THE Rey and Reina of the Spaniards
To show clearly that the Spanish concepts of rey and reina are foreign to us Filipinos and do not form part of our native culture, here is a realistic view of some of the sovereigns of Spain, including the kings under whom the Philippines was from 1521 to 1700.
To begin with, there is the royal couple referred to as los reyes catolicos (the Catholic Monarchs): Isabel, queen of Castille (1474), and Fernando, king of Aragon (1479). They were cousins and they got married. (Corral 2008: 392 & 395. Perez 1999: 117, 119 & 127).
Matrimony between relatives was very common among royal families in the Middle Ages and Modern Age. These resulted in abnormalities. The marriage of King Felipe IV with his niece, Mariana de Austria in 1648, for example, produced a late child, Prince Carlos, born in 1661. He was a sickly boy who was unable to stand up until he was four years old. He had serious digestive problems.(Corral 2008: 482).
Another example was Don Carlos, the son of King Felipe II and Maria de Portugal, his first cousin. He was sickly, gluttonous, temperamental and cruel. One time, he threatened Cardinal Espinosa with a knife, because the prelate forbade a comedian to act in his presence. On another occasion, he obliged a shoemaker to eat the leather of a shoe because it was hurting his foot (Perez 1999: 173).
Aside from his first cousin (Maria de Portugal), King Felipe II, after whom the Philippines was named, had three more wives: Maria Tudor, granddaughter of the Catholic monarchs, Isabel de Valois and Ana de Austria, his niece. (Perez 173. Corral: 458). Catholic King Fernando was an active womanizer, having sired several children outside of marriage, but with the consent of Isabel. Among his favorite illegitimate sons, the one he favored most was Don Alfonso, Archbishop of Zaragoza, for whom he obtained innumerable benefi ces from the apostolic court. (Corral. 2008: 108).
Catholic Queen Isabel, on the other hand, led a life characterized by ostentation and luxury, for which she was repeatedly reproached by her confessor, Fray Hernando de Talavera. She lacked human sensibility. She was the most dreaded queen in the world. All the dukes, maestres (superiors of military orders), counts, marquis and great lords feared her. (Ibid.:107-8).