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“In service to my Lady, the Empress, as I have done every other day of my life”: Margarita of Cardona, Baroness of Dietrichstein and Lady-in-Waiting of Maria of Austria

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Chapter Summary

This chapter focuses on the life and career of Margarita of Cardona, Baroness of Dietrichstein, who served as a lady-in-waiting to the Empress Maria of Austria from the mid-sixteenth century-when Maria was still the Infanta of Spain-until her mistress' death in the convent of the Descalzas Reales in Madrid in 1603. The loyalty and service of the Dietrichstein family as a whole to Maria of Austria and the Habsburg dynasty were duly rewarded by her, who recommended them for preferment and interceded on their behalf, enabling them to obtain greater benefits and higher offices at the Spanish court. However, without doubt Margarita of Cardona's greatest achievement was the appointment of her son Francisco, who had actually been born in Madrid in 1570 as cardinal and bishop of Olomouc in 1599. The ladies-in-waiting who served in the households of Habsburg women played an important political role at the palace and at court.

Keywords: Baroness of Dietrichstein; Habsburg dynasty; lady-in-waiting; Margarita of Cardona; Maria of Austria; royal convent ofthe Descalzas Reales



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