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Catalina Micaela of Spain

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Catalina Micaela of Spain (Spanish: Catalina Micaela de Austria; 10 October 1567 – 6 November 1597) was a duchess of Savoy who ruled the duchy as regent several times during the absence of her husband, Charles Emmanuel I. She was the younger surviving daughter of Philip II of Spain and Elisabeth of Valois.

Early life

Catalina Micaela was the daughter of Philip II, ruler of the vast Spanish Empire, and his third wife, the French princess Elisabeth of Valois.[1] She was described as beautiful, intelligent, arrogant and well aware of her high social status. Though her father did not attend her christening and was not as rejoiced at the birth of a daughter as he had been with her elder sister, Isabella Clara Eugenia, she had a good relationship with him. Philip and Catherine Michelle exchanged letters throughout her life. She had a close relationship with her sister. They were raised together under the care of Margarita de Cardona, the lady-in-waiting of their stepmother, Anna of Austria, and some of her mother's own ladies such as Claude de Vineulx. Her grandmother Catherine de' Medici got regular reports of Catherine and her sister and she had their portraits sent and put in her book of hours. She was probably named after Catherine de Medici.

Catherine and her elder sister Isabella
Catherine and her elder sister Isabella

Duchess consort of Savoy

Duke Charles Emmanuel I of Savoy suggested that he should marry Catalina Micaela as a way of gaining Spanish support for his plans to expand Savoy on the coast of the then weakened France. The wedding took place in Zaragoza on 11 March 1585 and the couple made their entrance to Turin in Savoy 10 August 1585.

Catalina Micaela was initially unpopular because of her arrogance and attempts to introduce Spanish pomp, ceremony and way of dress to the court in Turin. However, she soon gained respect because of her political and diplomatic skill, which she used to defend the autonomy of Savoy against Spain. She refused the Spanish offer to install a Spanish garrison in Turin from Milan with the excuse of giving her a life guard. She is reported to have had great influence on Charles Emmanuel I and to have reformed him for the better. She also served as regent several times during the absence of the duke on military campaigns, such as during the Lyon campaign in 1594. Catherine Michelle also benefited cultural life in Savoy, founded many new buildings including an art gallery. Due to her influence, her sons were educated in Spain.

Catherine as Duchess of Savoy
Catherine as Duchess of Savoy

Catalina Micaela died near the end of 1597; she had miscarried earlier that year. Her father died the following year.


In 1584, she married Charles Emmanuel I, Duke of Savoy.[2] This marriage produced ten children:



  1. ^ Pitts 2009, p. 311.
  2. ^ Bercé 1996, p. 8.
  3. ^ a b Rapelli 2011, p. 265.


  • Bercé, Yves-Marie (1996). The Birth of Absolutism: A History of France, 1598-1661. MacMillan Press Ltd.
  • Pitts, Vincent Joseph (2009). Henri IV of France: His Reign and Age. Johns Hopkins University Press.
  • Rapelli, Paola (2011). Symbols of Power in Art. Getty Publications.
This page was last edited on 25 July 2021, at 01:11
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