How Philip II settled a fight between two princes

March 1, 2018

University of Alcalá

King Philip spared no means or expense which could contribute to the brilliant education of the three Princes.

The most famous doctors of the then flourishing University of Alcalá read them their lectures in private, and helped them with every kind of book and manuscript, about which Honorato Juan was extremely learned. Under his direction was copied at that time in Alcalá, solely with a view to the education of the three Princes, the celebrated manuscript of the scientific works compiled by Alfonso the Wise. Diego de Valencia copied the text, and Juan de Herrera went expressly to draw the astronomical figures with which it was illustrated. Philip II himself ordered and wrote with his own hand the arrangement of the hours of study, rest and recreation which the three illustrious students were daily to observe.

Don Carlos, Prince of Asturias, oldest son of Philip II.

They got up at six in the morning in summer, at seven in winter, and after bathing, dressing, and combing their hair, said their prayers in the presence of the Lord Steward and Gentlemen of the Bedchamber, all on their knees.

In these prayers they very especially prayed for the Kings of the earth and the souls of the dead. Then the three Princes breakfasted together, and afterwards heard Mass in D. Carlos’s private chapel.

Don Juan of Austria

Two hours of continual study with masters followed, always presided over by Honorato Juan. The lessons invariably began by reciting the Veni Creator, and ended by giving thanks to God. At eleven the three Princes left their room to dine in public; at twelve they had a music and singing lesson till one, and from that hour until four o’clock they returned to their studies, with which were interpolated riding and fencing lessons.

From four to five the Princes amused themselves as they liked with the gentlemen of the bedchamber and the gentlemen whom, with the approval of his tutor, D. Garcia de Toledo, the Prince received. Supper was at six o’clock, and after this, until nine, they went for walks and played games, according to the weather and as they pleased. At nine they said their beads all together, and then each one retired to his room. Sundays and feast days the hours of study were occupied in pious exercises, walks and games of skill and amusement.

King Philip II with his son Don Carlos de Austria.

The union and intimacy of the three Princes grew owing to this life, though it did not prevent their often having the quarrels natural to their age, which were always caused by D. Carlos’s hasty and ungovernable temper. Playing one day at pelota with D. John of Austria, a discussion arose about a doubtful stroke, and as the Prince had no more reasons to give he turned his back on D. John very rudely, saying that he could not argue with him, as he was not his equal by birth. D. John sprang like a wild beast, and, seizing D. Carlos’s coat, told him proudly that his mother was a German great lady, and that his father had been a much greater man than was that of D. Carlos. The latter was at once frightened, but afterwards, the first time the King came to see them, he referred to the subject. To which D. Philip gravely answered: “D. John is right. His mother is a German lady; and his father, the Emperor, my Lord, who was much greater than I am or ever can be. Note well, D. Carlos, the only thing in which he never equals you, is in pride and bad manners.”

The Story of Don John of Austria, by Padre Luis Coloma, S.J. of The Real Academia Espasola. Translated By Lady Moreton. Pg. 107 – 108

Stories on Honor, Chivalry, and the World of Nobility—no. 615

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