This book concentrates on the political history of the reign of Philip IV, and the role of the king within it. Philip is kept near the forefront, and issues and events are often seen - if sometimes critically - from his viewpoint. It is, therefore, a work of revision and rehabilitation, representing an attempt (against all other extant accounts) to establish Philip IV as a positive figure, with an autonomous character and political identity. A secondary, supportive, intention is to demonstrate that after the fall of Olivares, the king ruled and governed without a favourite (valido). This is the central theme in the most detailed treatment of the second half of the reign available in any language. Reference is made throughout to Philip's own words and actions. At the same time, the Olivares period itself is approached from a new perspective, some issues being examined with the use of new material. Although not intended as a conventional biography, the book retains several characteristics of the form, in that it is a 'career-study', part thematic, part chronological. Philip IV is examined also in relation to the political writing of the age, and to his court and capital in Madrid.
List of illustrations; Preface and acknowledgements; List of abbreviations; Part I. The King's Apprenticeship, 1605-43: 1. Inheritance: the king as idea and ideal; 2. The rule of Olivares; 3. King and minister; Part II. The Politics of Total War, 1630-60: 4. Institutional tensions; 5. Aristocratic apostasy; 6. Provincial rebellion; 7. Popular protest; Part III. The King's Maturity, 1943-65: 8. The struggle for survival; 9. The rule of Philip IV; 10. Legacy: Philip IV as man and statesman; Glossary; Bibliography; Index.