For your consideration is a rare and important hand-signed antique Royal 1698 manuscript document / letter / commission / appointment / order / decree / edict by HRH King Charles II of Spain (6 November 1661 – 1 November 1700). The subject matter of this rare royalty document is concerning. Doubled due to lost office that was given to the Duke of Medina Sidonia, general treasurer of the Crown of Aragon, freeing him 50362 and a half and 11 maravedis from the Regesta de la Bailía de Valencia for the expenses of the treasury of this present year of 1696. Hand-signed autograph “Yo el Rey” (I THE KING) in iron gallic ink by King CARLOS II Spain, in Madrid, dated December 22, 1696. Manuscript laid-paper document bearing stamped Royal Crown of Carlos II. One thousand six hundred and ninety-six. Measures 210 x 285mm. The condition of this specific document is as pictured in the 12 images provided. Document has been subject to toning, stains, folds, tears, rips, missing pieces, wormholes, etc. 16th century period document on laid paper (watermarked). Charles II of Spain (6 November 1661 – 1 November 1700), also known as El Hechizado or the Bewitched, was the last Habsburg ruler of the Spanish Empire. He is best remembered for his alleged physical disabilities, and the war that followed his death. Charles suffered ill-health throughout his life; from the moment he became king at the age of four in 1665, the succession was a prominent consideration in European politics. The historian John Langdon-Davies summarised this as follows: “Of no man is it more true to say that in his beginning was his end; from the day of his birth, they were waiting for his death”. Despite two marriages, he remained childless. When he died in 1700, his heir was 16-year-old Philip of Anjou, grandson of Louis XIV and his first wife, Charles’s elder half-sister, Maria Theresa. However, the succession of Charles was less important than the division of his territories, and the failure to resolve that question led to war in 1701. For political reasons, marriages between Spanish and Austrian Habsburgs were common; Philip and Mariana were uncle and niece, making Charles their great-nephew and first cousin once removed respectively. All eight of his great-grandparents were descendants of Joanna and Philip I of Castile. The best-known consequence of such inbreeding is the’Habsburg jaw’, a physical characteristic shared by many Habsburgs, including Charles. However, despite what is often claimed, the extent to which this inbreeding was responsible for his numerous health issues is unclear, and disputed; Margaret Theresa, his elder sister, did not have the same issues. Based on contemporary accounts of his symptoms, he may have suffered from combined pituitary hormone deficiency and distal renal tubular acidosis. If correct, these would be indicative of rare genetic disorders, possibly caused by inbreeding. However, in the absence of genetic material, they remain speculation; even a 2019 study by the same team on the Habsburg jaw, based on analysis of portraits, could only conclude a genetic link was’highly likely’. Another suggestion is his health problems derived from a herpetic infection shortly after birth, while his autopsy report indicates hydrocephalus. Regardless of the cause, Charles suffered physical ill-health throughout his life, as well as depression; by the age of six, he had had measles, chickenpox, rubella and smallpox, each of which was then potentially fatal. His Habsburg jaw was so pronounced he spoke and ate only with difficulty, and did not learn to talk until the age of four. However, it was Mariana who insisted he be carried everywhere until he was eight, and left uneducated, to reduce the’strain’ on his body and mind. Although prone to illness, contemporaries reported he spent much of his time hunting. In reality, very little is known for certain, and much of what is suggested unproved, or incorrect. One famous example of his alleged mental problems is that he slept with his father’s body; while true, it was done under instructions from Mariana, whose doctors advised this would help him produce an heir. Reports from his council and foreign ambassadors indicate his mental capacities remained intact. Since Charles was a legal minor when Philip died on 17 September 1665, Mariana was appointed Queen Regent by the Council of Castile. While the Spanish Empire, or’Monarchy’, remained an enormous global confederation, its economic supremacy was challenged by the Dutch Republic, and increasingly England, while Europe was destabilized by French expansion under Louis XIV. Managing these issues was damaged by Mariana’s power struggle with Charles’s illegitimate half-brother, John of Austria the Younger. Administrative reforms were complex, since the Kingdom of Spain was a personal union of the two Crowns of Castile and Aragon, each with very different political cultures and traditions. As a result, government finances were in perpetual crisis; the Crown declared bankruptcy nine times between 1557 and 1666, including 1647, 1652, 1661 and 1666. However, the 17th century was a period of economic crisis for many European states, and Spain was not alone in facing these problems. Infighting between those who ruled in Charles’s name did little to help, but it is debatable how far they or he can be held responsible for long-term trends predating his reign. The Monarchy proved remarkably resilient, and when Charles died, remained largely intact. Mariana followed this precedent, her first choice being her Austrian personal confessor, Father Juan Everardo Nithard; modern assessments of her competence are often based on reports by contemporaries, who generally