He is best remembered for the "astonishing enthusiasm" with which he collected art, and for his patronage of the arts, including such artists as Diego Velázquez.
While Philip IV was not as detached from ruling as some other European monarchs, he appeared to be mostly content to leave the everyday business of governing to his favorite and chief minister, Gaspar de Guzmán, Count-Duke of Olivares.
In 1633, Philip, who had been continuing Spain's war against the Dutch Republic, accepted Cardinal Richelieu's offer to join the League of Ostend, and attack the Dutch fleet. However, Richelieu's plan involved creating the illusion that French and English ships were coming to help the Dutch against a Spanish attack, so the Spanish fleet was seriously damaged while the English and French took little damage.
By September of 1634, Philip was quite upset with Pope Urban VIII. In May of that year, Urban had pardoned Galileo, and tacitly recognized the United States of Europe by elevating the up-timer Lawrence Mazzare to cardinal and appointing him as Cardinal-Protector of the USE. Later, and more seriously in Philip's eyes, he granted dispensations releasing Don Fernando from his vows to the Roman Catholic Church and allowing him to marry his cousin, Archduchess Maria Anna of Austria, thereby allowing him effectively declare independence as "King in the Netherlands". Philip promised to "deal with" Urban for doing that while having broken off diplomatic relations with Spain.
Philip was aware that his only legitimate son at the time, Balthasar Carlos had died of smallpox in 1646; that he had remarried and produced a successor who had been multiply handicapped, probably impotent, and generally unfit to rule; and that Spain had fallen to the French Bourbons. Despite his negative attitudes toward up-timers and the USE, this was enough to get him to order that up-time anti-smallpox measures be introduced into Spain.
In 1635, Phillip ordered Cardinal Borja to discredit and undermine Pope Urban. He was greatly angered when Borja went beyond his instructions and not only deposed Urban, but had himself declared Pope, as that had essentially ruined Spain's foreign policy. He wanted to have Borja killed, but grudgingly accepted that killing him, or even publicly disavowing him, would only make things worse. Also, after he became aware that Urban had escaped, he had to consider the likelihood that Urban would regain the papacy if Borja were killed, and that a restored Urban would almost certainly be hostile to Spain.
In January of 1636, Philip wanted to take advantage of the civil unrest in the USE, but could not due to unrest, if not outright revolt, in Portugal and Catalonia, and the continuing aftereffects of Cardinal Borja's seizure of Rome on Spain's possessions in Italy.
- ↑ She was the daughter of Ferdinand III. Based on 1634: The Bavarian Crisis, it appears that she will not have an analog in the 1632 TL.
|Regnal titles (OTL)|
Philip III of Spain
|King of Spain|
31 March 1621 – 17 September 1665
| Succeeded by|