‘She Grows Careless’: The Infanta Catalina Micaela and Spanish Etiquette at the Court of Savoy

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Book Chapter

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Department 1



Catalina Micaela (1567-1597), younger daughter of Philip II of Spain, married Carlo Emanuele I, Duke of Savoy, in 1585 and moved to Turin. Philip II sent her with strict instructions on how to run her household. This essay is based on the letters written by one of Catalina’s mayordomos (stewards), Cristóbal de Briceño, who complained that the Spanish royal court’s more formal rules of etiquette were not being followed in Turin and that he encountered great opposition when he tried to implement them. Catalina herself was careless in enforcing the rules, according to Briceño. Nevertheless, as a very young and newly married duchess in a foreign land, Catalina had to adapt to a new country and a new life, and the struggle over the Spanish rules of etiquette is but one example of the cultural adaptation and exchange brought about through dynastic marriages of the early modern era. A Mellon grant and a Research and Professional Development grant from Gettysburg College made possible the archival research for this essay, which was conducted at the Bibliothèque Publique et Universitaire de Genève and the Instituto Valencia de Don Juan in Madrid.


Original version is available from the publisher, Ashgate.

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