Portrait of Isabella Clara Eugenia (1566-1633), Sovereign of the Netherlands (with Albert of Austria) from 1598 to 1621; Governor of the Spanish Netherlands (1621-1633)
Isabella Clara Eugenia (Spanish: Isabel Clara Eugenia; 12 August 1566 - 1 December 1633) was sovereign of the Netherlands in the Low Countries and the north of modern France, together with her husband Albert VII, Archduke of Austria. By birth, she was an infanta of Spain and Portugal. Isabella Clara Eugenia of Austria was born in the Palacio del bosque de Valsaín, Segovia on 12 August 1566, daughter of Philip II of Spain and his third wife Elisabeth of Valois. On 18 April 1599, being 33 years old, she married Albert, the younger brother of her former fiancé Emperor Rudolf II. Albert was the joint sovereign of the Seventeen Provinces and the former viceroy of Portugal. As Albert also was the Archbishop of Toledo, he had to be released from his religious commitments by Pope Clement VIII before the wedding could take place. Shortly before Philip II died on 13 September 1598, he resigned the thrones of the Netherlands in favor of Isabella and her fiancé. Beginning in 1601, the couple ruled the Spanish Netherlands together, and after Albert's death Isabella was appointed Governor of the Netherlands on behalf of the King of Spain. The reign of Albert and Isabella is considered the Golden Age of the Spanish Netherlands.
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