This study attempts to reconstruct the image of the Spanish Court of Margaret Theresa, the first wife of Leopold I, Holy Roman Emperor, through the eyes of contemporary observers. Preserved primary sources show that their authors did not consider this narrowly defined circle of people as a colourful group of individual personalities but viewed them as stereotypical representatives of the Spanish Kingdom. For this reason, in written testimonies of contemporary observers, including Leopold I himself, there appear several partial images of Margaret Theresa's Spanish Royal Court and figuratively that of the Spaniard, which are based on the characteristic features of persons of Iberian Peninsular origin. On the one hand, the image comes to the foreground of an individual who had at his disposal not inconsiderable financial means, which manifested itself in ostentatious conduct. These means armed him with a requisite self-awareness of his power. In addition to coming from a well heeled background, the true Spaniard had exquisite taste and dressed with restraint and dignity. Another partial image reflects the persons of Hispanic origin who were famous for their intolerance and aggression towards those around them. Their intolerance was closely linked to the non-adaptability and disdain of the Spaniards towards the Central European environment and the lifestyle of the Viennese Court. This was expressed in the use of their native language, customary diet, efforts to change the everyday routine of the Imperial family, as well as regulations concerning court ceremonial and the fact that Margaret Theresa surrounded herself completely by Spanish courtiers. As far as Leopold I. was concerned, the chronic untrustworthiness of individuals from the Iberian Peninsula who had allegedly not hesitated to break their word, played an important role. The spontaneous dislike and distrust of the Emperor towards Spain was further strengthened by the protracted negotiations with the Madrid Court for Margaret Theresa's hand in marriage and the subsequent delays connected to naming the exact date of departure of the second born daughter of Philip IV of Spain to Vienna.
Financed by the National Centre for Research and Development under grant No. SP/I/1/77065/10 by the strategic scientific research and experimental development program:
SYNAT - “Interdisciplinary System for Interactive Scientific and Scientific-Technical Information”.