After signing the Treaty of Senlis in 1493, that settled matters after Charles VIII had dumped Maraget of Austria to marry Anne of Brittany even though she was already married to Maximilian I. It was only natural that Maximilian I started to look for suitable allies against the French king. The best way to get allies was through marriage and lucky for him Maximilian I had two beautiful children that were of legal age to marry. Getting married with the right partner was a bit like gambling though, because death and births could have a huge impact not only in the families but also on the history of a nation.
Dad decided to lead by example and married Bianca Maria Sforza to get a nice dowry of 400.000 ducats and now it was time to select good candidates for his son Philip the Fair and Margaret of Austria. Eventually he started negotiations with the Trastámara. He talked with Ferdinand II of Aragon and Isabella I of Castille about marrying their children. It was decided that Philip the Handsome would marry Joanna of Castille who was 3th in line for the throne and Margaret of Austria would marry John, Prince of Asturias, who was first in line for the throne, because he was the only son. Philip married in 1496 and Margaret in 1497.
The prime reason for the alliance was their mutual dislike of the French king Charles VIII. As you remember Charles VIII had given Maximilian I and Margaret of Austria grief in the past and on top of that he had started to invade Italy. Maximilian I also had his promise to the duke of Milan, uncle of his new wife Bianca Maria Sforza to consider. Ferdinand II was also angered with the French king because he had attacked the kingdom of Naples belonged to other member of the House of Trastámara.
This is one of those arrangements that changed a lot in Europe for generations to come. Now Spain, Italy and the low countries were linked with each other. The Habsburgs did very well for themselves. Perhaps Austria’s motto was still true:
“Leave the waging of wars to others! But you, happy Austria, marry; for the realms which Mars awards to others, Venus transfers to you”.
How their marriages turned out I will write about in other posts :).
Le deseo muy buenas tardes, Hilde