Ferdinand VI of Spain

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Ferdinand VI (Spanish: Fernando VI; 23 September 1713 – 10 August 1759), called the Learnt, was King of Spain from 9 July 1746 until his death. He was the fourth son of the previous monarch Philip V and his first wife Maria Luisa of Savoy. Ferdinand, the third member of the Spanish Bourbon dynasty, was born in Madrid on 23 September 1713.


Early life

Born at the Royal Alcazar of Madrid, his youth was depressed. His father's second wife, Elisabeth of Parma, was a domineering woman, who had no affection except for her own children, and who looked upon her stepson as an obstacle to their fortunes. The hypochondria of his father left Elisabeth mistress of the palace.

Ferdinand was by temperament melancholy, shy and distrustful of his own abilities. When complimented on his shooting, he replied, "It would be hard if there were not something I could do."

In his life he was orderly and retiring, averse from taking decisions, though not incapable of acting firmly, as when he cut short the dangerous intrigues of his able minister Zenón de Somodevilla y Bengoechea, Marquis of Ensenada by dismissing and imprisoning him. He was called Ferdinand the Learned for his refined pursuits.

Shooting and music were his only pleasures, and he was the generous patron of the famous singer Farinelli, whose voice soothed his melancholy.


His father, King of Spain (Jean Ranc)

His wife, Barbara, was a beauty in her youth, but became quite overweight in her later years

Elisabeth of Parma, his famous step-mother (Jean Ranc)

Ferdinand was married in 1729 to Infanta Barbara of Portugal, daughter of John V of Portugal and Mary Anne of Austria. The very homely looks of his wife were thought by observers to cause the prince a visible shock when he was first presented to her. Yet he became deeply attached to his wife, and proved in fact nearly as uxorious as his father.

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