Infante Carlos, Count of Molina
The Infante Carlos of Spain (29 March 1788 – 10 March 1855) was the second surviving son of King Charles IV of Spain
Charles IV of Spain
Charles IV was King of Spain from 14 December 1788 until his abdication on 19 March 1808.-Early life:...

 and of his wife, Maria Luisa of Parma
Maria Luisa of Parma
Maria Luisa of Parma was Queen consort of Spain from 1788 to 1808 as the wife of King Charles IV of Spain. She was the youngest daughter of Duke Philip of Parma and his wife, Louise-Élisabeth of France, the eldest daughter of King Louis XV.She was christened Luisa Maria Teresa Ana, but was known...

. As Carlos V he was the first of the Carlist
Carlism is a traditionalist and legitimist political movement in Spain seeking the establishment of a separate line of the Bourbon family on the Spanish throne. This line descended from Infante Carlos, Count of Molina , and was founded due to dispute over the succession laws and widespread...

 claimants to the throne of Spain
Spain , officially the Kingdom of Spain languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Spain's official name is as follows:;;;;;;), is a country and member state of the European Union located in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula...

. He is often referred to simply as 'Don Carlos', but should not be confused with Carlos, son of King Philip II of Spain
Philip II of Spain
Philip II was King of Spain, Portugal, Naples, Sicily, and, while married to Mary I, King of England and Ireland. He was lord of the Seventeen Provinces from 1556 until 1581, holding various titles for the individual territories such as duke or count....

, after whom Verdi
Giuseppe Verdi
Giuseppe Fortunino Francesco Verdi was an Italian Romantic composer, mainly of opera. He was one of the most influential composers of the 19th century...

's opera is named.

Early life

Carlos was born on 29 March 1788, at the Palacio Real de Aranjuez
Palacio Real de Aranjuez
The Royal Palace of Aranjuez is a residence of the King of Spain, located in the town of Aranjuez, Community of Madrid, Spain. The palace is open to the public as one of the Spanish royal sites....

 in Aranjuez
Aranjuez is a town lying 48 km south of Madrid, in the southern part of the Community of Madrid. It is located at the confluence of the Tagus and Jarama rivers, 48 km from Toledo. As of 2009, it has a population of 54,055.-History:...

, Community of Madrid. In 1808, Napoleon
Napoleon I of France
Napoleon Bonaparte was a French military and political leader during the latter stages of the French Revolution.As Napoleon I, he was Emperor of the French from 1804 to 1815...

 captured Madrid in the Battle of Somosierra
Battle of Somosierra
The Battle of Somosierra occurred November 30, 1808 in the Peninsular War, when a French army under Napoleon I forced a passage through the Sierra de Guadarrama shielding Madrid....

, and induced Carlos's father Charles IV and Carlos' older brother Ferdinand VII to renounce their rights to the throne of Spain. But Carlos who was heir presumptive to his brother refused to renounce his rights to the throne, which he considered to have been given to him by God. From 1808 until 1814 he and his brothers were prisoners of Napoleon at Valençay
Valençay is a commune in the Indre department in central France.-Geography:Valençay is situated in the Loire Valley on a hillside overlooking the River Nahon.-History:...

 in France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...


In 1814 Carlos and the rest of the Spanish royal family returned to Madrid
Madrid is the capital and largest city of Spain. The population of the city is roughly 3.3 million and the entire population of the Madrid metropolitan area is calculated to be 6.271 million. It is the third largest city in the European Union, after London and Berlin, and its metropolitan...

. In September 1816 he married his niece Infanta Maria Francisca of Portugal (1800–1834), daughter of King John VI of Portugal
John VI of Portugal
John VI John VI John VI (full name: João Maria José Francisco Xavier de Paula Luís António Domingos Rafael; (13 May 1767 – 10 March 1826) was King of the United Kingdom of Portugal, Brazil and the Algarves (later changed to just King of Portugal and the Algarves, after Brazil was recognized...

 and Carlos' sister Carlota Joaquina. Francisca was also sister of the second wife of Carlos' brother Ferdinand VII. The couple had three sons:
  • Infante Carlos, Count of Montemolin
    Infante Carlos, Count of Montemolin
    Infante Carlos, Conde de Montemolín was the Carlist claimant to the throne of Spain under the name Carlos VI after his father's abdication in 1845, when he took the title of Count of Montemolín.-Biography:...

     (1818–1861), known as Count of Montemolin
  • Juan, Count of Montizón
    Juan, Count of Montizón
    Don Juan Carlos María Isidro de Borbón, Count of Montizón was the Carlist claimant to the throne of Spain from 1860 to 1868, and the Legitimist claimant to the throne of France from 1883 to 1887.- Youth and marriage :...

     (1822–1887), known as Count of Montizón
  • Fernando (1824–1861)

Apart from several formal offices, Carlos took no significant part in the government of Spain. Ferdinand VII had found it necessary to cooperate with the moderate liberals and to sign a constitution. Carlos, however, was known for his firm belief in the divine right of kings
Divine Right of Kings
The divine right of kings or divine-right theory of kingship is a political and religious doctrine of royal and political legitimacy. It asserts that a monarch is subject to no earthly authority, deriving his right to rule directly from the will of God...

 to govern absolutely, the rigid orthodoxy of his religious opinions, and the piety of his life.

