Spanish Royalty. Born the daughter of Philip II of Spain and his third wife, Elizabeth of Valois, in Segovia, Spain. She was reportedly her father's favorite child. Initially betrothed to Rudolf II, Holy Roman Emperor, the betrothal came to nothing. Her father unsuccessfully proposed her as heir to the throne of France after the assassination of her uncle, Henri III in 1589, in conflict with French Salic Law. Henry of Navarre, was the rightful King by that law, and made good his claim. From 1695, she served as her father's aide during the last three years of his life, when his health began to deteriorate. In 1599, she married Archduke Albert of Austria, the younger brother of Rudolf II. Her dowry was the joint rule of the ten southern provinces of the Spanish occupied Netherlands. Early in their reign, war continued between Spanish forces and the Dutch, and the rulers could effect neither a military defeat of the United Provinces to the north nor a political reconciliation, so an armistice was arranged with the free Dutch in April 1607. The twelve year truce finally allowed the area to recover from incessant war. The last of the couple's three children was born the same year; none would survive to adulthood. They enjoyed a reputation as patrons of the arts, and were noted for the appointment of Peter Paul Rubens as their court painter in 1609. Her husband's health was broken by the winter of 1613, and the couple spent the remaining years of his life in an attempt top renew the Twelve Years Truce. With his death in 1621, however, those efforts failed. Isabella then joined the Third Order Secular of Franciscans and was appointed the Governor of the Netherlands on behalf of the King of Spain, serving until her death at age 67.
Bio by: Iola
Albert VII Archduke of Austria