The Habsburg Court: Etiquette and Entertainment

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Sir Gino

Jun 2, 2011
San Pedro
United States
The Spanish [Habsburg] Court Etiquette

Hi. I am looking for something specifically regarding the rules and etiquette of the Spanish Court (the Spanish Etiquette) which Charles V (I believe) formalized and were observed so fastidiously by the Habsburgs (starting with Ferdinand I). Forgive me, if I am getting the details muddled. Obviously, both the Spanish and Viennese courts were Habsburg. Do you know if a manual or written history of the rules exist? Were they ever written down? Is there a reprint of it available somewhere. I thought this would be easy to find, but, shockingly, I have thus far found very little and would appreciate any guidance you might provide. I'm probably not using the correct search terms. Perhaps, I might find a reprint of the rules in a thick volume of Habsburh history, but I don't know where to begin. Thanks again.

Best Wishes,

Sir Gino
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What a very interesting question/interest, Sir Gino.

The Habsburgs are my favourite royal family. I'm afraid I have not yet come across any publication that specifically deals with their etiquette although I have read/know bits of their etiquette from various sources, like the fact that the Spanish Habsburgs were more formal than their Austrian relations.

If you have any specific questions, I know people (among them historians) who might be able to answer your concerns. You may send me a private message about it and I'll direct your questions to them. What century/period of Spanish etiquette are you interested in, from Emperor Charles V up until the period of King Charles II or until the Spanish Bourbons (who mainly retained the old etiquette from the Habsburgs)?

Also, the Spanish archives surely have details on this matter....
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It's surely easier for you if you try the German term for it on google and then read the translated articles, if you don't speak German. "Spanisches Hofzeremoniell".

It was a topic regularily discussed at Court because all the time questions came up about Precedence or Order of Placement at the Royal table for State Banquets etc. I found an article which deals with the topic, it's by an historian written for a scientific conferences, thus the sources in the paper should be reliable.

I saw on a short glimpse that some sources are in English, so this might help you finding the correct terms for which to search a Goggle scholar. Reihe 38.pdf

Hope this helps.:flowers:
Here's a book in English regarding the etiquette in the courts of Vienna and Versailles, which should be a good reference on the Spanish etiquette.

Vienna and Versailles: the courts of ... - Google Books

Also, in German:

""Spanisches Österreich" by Xavier Sellés-Ferrando might be useful.

Do you wish some titles in Spanish (quite hard to find, according to my friend)?
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In addition, it seems that the Habsburgs themselves didn't put any of their etiquette/ceremonial in writing. It was all handed by tradition and taught to the archdukes and archduchesses as they grew up.
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This is actually a good custom in my humble opinion, the thingy with the reception of the ambassadors spouses by the Empress!

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