During the revolutionary troubles of 1820–1823 (the "liberal triennium") Carlos was threatened by the extreme radicals, but no attack was made on him. While there were certain conservatives in Spain who wanted to put Carlos on the throne immediately, Carlos himself was a firm believer in the legitimate succession and would never have taken up arms against his brother.

Pragmatic Sanction of 1830

In May 1830 Ferdinand VII published the Pragmatic Sanction
Pragmatic Sanction of 1830
The Pragmatic Sanction of 1830 , issued March 29, 1830 by King Ferdinand VII of Spain, ratified a Decree of 1789 by Charles IV of Spain, which had replaced the semi-Salic system established by Philip V of Spain with the mixed succession system that predated the Bourbon monarchy .When Philip V,...

, again allowing daughters to succeed to the Spanish throne as well as sons. This decree had originally been approved by the Cortes
Cortes Generales
The Cortes Generales is the legislature of Spain. It is a bicameral parliament, composed of the Congress of Deputies and the Senate . The Cortes has power to enact any law and to amend the constitution...

 in 1789, but it had never been officially promulgated. On 10 October 1830, Ferdinand's wife gave birth to a daughter Isabella
Isabella II of Spain
Isabella II was the only female monarch of Spain in modern times. She came to the throne as an infant, but her succession was disputed by the Carlists, who refused to recognise a female sovereign, leading to the Carlist Wars. After a troubled reign, she was deposed in the Glorious Revolution of...

, who thereupon displaced her uncle in the line of succession.

The clerical party (called in Spanish 'apostólicos') continued to support the rights of Carlos to the throne. They considered the Pragmatic Sanction not only impractical but also illegal. They intrigued in favour of Carlos, but he himself would do no more than assert his rights in words. His wife and her sister, Maria Teresa
Teresa, Princess of Beira
Infanta Maria Teresa of Portugal was the firstborn child of John VI of Portugal and Charlotte of Spain, and heir to the throne of Portugal between 1793 and 1795, until her short-lived brother António Pio was born.Maria Teresa Francisca de Assis Antónia Carlota Joana Josefa Xavier de Paula Micaela...

 (1793–1874), the princess of Beira
Prince of Beira
Prince of Beira is a title in Portugal, normally given to the second heirs to the throne and/or to the eldest daughter of the monarch. It was thus attributed to persons of the royal family especially esteemed by the sovereign...

, on the other hand, were actively engaged in intrigues with the apostólicos.

In March 1833 Ferdinand 'authorised' Carlos to go to Portugal
Portugal , officially the Portuguese Republic is a country situated in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula. Portugal is the westernmost country of Europe, and is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean to the West and South and by Spain to the North and East. The Atlantic archipelagos of the...

 with his wife and sister-in-law. The 'authorisation' was in fact an order to remove Carlos from Spain and his adherents.

In April 1833 Ferdinand called upon Carlos to take an oath of allegiance to Isabella as Princess of Asturias
Prince of Asturias
Prince of Asturias is the historical title given to the heir to the Spanish throne. It was also the title under the earlier Kingdom of Castile. The current Prince of Asturias is Felipe, son of King Juan Carlos of Spain and Queen Sofía...

, the title traditionally used by the heir to the throne. In respectful but firm terms, Carlos refused. He had no personal desire for the throne, but he was adamant that he could not renounce what he considered to be his God-given rights and responsibilities.


Ferdinand VII died 29 September 1833. In Madrid, his widow declared herself regent for their daughter. On 1 October, Carlos issued a manifesto declaring his own accession to the throne as 'Charles V'. He informed the members of Maria Cristina's government that they were confirmed in their posts, and proceeded to the Portuguese-Spanish border. There he was met by forces loyal to Maria Cristina and Isabella who threatened to arrest him. Carlos remained in Portugal which itself was in a state of civil war
Liberal Wars
The Liberal Wars, also known as the Portuguese Civil War, the War of the Two Brothers, or Miguelite War, was a war between progressive constitutionalists and authoritarian absolutists in Portugal over royal succession that lasted from 1828 to 1834...

 between the adherents of Carlos' nephew and brother-in-law Miguel
Miguel of Portugal
Dom Miguel I, sometimes Michael , was the King of Portugal between 1828 and 1834, the seventh child and second son of King John VI and his queen, Charlotte of Spain....

 and his grand-niece, Miguel's niece Maria II. In Spain there were various risings which developed into the First Carlist War
First Carlist War
The First Carlist War was a civil war in Spain from 1833-1839.-Historical background:At the beginning of the 18th century, Philip V, the first Bourbon king of Spain, promulgated the Salic Law, which declared illegal the inheritance of the Spanish crown by women...


