Charles V

Short bio

Charles V was born on 24 February 1500 in Ghent (Belgium). He was the first son of Joan (daughter of the Catholic Monarchs) and Philip the Handsome (son of Maximilian of Austria). In 1517, he came to Spain to be recognised by the Cortes [Parliament] of Castile, Aragon and Catalonia and pledged an oath before them, moreover, as Count of Barcelona. He engaged in a prolonged conflict with Francis I of France for European hegemony gaining diplomatic victory in 1519. His coronation as Emperor took place in Aachen in 1520. He would receive the following two crowns in Bologne (Italy) in 1530.

The continuing confrontations with France, especially in Italy, the Turkish threat in the Mediterranean and the war between Protestants and Catholics in 1531 took its toll on Charles V. For this reason, on 25 October 1555, he decided to abdicate the throne in Brussels and divide his vast heritage between his brother Ferdinand and his son Philip II.

After his abdication, Charles V travelled again to Spain. The place he chose to retire to is the Monastery of Yuste, in Extremadura. He ordered a palace to be built adjacent to the monastery. It was to be decorated with tapestries and paintings by Titian. He had 50 servants. Despite his desire to distance himself from politics, he closely followed affairs of state until the day of his death on 21 September 1558.

Signature of the emperor in his testament (Brussels 1.554)