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Philip V (Spanish: Felipe V; French: Philippe de France; 19 December 1683 - 9 July 1746), fils de France and Duke of Anjou, was King of Spain from 1700 to 14 January 1724, when he abdicated in favor of his son, Louis I of Spain, and from 31 August 1724 to 1746, assuming the throne again upon his son's death. Philip was the first Bourbon king of Spain. His entire reign of 45 years and 21 days is the longest in Spanish history.


Philip was born at the Palace of Versaillesmarker in France the second son of Louis, le Grand Dauphin and Duchess Maria Anna of Bavaria, Dauphine Victoire. He was a younger brother of Louis, duc de Bourgogne and an uncle of Louis XV of France. At his birth he was named Duke of Anjou, which he would be known as until he became the king of Spain. He was baptised in 1687.

His paternal grandparents were Louis XIV of France and Maria Theresa of Spain. His maternal grandparents were Ferdinand Maria, Elector of Bavaria and Princess Henriette Adelaide of Savoy, the daughter of Victor Amadeus I, Duke of Savoy.

His older brother, Louis de France, duc de Bourgogne (1684-1712), was in line to the throne right after his father, Le Grand Dauphin, thus leaving him and his younger brother, Charles de France, duc de Berry (1686-1714) little expectation to ever rule over France.

As the son of the Dauphin, he was a Petit fils de France, "Grandson of France". This rank allowed him precedence over all at the court of his grandfather Louis XIV as well as the Princes of the Blood. This also allowed him the style of address Royal Highness. Despite this, the style was rarely used in France at the time except in relations with foreign powers; he was also allowed the style of Most High and Powerful Prince which was the one more commonly used. He was tutored with his brothers by François Fénelon, Archbishop of Cambraimarker. The three were also educated by Paul de Beauvilliers.

At the age of 6, Philip lost his mother. His had wed in 1680 and had his father Louis had always suffered from great melancholy. His father would later marry Marie Emilie Thérèse de Joly de Choin in a secret marriage in 1695. She was never Dauphine as Philip's mother was due to the union being Morganatic.

In 1697 his eldest brother Louis married a cousin, Princess Maria Adelaide of Savoy. She was the daughter of Victor Amadeus II, Duke of Savoy and Philip's second cousin Anne Marie d'Orléans. The Duke and Duchess of Savoy were also the parents of Philip's first wife Maria Luisa of Savoy.

A possible bride was Caroline of Ansbach who refused due to her not wanting to renounce her faith. She was later the wife of George II of Great Britain. Another possible bride was his aunt Marie Anne de Bourbon, Dowager Princess of Conti - legitimised daughter of Louis XIV and Louise de La Vallière. The Dowager Princess refused in 1698.

On 2 November 1701 Philip married the 13-year old Princess Maria Luisa Gabriella of Savoy as chosen by his grandfather. There was a proxy ceremony at Turin and another at Versailles on 11 September. This marriage was to cement the Treaty of Turin, which ended Franco-Savoyard conflicts during the Nine Years' War. The Duke and Duchess of Burgundy also personified this treaty.

The new Queen of Spain was a popular choice. She was a bright and pretty girl who would later serve as regent for her husband on several occasions. Her most successful term was when Philip was away touring his Italian domains for nine months in 1702.

In 1714 Maria Luisa died at the age of 26. She was nicknamed La Savoyana by her adoring subjects and was well loved in Spain. She died of Tuberculosis. Philip was distraught. The king needed to marry again. His next wife would be the famous Elisabeth of Parma - she was the daughter of Odoardo II Farnese and Dorothea Sophie of the Palatinate. She was the Heiress of the Duchy of Parma for most of her life. At the age of twenty-one (24 December 1714) she was married by proxy at Parmamarker. The marriage was arranged by Cardinal Alberoni, with the concurrence of the Princesse des Ursins, the Camarera Mayor of the King of Spain.

