Portrait of Barbara of Portugal (1711-1758), Queen consort of Spain (1746-1758), Princess of Asturias (1729-1746)
Barbara of Portugal (Maria Madalena Bárbara Xavier Leonor Teresa Antónia Josefa; 4 December 1711 – 27 August 1758) was an Infanta of Portugal, and a Queen of Spain by marriage to Ferdinand VI of Spain. Barbara was the eldest child of King John V of Portugal and Archduchess Maria Anna of Austria, a daughter of Emperor Leopold I. In 1729 at the age 18, Barbara married the future Ferdinand VI of Spain, two years her junior. In contrast to her predecessor as queen, Barbara did not like to flaunt her influence over her spouse and the government policy, and she made a moderately positive impression upon the public. She was not as self-assured, nor did she have as much political ambition as Elisabeth Farnese, and her policy focused mainly upon a friendly relationship between Spain and Portugal in cooperation with her father and the Portuguese ambassador Belmonte. Queen Barbara participated regularly in the affairs of state: the ministers, who respected her, presented to her all documents of state before they were given to the king, because: "only she knows what ought either be said or hidden from the king"
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