1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Philip III., king of Spain

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PHILIP III. (1578–1621), king of Spain, son of Philip II. and his fourth wife, Anne, daughter of the emperor Maximilian II., was born at Madrid on the 14th of April 1578. He inherited the beliefs of his father, but no share of his industry. The old king had sorrowfully confessed that God had not given him a son capable of governing his vast dominions, and had foreseen that Philip III. would be led by his servants. This calculation was exactly fulfilled. The new king put the direction of his government entirely into the hands of his favourite, the duke of Lerma, and when he fell under the influence of Lerma's son, the duke of Uceda, in 1518, he trusted himself and his states to the new favourite. The king's own life was passed amid court festivities, on which enormous sums of money were wasted, or in the practice of childish piety. It was said that he was so virtuous as hardly to have committed a venial sin. He cannot be justly blamed for having been born to rule a despotic monarchy, without even the capacity which would have qualified him to manage a small estate. He died at Madrid on the 31st of March 1621. The story told in the memoirs of the French ambassador Bassompierre, that he was killed by the heat of a brasero (a pan of hot charcoal), because the proper official to take it away was not at hand, is a humorous exaggeration of the formal etiquette of the court.

R. Watson and W. Thompson, History of Philip III. (1786), give the most available general account of his reign; see also the continuation of Mariana's History of Spain by Miñana (Madrid, 1817–1822).