Sofonisba, Spanish Court, September 1559

Family Portrait GrabIn September of 1559, Amilcare Anguissola wrote as a devoted and obedient vassal “devotissimo, et ubidiente vassallo” to Philip II, the King of Spain, to accept the summons sent to his very dear daughter Sofonisba “me tanto carissima figliola” to serve as a lady in waiting to the next Queen of Spain “Serenissima nostra Regina” the French princess Elisabet de Valois, daughter of Catherine de Medici and Henry II.

Amilcare hoped that Sofonisba would be housed as if in a monastery, “una Religioso Monestero, molto mi consolo”

How wrong her father was. Sofonisba’s life at the Spanish court from 1560-1573 was anything but cloistered.

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