Claims to the Spanish throne

In 1700 the King of Spain Charles II died childless. Charles' will named the 16-year old Philip, the grandson of Charles' sister Maria Theresa of Spain, as his successor. Upon any possible refusal, the Crown of Spain would be offered next to Philip's younger brother, the duc de Berry, or, next, to Archduke Charles of Austria.

Both claimants, Philip and Charles of Austria, had a legal right to the Spanish throne due to the fact that Philip's grandfather, King Louis XIV of France and Charles's father, Leopold I, Holy Roman Emperor, were sons of Charles II's aunts, Anne of Austria and Maria Anna of Austria. Philip had the better claim because his grandmother and great-grandmother were older than Leopold's. However, the Austrian branch claimed that Philip's grandmother had renounced the Spanish throne for herself and her descendants as part of her marriage contract. This was countered by the French branch's claim that it was on the basis of a dowry that had never been paid.

After a long council meeting where the Dauphin spoke up in favour of his son's rights, it was agreed that Philip would ascend the throne but would forever renounce his claim to the throne of France for himself and his descendants.

After the Royal Council decided to accept Charles' will naming Philip king of Spain, the Spanish ambassador was called in and introduced to his new king. The ambassador, along with his son, knelt before Philip and made a long speech in Spanish which Philip did not understand, although Louis XIV did as Philip had only begun taking Spanish lessons that day.

War of Spanish Succession

Concern amongst other European powers that a Spain and France united under a single Bourbon monarch would upset the balance of power in Europe led to the War of Spanish Succession from 1701 to 1714.

The Crowns of Castile and Navarre remained faithful to the House of Bourbon. On the other hand, the major party of the crown of Aragonmarker supported rule by the Archduke Charles of Austria, son of Leopold I, Holy Roman Emperor and claimant to the Spanish throne by right of his grandmother Maria Anna of Spain. Charles claimed his right and was even hailed as the King of Spain as Charles III by Aragon.

The war was centred in Spain and West-Central Europe (especially the Low Countries), with other important fighting in Germany and Italy. Prince Eugene of Savoy and the Duke of Marlborough distinguished themselves as military commanders in the Low Countries.

The war was fought not only in Europe, but also in colonial North America, where the conflict became known to the English colonists as Queen Anne's War, and by corsairs and privateers along the Spanish Main. Over the course of the fighting, some 400,000 people were killed.

At one point in 1712 Philip was offered the choice of renouncing the throne of Spain so that he could be made heir of France but he refused.

As a result of the war, although Philip was allowed to remain on the Spanish throne, Spain was forced to cede Minorcamarker and Gibraltarmarker to Great Britainmarker; the Spanish Netherlands, Naplesmarker, Milanmarker, and Sardinia to the Austrianmarker Habsburgs; and Sicily and parts of Milanmarker to Savoy.

These losses greatly diminished the Spanish Empire in Europe, which had already been in decline. Throughout his reign, Philip sought to reverse the decline of Spanish power as Great Britain increasingly began to dominate at sea. Trying to overturn the terms of the Treaty of Utrecht Spain attempted to re-establish its territories in Italy, triggering the War of the Quadruple Alliance in which a coallition of states fought Spain. Phillip V was eventually forced to the negotiating table following a failed invasion of Scotland and a British Raid on Vigo.

Abdication and Louis I

The eldest of Philip's children was Infante Luis Felipe, Prince of Asturias. He was a son of Maria Luisa of Savoy. As the heir to the throne, Luis had to marry as soon as possible. On 20 January 1722, at Lerma, he met and married Louise Élisabeth d'Orléans, a daughter of Philippe d'Orléans, cousin of Louis' father and then the Regent of Francemarker. The dowry of this marriage was an enormous 4 million livres.

