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Philip and Margaret of Spain

Margaret of Austria wears a Spanish gown (‘saya’) of white silk embroidered with castles, lions and a double-headed eagle representing the dynastic houses of Castile, León and Austria respectively. At her chest is the ‘joyel rico’ jewel, a priceless table-cut diamond from which hangs the famous ‘La Peregrina’ pearl. The sitter is documented as wearing the jewel during the signing of the London Treaty in 1604 and this portrait was probably sent over soon after as a diplomatic gift – perhaps its inclusion is a deliberate allusion to the new allegiance between Spain and England. Margaret is shown wearing her wedding robes from her marriage to Philip III of Spain some years earlier in 1598. Following a convention frequently adopted by his father and grandfather, Philip III is portrayed wearing ornate armour. At the front of the breastplate is a badge showing the Virgin Mary, echoing that seen on the Book of Hours in the pendant portrait alongside.

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