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Journal > Volumes > 46 (2015) / 1 (Spring)
Where Palace and Convent Met: The Descalzas Reales in Madrid
Magdalena S. Sánchez
Gettysburg College

Since its 1559 foundation in Madrid, the royal convent of the Descalzas Reales was a vital extension of the court, serving as a retreat for the women of the royal family, the royal children, and the king himself. Founded by Juana de Austria, sister of Philip II, the convent was later home to another of Philip’s sisters, Empress María of Austria, who brought numerous features of the court to the convent, including a large entourage. When Empress María’s daughter Margarita de la Cruz joined the convent, she took the vows of the Poor Clares and at her mother’s death, maintained a smaller retinue of servants and attendants but continued the patronage and gift-givingm networks typical of court life. Her example highlights the ability of Habsburg women to bring aspects of the court to the convent and the permeability of convent walls despite Tridentine reforms.

Pages: 53 - 82