Don John of Austria is betrothed to war

June 20, 2011

Painting by Sánchez Coello , Alonso

But during this time alarming news reached the solitude of the convent of Abrojo of the rebellion of the Moors of Granada, and Juan de Quiroga, who, like all those who knew him well, simply adored D. John and recognized his military qualities, which only needed scope in which to expand and triumph, advised him to beg the King to give him the command of the expedition.

D. John was fired with the idea, but first desired to consult Fr. Juan de Calahorra and Doña Magdalena de Ulloa, who came to see him several times during those two months. The brother much applauded the project, and as if moved by a spirit of prophecy, said to D. John that not only would he obtain the command, but that it would procure a great name for him throughout Europe.

As to Doña Magdalena, she equally approved of the idea, and insisted on its realization with even more warmth than Juan de Quiroga or the brother; according to her, the indolent luxury of the Court was always harmful to D. John’s youth, and only the responsibilities and hardships of war could keep the proper balance of his ardent nature.

And expressing herself more freely to Fr. Juan de Calahorra, the discreet lady said, “As only the King can marry him to a princess, let us meanwhile betroth him to war; masking her ugliness with the cosmetics of glory.”


Rev. Fr. Luis Coloma, The Story of Don John of Austria, trans. Lady Moreton, (New York: John Lane Company, 1912), p. 167.

Short Stories on Honor, Chivalry, and the World of Nobility—no. 85

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