“Spes maxima nostra”: European Propaganda and the Spanish Match

  • Corinna Streckfuss
Part of the Queenship and Power book series (QAP)


When we think about the marriage of Mary I and Philip of Spain, “spes maxima nostra / our greatest hope” is a far from obvious description.1 In terms of greatness, it rather tends to be seen as a “great mistake.” Its political circumstances were difficult: the bride was queen regnant of a country that had forsaken allegiance to the papacy twenty years before, and the bridegroom was a prince from a devout Catholic country within the Habsburg Empire. Due to English fears of “foreign dominance,” the marriage had been controversial ever since Mary’s intentions had leaked out in the autumn of 1553, and its critics were finally proved to have been right four years later when England lost Calais, her last possession on the continent, in Philip’s war against France.2


Great Hope Wedding Ceremony Italian Author Charles Versus Identifiable Author 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 2.
    See David Loades, Mary Tudor. A Life (Oxford and Cambridge, MA: Blackwell, 1989), Chapters 5 and 6,Google Scholar
  2. David Loades, The Reign of Mary Tudor: Politics, Government and Religion in England 1553–58, 2nd edn. (London and New York: Longman, 1991), chapters 5 and 9.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    See, among others, Europatriumphans: Courtand Civic Festivals in Early Modern Europe, ed. J. R. Mulryne, H. Watanabe-O’Kelly and M. Shewring, 2 vols. (Aldershot: MHRA in cooperation with Ashgate, 2004)Google Scholar
  4. H. Watanabe-O’Kelly, “Early Modern European Festivals: Politics and Performance, Event and Record” in Court Festivals of the European Renaissance: Art, Politics and Performance, ed. J. R. Mulryne and E. Goldring (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2002), 1–12.Google Scholar
  5. 4.
    “Propaganda” will be understood in this essay as the dissemination of (partially tailored) information in order to persuade specific audiences of the rightfulness and desirability of certain events and aims. For a further discussion of the employability of this term for early modern times see, among others, A. Heintzel, Propaganda im Zeitalter der Reformation: Persuasive Kommunikation im 16. Jahrhundert (St. Augustin: Gardez!, 1998)Google Scholar
  6. B. Taithe and T. Thornton, “Propaganda: A Misnomer of Rhetoric and Persuasion?” in Propaganda: Political Rhetoric and Identity1300–2000, ed. B. Taithe and T Thornton (Stroud: Alan Sutton, 1999), 1–24.Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    See “Heywood, John,” ODNB; “Christopherson, John,” ODNB; “Elder, John,” ODNB; P. de Gayangos, “Introduccion” in Viaje de Felipe Segundo á Inglaterra, por Andres Muñoz (impreso en Zaragoza en 1554), y relaciones varias relativas al mismo suceso, ed. P. de Gayangos (Madrid: Aribau, 1877), vi;Google Scholar
  8. M. A. S. Hume, “The Visit of Philip II,” EHR 7 (1892): 258–9 (on Enriquez and Car.);Google Scholar
  9. A. Asor-Rosa, “Albicante, Giovanni Alberto” in Istituto della Enciclopedia italiana (ed.), Dizionario biografico degli italiani, 63 vols. (Rome: Istituto della Enciclopedia italiana, 1960-), II: 1–2;Google Scholar
  10. A. Roersch, “Nicolas de Marner” in LAcadémie Royale des Sciences des Lettres et des Beaux-Arts de Belgique (ed.), Biographie Nationale, 44 vols. (Brussels, 1898), XV: cols. 685–91; “Junius, Hadrianus,” ODNB; and for Gorecki, Allgemeines Gelehrtenlexicon…, ed. C. G. Jöcher, 4 vols. (Leipzig, 1750), II: col. 1075.Google Scholar
  11. 12.
    See John Guy, “My Heart Is My Own”: The Life of Mary Queen of Scots (London: Harper Perennial, 2004), 89.Google Scholar
  12. 39.
    Elder, Ciir ff. For a full analysis of the royal entry and its pageantry see Sydney Anglo, Spectacle, Pageantry, and Early Tudor Policy, 2nd edn. (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1997), 326–39.Google Scholar
  13. 46.
    Elder, Avir, Bvr; Cvr. See also Judith Richards, “Mary Tudor as “Sole Quene’?: Gendering Tudor Monarchy,” HJ 40 (1997): 910CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Alexander Samson, “The Marriage and Royal Entry of Philip, Prince of Austria, and Mary Tudor, July-August 1554,” SCJ 36 (2005): 763, 767. See also Alexander Samson’s “Power Sharing: The Co-monarchy of Mary and Philip” in this volume.Google Scholar
  15. 47.
    In one Spanish manuscript, however, it was claimed that Philip sat on the right during the wedding ceremony: see R. Hilton, “The Marriage of Queen Mary and Philip of Spain,” Papers and Proceedings of the Hampshire Field Club and Archaeological Society, 14 (1939): 55.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Anna Whitelock and Alice Hunt 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Corinna Streckfuss

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations