Your RDA of Irony

Royal Fractions

September 22, 1601: Happy Birthday Anne of Austria

She was born in Spain; but history and the 47 or so film versions of “The Three Musketeers” always refer to her as Anne of Austria, nominal wife of Louis XIII and definite (if unexplained) mother of Louis XIV.  I can’t solve “the” mystery, but I can resolve the question of her location.

It is not just a question of the French being obnoxious.  For once, there was a rationale behind the rudeness.  Anne may have been born in Valladolid, Spain but she was all Hapsburg, the culmination of four generations of Austrian inbreeding.  Her mother was Margaret of Austria and her father, Philip III, was the son of an Austrian princess.  His father, Mr. Armada, had four wives (almost enough for a PBS series); and three of those wives were Hapsburg cousins.

To save time, I should mention those ancestors of Anne who weren’t Hapsburgs.  One of her great-great-grandfathers wasn’t: congratulations Manuel of Portugal.  Technically, two more weren’t Hapsburgs:  Wilhelm IV of Bavaria and Vladislaus II of Hungary; but would you like to guess their mothers’ maiden name?  As for the other great-great-grandfathers, yes, they were those pointy-chinned Austrians.  In fact, Philip I was not only Anne’s great-grandfather on two sides, he was also her great-great-great grandfather on two other sides.

Considering the inbreeding, Anne seemed remarkably normal.  Otherwise, the French–with their usual kindness–would have called her Anne the Drooling Imbecile.  (That epithet would be reserved for her nephew Charles II, the last of the Spanish Hapsburgs.)


  1. Shirley says:

    Sounds like an AKC pedigree. 🙂

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