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I, The King (Hardcover) Frances Parkinson Keyes

I, The King (Hardcover) Frances Parkinson Keyes

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I, THE KING is the story of Philip IV of Spain and of the women who most influenced his life. Among them was his first wife, Isabel of Bourbon, the beautiful child bride who became his wise and respected Regent; his "true love" Inés Calderón, the charming young actress, who gave him his best-loved son; and Sor María, the Abbess, gifted with great mystical powers, of a remote provincial convent, whose correspondence with the King, comprising more than 600 letters and covering a period of more than twenty years, remains a record of one of the most remarkable friendships in history.

Philip was an arresting and attractive character. He was a patron of the arts and, under his sponsorship, painting and literature attained the degree of supremacy which made his era the Golden Age of Spanish culture. Moreover, he himself was an accomplished draftsman, sonneteer and musician. His versatility did not end there. He was a superb horseman, a champion at cane tourneys and a sportsman who hunted in every sort of weather. As a lover, he was irresistible. But he lacked the energy to govern his kingdom himself and the will power to overcome the sins of the flesh. His downfall was the sad result of these shortcomings.

With her unfailing care, Mrs. Keyes has reached into the archives of history and brought forth an electrifying pageant of living, breathing people. Here are dramatized the human needs of body, mind and spirit. Here we see child love; girlish love; marital love and growth and loyalty; romantic love in fullest bloom; profane love, in contrast with man's spiritual hunger fed and satisfied.

The Hapsburgs and the Bourbons leap out of the history books. Velázquez paintings ride forth from their frames to meet and greet you. You hold in your hands documents bearing the official signature of Iberian monarchs throughout the ages--I, THE KING--and they cease to be crackling bits of paper and become intimate letters vitalized with love and longing.

September 2022

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