Spanish version

01. - Felipe V (1683-1746)

Maria Luisa de Saboya - Bust by Garavaque

Felipe V by RigaudFelipe V was born in Versailles. He was grandson of Louis XIV, The Sun King, of France and the nephew of the Spanish King, Carlos II. He became King of Spain in 1700. He had a very complicated personality. It is thought now that he suffered from bipolar disorder. Sometimes he was  euphoric and showed great activity, sometimes melancholly and depressed. During these times he confused day with night and made the whole court work during the night and sleep during daytime.

When he was 17,  just after becoming king, he married Maria Luisa Gabriela of Saboya. She was the first Italian to become Queen of Spain. She was only 13 when they married. She had a very childish appearance but she seems to have been also quite intelligent. In fact, during the War of Secession she was the one who motivated the apathetic king to fight against Carlos III, the other pretender to the throne of Spain.Isabel de Farnesio

They had four children, but only two lived to become adults and later kings, Luis I and Fernando VI.

During this marriage Felipe V was very taken by French culture and this shows in the influence of  this culture  in Spain. Felipe V founded the Biblioteca Nacional -National Library-, the Academia de Bellas Artes -Academy of Fine Arts-, the Real Academia de la Lengua Española -Royal Academy of Spanish Language-, and much more in imitation of the French academies.

He tried to centralize the organisms of State administration and created State departments.

After his wife died, he married Isabel de Farnesio in 1714. She was the Italian Princess of Parma. They had seven children. Although the children of the first marriage were the heirs to the throne, their first born, Carlos, eventually became king. So Felipe V had three sons that became kings. Nevertheless, Isabel de Farnesio looked after her children and found Italian Principalities for them or other high rank posts at the Spanish court.

The Italian influence was the next to grow. Felipe V wanted to recover the lost Italian territories, Menorca and Gibraltar, but Great Britain, France, the Netherlands and the German Empire had formed an alliance and thwarted his plans.

Family of Felipe V by van LooHowever, as we can see in the paintings of the royal family, the French influence did not dissapear completely. It was a time of wigs and luxurious dresses. Paris was the center of fashion.

In 1724, Felipe V suddenly abdicated in favour of his son Luis, the first born of his marriage with Maria Luisa de Saboya. But Luis I died almost immediately and Felipe V returned to the throne.

During this second reign, Felipe V changed and started thinking in a more Spanish and less Italian way.
He died in 1746 and his son, Fernando VI -also a son of Maria Luisa de Saboya- became his heir.

He is buried in the Palace of La Granja de San Ildefonso.

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