When the Miguelite party was finally beaten in Portugal in 1834, Carlos escaped to England
England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Scotland to the north and Wales to the west; the Irish Sea is to the north west, the Celtic Sea to the south west, with the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south separating it from continental...

 where the government offered to grant him an annual pension of 30,000 pounds if he would renounce his claims and never return to Spain or Portugal. Carlos refused absolutely. In July he passed over to France, where he was actively aided by the legitimist party. He soon joined his adherents at Elizondo in the western Pyrenees
The Pyrenees is a range of mountains in southwest Europe that forms a natural border between France and Spain...

 of Spain. In October 1834 his sister-in-law Cristina issued a decree depriving him of his rights as an Infante of Spain; this was confirmed by the Cortes
Cortes Generales
The Cortes Generales is the legislature of Spain. It is a bicameral parliament, composed of the Congress of Deputies and the Senate . The Cortes has power to enact any law and to amend the constitution...

 in 1837.

Carlos remained in Spain for five years. During these years he accompanied his armies, without displaying any of the qualities of a general or even much personal courage. But he endured a good deal of hardship, and was often compelled to take to hiding in the hills. On these occasions he was often carried over difficult places on the back of a stout guide commonly known as the "royal jackass" (burro real).

The semblance of a court which Carlos maintained was torn by incessant personal intrigues. While some of his adherents supported him because they believed in his hereditary rights to the throne, others were more concerned to promote the special privileges of the Basque
Basque Country (autonomous community)
The Basque Country is an autonomous community of northern Spain. It includes the Basque provinces of Álava, Biscay and Gipuzkoa, also called Historical Territories....

 provinces. There were ongoing conflicts between Carlos' military staff and the clergy who exercised significant influence over him.

In the first few years of the war, there were several moments when victory was within Carlos' grasp. The last of these was the so-called Royal Expedition of the summer of 1837 when Carlos himself accompanied his army from Navarre to the outskirts of Madrid. Carlos hoped to enter the city without any significant bloodshed, but when it became clear that only a battle would win the city, Carlos vacillated. After several days Carlos himself decided to withdraw; his army melted away and was reduced to a third of its former strength.

His first wife having died in England in 1834, Carlos married her elder sister, his own niece Maria Teresa of Portugal
Teresa, Princess of Beira
Infanta Maria Teresa of Portugal was the firstborn child of John VI of Portugal and Charlotte of Spain, and heir to the throne of Portugal between 1793 and 1795, until her short-lived brother António Pio was born.Maria Teresa Francisca de Assis Antónia Carlota Joana Josefa Xavier de Paula Micaela...

, Princess of Beira, in Biscay
Biscay is a province of Spain and a historical territory of the Basque Country, heir of the ancient Lord of Biscay. Its capital city is Bilbao...

 in October 1837.

In June 1838 Carlos appointed Rafael Maroto as his commander-in-chief. In February 1839 Maroto had four Carlist generals shot and issued a proclamation criticizing Carlos' court. When Carlos removed him from office, Maroto marched to Tolosa where Carlos was living and made him a virtual prisoner. Maroto was re-appointed commander-in-chief, and his opponents in Carlos' court were dismissed. Maroto then began private negotiations with Cristina's commander-in-chief, and in August 1839 abandoned Carlos completely.

Final exile

In September 1839 Carlos left Spain for France where he was briefly imprisoned. For almost another year some of his commanders continued to fight on his behalf especially in Catalonia
Catalonia is an autonomous community in northeastern Spain, with the official status of a "nationality" of Spain. Catalonia comprises four provinces: Barcelona, Girona, Lleida, and Tarragona. Its capital and largest city is Barcelona. Catalonia covers an area of 32,114 km² and has an...

. However, by July 1840 almost all resistance was concluded.

In May 1845 Carlos abdicated his rights to the throne of Spain in favour of his eldest son Carlos Luis. Subsequently he used the title 'count of Molina'. On 10 March 1855, he died at Trieste
Trieste is a city and seaport in northeastern Italy. It is situated towards the end of a narrow strip of land lying between the Adriatic Sea and Italy's border with Slovenia, which lies almost immediately south and east of the city...

 (then in the Austrian Empire
Austrian Empire
The Austrian Empire was a modern era successor empire, which was centered on what is today's Austria and which officially lasted from 1804 to 1867. It was followed by the Empire of Austria-Hungary, whose proclamation was a diplomatic move that elevated Hungary's status within the Austrian Empire...

) where he is buried in the chapel of Saint Charles Borromeo in the cathedral of San Giusto
Trieste Cathedral
Trieste Cathedral , dedicated to Saint Justus, is the cathedral and main church of Trieste, in northern Italy. It is the seat of the Bishop of Trieste.-History:...


In midst of the first Carlist War, on 15 January 1837 the Cortes passed a law, ratified by royal decree of Regent María Cristina, which excluded Don Carlos and several his named allies from the succession to the Spanish crown and declared them stripped from their Spanish titles. These were: Carlos himself, and his descent, and his ally and future wife Teresa of Portugal, Teresa's son Sebastian (1811–1875), and Carlos's nephew Miguel I of Portugal (1802–1866), the other absolutist rival monarch in another country. This was grounded on them being "rebels".


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