Beyond the Boundaries of Private Spaces: Women and the Spanish Court
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In this joint paper Laura Muñoz Pérez and Trevor Dadson will examine the possibilities women had when participating in the cultural life at court, showing the relationships of patronage between noblewomen, women writers and other writers, and how this was also a way of promotion. Tied in with this will be an examination of the role of noblewomen in society at large, in particular the fact that they had more power and influence than is usually ascribed to them, especially but not solely if they were widows, when they often ended up running vast estates in the name of their eldest son (if they had one). Also, as ladies at court (‘damas de la reina’) these noblewomen had another form of influence, as they often acted as the eyes and ears of their fathers, brothers and husbands. The largely female court established around the Empress María of Austria in the Descalzas Reales in the early seventeenth century has been the subject of study, but the royal court under Philip III and Philip IV and the powerful women there still requires attention.
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