believed women were incapable of exercising power on their own. The costs of the Portuguese Restoration War, and the War of Devolution with France, forced the Crown to declare bankruptcy in 1662 and 1666, making reductions in expenditure urgent. The 1668 treaties of Aix-la-Chapelle and Lisbon ended the war with France, and accepted Portuguese independence. John forced Mariana to dismiss Nithard in February 1669, who replaced him with Fernando de Valenzuela. The regency was dissolved when Charles became a legal adult in 1675, then restored in 1677 on the basis of his health. The 1672 Franco-Dutch War dragged Spain into another war with France over the Spanish Netherlands, placing additional strain on the economy. The 1683-84 War of the Reunions with France was followed in 1688 by the Nine Years’ War. Shortly afterwards, Marie Louise died in February 1689; based on the description of her symptoms, modern doctors believe her illness was almost certainly appendicitis. In August, Charles married Maria Anna of Neuburg by proxy, the formal wedding taking place in May 1690; after his mother died on 16 May 1696, he ruled in his own name, although Maria Anna played a significant role due to his ill-health and her control over access to Charles. It was clear Charles’s health was finally failing and agreeing on a successor became increasingly urgent. The Nine Years’ War showed France could not achieve its objectives on its own; the 1697 Treaty of Ryswick was the result of mutual exhaustion and Louis’s search for allies in anticipation of a contest over the Spanish throne. Austrian Habsburg Emperor Leopold refused to sign since it left the issue unresolved; he reluctantly did so in October 1697, but viewed it as a pause in hostilities. One of John’s last acts was arranging Charles’s marriage in 1679 to Marie Louise, eldest daughter of Philippe I, Duke of Orléans. While the French ambassador wrote’… He is so ugly as to cause fear, and looks ill’, it was considered irrelevant to the political benefits. Marie Louise was blamed for the failure to produce an heir, while primitive fertility treatments gave her severe intestinal problems. There has been considerable debate as to whether Charles was impotent, and if so, the cause; reports provided by Marie Louise indicate he may have suffered from premature ejaculation. The suggestion it was the result of inbreeding has not been proved, while a number of scientific studies dispute any linkage between fertility and consanguinity. After she died in February 1689, Charles married Maria Anna of Neuburg, one of the twelve children of Philip William, Elector Palatine, and sister-in-law to Emperor Leopold. Although partly selected because her family was famous for its fertility, she proved no more successful in producing an heir than her predecessor. By this stage, Charles was almost certainly impotent; his autopsy revealed he had only one atrophied testicle. As the Crown of Spain passed according to cognatic primogeniture, it was possible for a woman, or the descendant of a woman, to inherit the crown. To prevent Spain’s acquisition by France, Maria Theresa renounced her inheritance rights; in return, Louis was promised a dowry of 500,000 gold écus, a huge sum that was never paid. In 1685, Leopold and Margaret’s daughter Maria Antonia married Max Emanuel of Bavaria; she died in 1692, leaving one surviving son, Joseph Ferdinand. In October 1698, France, Britain and the Dutch Republic attempted to impose a diplomatic solution to the Succession on Spain and Austria, by the Treaty of the Hague or First Partition Treaty. This made Joseph Ferdinand heir to the bulk of the Spanish Monarchy, with France gaining the Kingdoms of Naples and Sicily and other concessions in Italy plus the modern Basque province of Gipuzkoa. Leopold’s younger son Archduke Charles became ruler of the Duchy of Milan, a possession considered vital to the security of Austria’s southern border. Unsurprisingly, the Spanish objected to their Empire being divided by foreign powers without consultation, and on 14 November 1698, Charles II made Joseph Ferdinand heir to an independent and undivided Spanish Monarchy. Maria Anna was appointed Regent during his minority, an announcement allegedly received by the Spanish councilors in silence. Joseph Ferdinand’s death in 1699 ended these arrangements. It also left Louis XIV’s eldest son, the Grand Dauphin, heir to the Spanish throne, once again implying union between Spain and France. In March 1700, France, Britain and the Dutch agreed an alternative; Archduke Charles replaced Joseph Ferdinand, with Spanish possessions in Europe split between France, Savoy and Austria. Charles reacted by altering his will in favor of Archduke Charles, but once again stipulating an undivided and independent Spanish Monarchy. Most of the Spanish nobility disliked the Austrians, and Maria Anna, and viewed a French candidate as more likely to ensure their independence. In September 1700, Charles became ill again; by 28 September he was no longer able to eat, and Portocarrero persuaded him to alter his will in favor of Louis XIV’s grandson, Philip of Anjou. He died five days before his 39th birthday on 1 November 1700; Philip was proclaimed King of Spain on 16th, and the War of the Spanish Succession began in 1701. The autopsy records his body did not contain a single drop of blood; his heart was the size of a peppercorn; his lungs corroded; his intestines rotten and gangrenous; he had a single testicle, black as coal, and his head was full of water. As suggested previously, these are indicative of hydrocephalus, a disease often associated with childhood measles, one of many illnesses suffered by Charles.