Where lies Spain’s Queen?

8 06 2013

Where lies Spain's Queen?

FRANCIS BORGIA, Duke of Gandia and Captain-General of Catalonia, was one of the handsomest, richest, and most honored nobles in Spain. He was much devoted to the exceeding beautiful Empress Isabella of Portugal who loved and trusted him. Thus Borgia was stricken and much devastated when, in 1539, the beautiful Empress died suddenly. King Charles V, the Queen’s husband laid upon Borgia the sad duty of escorting the remains of his sovereign Queen to the royal burying-place at Granada. On the way, the convoy carrying the coffin was delayed and it took two weeks to reach Granada. Noblemen, Princes, Bishops gathered, but before placing her in Grenada’s vaults, where the remains of all Spain’s Monarchs sleeps, the Bishops asked that the coffin be opened that he might verify the body before it was placed in the tomb.
“Open the coffin,” the Bishops commanded and called on Francis Borgia, Duke of Gandia to step forward and identified the remains of the Queen.
Francis stepped forward and stood silent by while they slowly raised the coffin lid, recalling the beauty of the Queen and longing to look on that fair face, that matchless form which he loved. But what does he see? He shuddered at so foul a sight that met his eyes. He looks into depths, what horrors are those that meet his eye? There lies Spain’s Queen.
There were agitated whispers, and the Bishops and noblemen seeing that the Duke hesitated asked “Are these the remains of the Queen?”
Silence.
The Bishops asked a second time, “Francis Borgia, Duke of Gandia, tell us now, are these the remains of Isabella, Empress of Portugal?”
At length, Borgia replied, turning to all present he said:
“For unto King Charles must I swear that I myself have closed coffin with the body of my Queen Isabella inside, escorted it under the strictest armed guard to Granada and no one had tampered with it until now at this moment as we open the casket. But what the coffin holds; this fearful object that now lies within, shrouded in white ample folds I do not know.”
Then turning away with loathing look he vowed never again to serve a sovereign who could suffer so base a change. It was some years before he could follow the call of his Lord; at length he entered the Society of Jesus to cut himself off from any chance of dignity or preferment. But his Order chose him to be its head.

St. Francis Borgia 01


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