This marriage was one of three Franco-Spanish alliances which had been negotiated with the Duke of Orléans. The Duke of Orléans was the Regent of France in the Regency of 1715-1723 during the minority of Louis XV of France. Philip and Orléans decided that Philip's eldest daughter Infante Maria Ana Victoria would marry Louis XV and become the Queen of France. The last proposal was between Philippine Élisabeth d'Orléans to the young Infante Carlos of Spain (future King of Spain). None of the marriages were successful, the latter marriage never occurred and like Mariana Victoria, Philippine was sent back home.

On 14 January 1724, Philip abdicated the throne to his eldest son, the seventeen-year old Louis, for reasons still the subject of debate:

One theory states that Philip V, who exhibited many elements of mental instability during his reign, did not wish to reign due to his increasing mental decline and so conscientiously abdicated in favour of his son.

A second theory puts the abdication in context of the Bourbon dynasty. The French royal family recently had lost many legitimate agnates to diseases, making the lack of an heir and another continental war of succession a possibility. Philip V was a legitimate descendant of Louis XIV but matters were complicated by the Treaty of Utrecht (signed in 1713 as a result of the Succession war), which forbade a union of the French and Spanish crowns. The theory supposes that Philip V hoped that by abdicating the Spanish crown he could circumvent the Treaty and succeed to the French throne. However, this theory seems improbable as the French Bourbons' dynastic crisis was acute in 1711/1712 - before the Treaty of Utrecht was even signed - and not in 1724, a year after Louis XV had begun to govern in his own right. Furthermore, in the treaty Philip had renounced his and his descendants' rights to the succession in France, regardless of who actually reigned in Spain.

In any case, Louis died on 31 August 1724 in Madridmarker of smallpox, having reigned only seven months and leaving no issue. Philip was forced to return to the Spanish throne as his younger son, the later Ferdinand VI, was not yet of age.

Consequences of Philip V's reign

Philip helped his Bourbon relatives to make territorial gains in the War of the Polish Succession and the War of the Austrian Succession by reconquering Naples and Sicily from Austria and Oranmarker from the Ottomans. Finally, at the end of his reign Spanish forces also successfully defended their American territories from a large British invasion during the War of Jenkins' Ear.

During his reign, Spain began to recover from the stagnation it had suffered during the twilight of the Spanish Habsburg dynasty. Ferdinand VI of Spain, his son by his first queen Maria Luisa of Savoy, succeeded him.

Philip was afflicted by fits of manic depression and increasingly fell victim to a deep melancholia. His second wife, Elizabeth Farnese, completely dominated her passive husband. She bore him further sons, including another successor, Charles III of Spain. Beginning in August 1737 his affliction was eased by the castrato singer Farinelli, who, became the "Musico de Camara of Their Majesties." Farinelli would sing eight or nine arias for the king and queen every night, usually with a trio of musicians.

Philip died on 9 July 1746 in El Escorial, in Madrid, but was buried in his favorite Royal Palace of La Granja de San Ildefonsomarker, near Segovia.


Half escudo gold coin of Philip V, dated 1743

  • To commemorate the indignities the city of Xàtivamarker suffered after Philip's victory in the Battle of Almansamarker in the War of the Spanish Succession, in which he ordered the city to be burned and renamed San Felipe, the portrait of the monarch hangs upside down in the local museum of L'Almodí [10035]).


First Marriage

Philip married his double-second cousin Princess Maria Luisa of Savoy (17 September 1688 – 14 February 1714) on 3 November 1701 and they had four sons:

Name Portrait Lifespan Notes
Luis Felipe

King of Spain
25 August 1707 –

31 August 1724
King of Spain from 14 January 1724 until his death. His reign is recorded as one of the shortest in history, as he was king for just over seven months; married Louise Élisabeth d'Orléans and had no issue;
Infante Felipe Pedro

2 July 1709 –

18 July 1709
died in infancy;
Infante Felipe Pedro Gabriel

7 June 1712 –

29 December 1719
died in infancy;

King of Spain
23 September 1713 –

10 August 1759
King of Spain from 1746 till death; married Barbara of Portugal and had no issue;

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