Royal Styles: Philip of Spain: 1540-1598

Philip as Titular King of England

The third session of Parliament (2 Apr 1554 - 5 May 1554) summoned by Queen Mary I passed "An act touching the articles of the Queen's highness most noble marriage." This act approved the terms of the marriage treaty between Mary and Philip of Spain, the son of the Holy Roman Emperor Karl V (Carlos I of Spain). In regard to Philip's status as the future titular King of England, the Act provided for the following scheme:

First it is covenanted and agreed, ... that as soon as conveniently may be, a true, pure, and perfect marriage shall by words of the present tense be contracted, celebrated, and consummated between the foresaid noble Prince and most noble lady the Queen in their proper persons in England; by virtue of which marriage so contracted, celebrated, and consummated, the said most noble Prince Philip shall for so long as the matrimony endureth be allowed to have and enjoy jointly together with the same most noble Queen his wife the style, honor, and kingly name of the realms and dominions unto the said most noble Queen appertaining, and shall aid the same most noble Queen his wife in the prosperous administration of her realms and dominions; saving nevertheless the rights, laws, privileges, and customs of the same realms and dominions.

This excerpt and the rest of the treaty leave no doubt regarding the fact that Mary continued to be the sole sovereign, notwithstanding Philip's sharing in the royal style and title and even preceding Mary therein, as is proper and meet for a Christian husband and wife.

"When Philip learned the terms of the marriage treaty, he was deeply annoyed. He considered them dishonourable, and contemplated abandoning the entire project. In the end the lure of a crown was too great, and he contented himself with making a formal but secret disclaimer, on 4 January [1554], declaring that he did not consider himself bound by the terms of a treaty which had been negotiated without his knowledge: 'he intended to grant the said power [to ratify the treaty] and swear to observe the articles in order that his marriage with the said queen of England might take place, but by no means in order to bind himself or his heirs to observe the articles.' (quoted from "Calendar of State Papers, Spanish", ed. by R. Tyler et al., 1862-1954). [1]

After the wedding took place at Winchester on 25 Jul 1554, Philip's authority was limited by a number of parliamentary acts. "An Act touching letters patent" (1&2 Philip & Mary c.1) confirmed that letters patent, etc., issued, as agreed, in the name of both King and Queen, derived their validity solely from the sign-manual of the Queen "as if she were sole and unmarried."

Philip's subordinate status is further documented by the provisions for a minority of a successor to Mary upon her death; the relevant Act of Parliament made Philip regent during the successor's minority, but while extending to him the protection of the Treason Laws during the marriage — they were not automatically applicable to him by virtue of the marriage treaty — did not extend them to such a regency. Philip was never crowned king of England and Mary was even dissuaded from "crowning" him with the coronet used for queens-consort.

Therefore, the status of Philip significantly differed from that of his wife. Excluded from political influence in England, Philip left England on 29 Aug 1555 and never returned.

Philip's Titles in Order of Appearance

Duke of Milan [Duca di Milano] (11 Oct 1540 - 13 Sep 1598)

King of Sicily [Re di Sicilia; Rey de Sicilia] and King of Jerusalem [Re di Gerusalemme; Rey de Jerusalén] (24 Jul 1554 - 13 Sep 1598; between 1554 and 1556 the title apparently was King of Naples and Jerusalem [Re di Napoli e di Gerusalemme; Rey de Nápoles y Jerusalén])

Duke of Brabant [Duc de Brabant] (25 Oct 1555 - 6 May 1598)

Count of Flanders [Comte de Flandre] (25 Oct 1555 - 6 May 1598)

Count of Hainaut [Comte de Hainaut] (25 Oct 1555 - 6 May 1598)

Duke of Limbourg [Duc de Limbourg] (25 Oct 1555 - 6 May 1598)

Duke of Luxembourg [Duc de Luxembourg] (25 Oct 1555 - 6 May 1598)

Count and Marquess of Namur [Comte et Marquis de Namur] (25 Oct 1555 - 6 May 1598)

Count of Holland and Lord of West Friesland [Graaf van Holland en Heer van West-Friesland] (25 Oct 1555 - 26 Jul 1581)

Count of Zeeland [Graaf van Zeeland] (25 Oct 1555 - 26 Jul 1581)

Duke of Gelre [Hertog van Gelre] (25 Oct 1555 - 26 Jul 1581)

Count of Friesland [Graaf van Friesland] (25 Oct 1555 - 26 Jul 1581)

Lord of the Ommelanden [Heer van de Ommelanden] (25 Oct 1555 - 26 Jul 1581)

Hereditary Lord of Utrecht [Erfheer van Utrecht] (25 Oct 1555 - 1585, from 26 Jul 1581 only in Overijssel)

Count of Drenthe [Graaf van Drenthe] (25 Oct 1555 - 1594)

Lord of Groningen [Heer van Groningen] (25 Oct 1555 - 1594)

King of the Spains and the Indies [Rey de las Españas y de las Indias] (16 Jan 1556 - 13 Sep 1598; an informal title used as abbreviation)

King of Aragon, Valencia, Mallorca and Sardinia [Rey de Aragón, Valencia, Mallorca y Cerdeña; Re di Sardegna] (16 Jan 1556 - 13 Sep 1598)

Count of Barcelona [Conde de Barcelona] (16 Jan 1556 - 13 Sep 1598)

King of Granada [Rey de Granada] (16 Jan 1556 - 13 Sep 1598)

Lord of Álava, Guipúzcoa, and Vizcaya [Señor de Álava, de Guipúzcoa, y de Vizcaya] (16 Jan 1556 - 13 Sep 1598)

King of Navarra [Rey de Navarra] (16 Jan 1556 - 13 Sep 1598)

King of Sicily [Re di Sicilia; Rey de Sicilia] (16 Jan 1556 - 13 Sep 1598; from 16 Jan 1556 styled King of the Two Sicilies and Jerusalem [Re delle Due Sicilie e di Gerusalemme; Rey de las Dos Sicilias y de Jerusalén])

Count of Burgundy [Comte de Bourgogne] (10 Jun 1556 - 6 May 1598; there is controversy concerning the date of Philip's accession to this polity; his father retained this polity past his abdication on 16 Jan 1556 for political reasons regarding the relationship with France; the Treaty of Vaucelles 5 Feb 1556 cleared the way for his relinquishing the Franche-Comté to Philip, and some sources date the abdication to that date)

King of Portugal and the Algarves [Rei de Portugal e dos Algarves] (17 Jul 1580 - 13 Sep 1598)

King of Ceylon [Rei de Ceilão] (27 May 1597 - 13 Sep 1598)


[1] "Mary Tudor: a life", by David Loades (Basil Blackwell, Cambridge, MA, 1989).
[2] "Tudor Royal Proclamations", compiled by Paul L. Hughes and James F. Larkin, 3 volumes (Yale University Press, 1964-1969).
Last updated on: 13 Mar 2010 01:47:30