chapter  4
18 Pages

“Lord of my soul”: The Letters of Catalina Micaela, Duchess of Savoy, to Her Husband, Carlo Emanuele I

ByMagdalena S. Sánchez

In life or death, the monastic habit was an integral part of the attire of male and female members of the Habsburg dynasty, as princes and princesses were traditionally buried in a monastic shroud. The religious dress signifies that its wearer has entered the monastic state, or ordo sacer, through religious profession. There was an overwhelming preference for the reformed and mendicant orders at the Spanish Habsburg courts with regard to the choice of convents that princesses entered or their choice of burial dress. Margaret's dress, according to Palma, was richly embroidered in gold and encrusted with figurative ornaments of great artifice, precious pearls and jewels, all of which had been particularly designed for the occasion. Micaela dressed in the fashionable high-necked Spanish court attire. the tailoring of the religious garb was also influenced by the fashions of court costume, so that some habits of Habsburg princesses resulted in a hybrid of monastic and courtly traditions of dress.