The Troubled Trinity: Godoy and the Spanish Monarchs

By Douglas Hilt | Go to book overview

12
THE ESCORIAL AFFAIR

The rapid advance of Junot's army made it imperative that Beauharnais approach Fernando as soon as possible. During the course of a royal reception, after he had humored the king and queen with suitable small talk, he made his way across the crowded salon to where the Prince of Asturias was standing. Fernando casually asked Beauharnais if he had ever been to Naples and what he thought of the city, whereupon in reply the ambassador pulled out his handkerchief and blew his nose--the agreed- upon signal between the two men. 1 The heir to the throne, whether he realized it or not, was addressing a direct appeal to Napoleon to intervene in Spain's domestic affairs. However, the French ambassador was not content with mere words. The same evening, he stressed to Escoiquiz the need for a written commitment from the prince to convince the emperor of his sincerity. "The [oral] pledge is audacious," he declared, "I favor it and hereby offer to work in like fashion. But words are borne away by the wind, and that is why I think it necessary that Carlos IV's heir give some surety of his wishes so that he will be believed."2 In brief, Napoleon was determined to extract the same damning type of document from Fernando that Godoy had already submitted relative to Portugal.

One minor problem remained. Napoleon preferred to peruse his correspondence in French, and it was suggested that, to achieve its intended effect, Fernando's letter to the emperor be written in that language. Escoiquiz and the ambassador between them composed an acceptable draft,

-179-

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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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