility—no. 841




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