chapter  10
18 Pages

Isabel of Borbón’s Sartorial Politics: From French Princess to

ByHabsburg Regent

Behind my title “sartorial politics” lies the brief history of a body: the body politic of a French princess who was continuously transformed until she was converted into a Habsburg queen.There is no question that bodies took on greater significance in the sixteenth century, when treatises on civility flourished and etiquette became an instrument for modeling the behavior of kings, princes, and nobles. As part of this game of appearances, the body of the queen began to be given prominence as the means of procreating royal heirs. As happened often, however, the queen was also a symbol of the nation she represented. Because Isabel (16021644) was not born a Spanish Habsburg, but a French Bourbon, in this study I focus my attention on the experiences that led to her transformation into a Hispanicized princess, queen consort, and regent.