‘She is a princess endowed with all the virtues of sex; long experience has taught her how to govern these people… I think that if Her Highness could govern in her own way, everything would turn out very happily.’
The ‘princess’ in question was Isabel Clara Eugenia, Infanta of Spain and regent of the Spanish Netherlands; ‘these people’ were the pesky, ungovernable Flemings and the author of the glowing testimonial was Peter Paul Rubens who, since the death of Isabel’s husband the Archduke Albert in 1621, had become her trusted diplomatic adviser.
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