The Troubled Trinity: Godoy and the Spanish Monarchs

By Douglas Hilt | Go to book overview

10
NAPOLEON

The Prince of the Peace was determined that Spain remain neutral despite the resumption of hostilities between France and England on May 18, 1803. Such a policy necessitated adroit handling of the respective ambassadors in Madrid. The English representative, John Hookham Frere (the translator of the Poema del Cid), went to great lengths to coax Godoy into an alliance against France. Frere, notwithstanding his profound knowledge of the Spanish language and literature, was less versed in tactful diplomacy and made little headway.

The French ambassador, however, was even more pressing than his English counterpart. Following instructions from the First Consul, Beurnonville requested Godoy, "as a token of friendship between the two nations," to return the sword of King François I taken by Emperor Carlos V at the Battle of Pavia, in 1525, and hinted that a refusal would be viewed with disfavor. Godoy replied: "I don't believe this trivial matter can cool such a good relationship; the proofs of esteem which the King has always given Bonaparte have their foundation in the common interest and glory of France and Spain, and precisely for this reason I am not of a mind that the King grant this petition as this sword recalls the ancient glories of our nation, and for that reason I shall always advise him not to accede."1 When Fernando briefly ascended the throne in 1808, one of his first ignominious acts was to deliver the historic sword to the French.

Much as one may admire Manuel's independent spirit, his room for

-145-

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The Troubled Trinity: Godoy and the Spanish Monarchs
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Illustrations viii
  • Preface ix
  • Chronology xiii
  • Introduction 1
  • I - Carlos and María Luisa 6
  • 2 - The Dazzling Ascent 22
  • 3 - Prince of the Peace 35
  • 4 - The French Alliance 47
  • 5 - A Royal Bride for Manuel 62
  • 6 - Entr'Acte 76
  • 7 - The Power of the Pen 97
  • 8 - The War of the Oranges 112
  • 9 - Family Squabbles 129
  • 10 - Napoleon 145
  • 11 - Parry and Thrust 163
  • 12 - The Escorial Affair 179
  • 13 - The Tightening Vise 197
  • 14 - Mutiny at Aranjuez 211
  • 15 - Jacta Est Alea 227
  • 16 - Exile 243
  • 17 - The Long Last Years 265
  • 18 - Coda 282
  • Notes 285
  • Glossary of Foreign Terms 308
  • Bibliography 311
  • Index 316
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