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The Prince of Peace
Godoy in 1790, by Antonio Carnicero.
|First Secretary of State|
15 November 1792 - 28 March 1798
|Pedro Pablo Abarca de Bolea|
|Francisco Saavedra de Sangronis|
|Born||May 12, 1767|
|Died||October 4, 1851 (aged 84)|
|Resting place||Père Lachaise Cemetery|
Manuel Godoy y Álvarez de Faria, Prince of Peace, 1st Duke of Alcudia, 1st Duke of Sueca, 1st Baron of Mascalbó (May 12, 1767 – October 4, 1851) was First Secretary of State of Spain from 1792 to 1797 and from 1801 to 1808. He received many titles, including Príncipe de la Paz ("Prince of Peace"), by which he is widely known. He came to power at a young age as the favorite of the King and Queen. Despite multiple disasters, he maintained power. Many Spanish leaders blamed Godoy for the disastrous war with Britain that cut off Spain's Empire and ruined its finances.
Godoy has been one of the only two people in history (the other being Baldomero Espartero) to have held the title of "Prince" in the Kingdom of Spain, a dignity traditionally reserved for the heir to the throne.
Godoy was born in Badajoz, the youngest child of noble but poor parents. His father was José de Godoy y Sánchez de los Ríos, de Cáceres y Méndez or José de Godoy y Sánchez de los Ríos Cáceres Morillo y Rodríguez.
His brothers and sisters were:
The nobility of his four surnames was emphasized by the entry of his brother Luis in the Order of Santiago and his brother Diego in the Order of Calatrava. His father José entered, with proofs, in the Order of Charles III in 1794, and two of his mother's brothers, José and Juan Manuel Álvarez de Faria y Sánchez, Pimienta y Zarzosa, adopted the Habit of the Order of Santiago in 1792, and the first at the Cross of Charles III in 1801. This noble family always had Knights, Commanders and even Masters in the Order of Santiago.
The House of Godoy came from the House of the same name in Galicia, to which belonged Pedro Ruíz de Godoy, son of Rodrigo Alfonso. This Knight married Teresa, daughter of Juan Muñiz, and through her their descendants surnamed themselves Muñiz de Godoy. Don Pedro Muñiz de Godoy was a Knight and distinguished himself in the reign of King Henry II of Castile, of whom he was an intimate. He held the titles of Adelantado-Mayor and Capitán-General of the Frontier of Portugal; he died in 1387 at the Battle of Valverde, having been Master of the Order of Calatrava, and also of the Order of Santiago. Many of his descendants, connected to the Extremeñas families, were senior officials.
In 1784, at the age of 17, Godoy moved to Madrid where he entered the royal bodyguard. When he went to Madrid, his singing and guitar playing set him apart (although he denied this in his Memoirs) and led him to the Palace, where by his intelligence and audacity (and according to some, the favors of Queen María Luisa) he obtained Charles IV's trust. In 1788, he met the heir to the Spanish throne, who later that year acceded as King Charles IV.
Godoy quickly became a favourite of Charles IV and of his wife, Queen Maria Louisa. On 30 December 1788, he was given the office of "Cadete supernumerario" in the royal palace and in May 1789, he was promoted to the rank of colonel. In November 1789, he was named a knight of the Order of Santiago and in August 1790, he advanced to the rank of commander in the same order. In 1791, he was Adjutant-General (Ajudante-General) of the Bodyguard, in February he was named Field-Marshal (Mariscal de Campo), in March Gentleman of the Chamber (Gentilhombre de la Cámara), and in July Lieutenant-General (Teniente-General) and a Knight Grand Cross of the Order of Charles III in 1791.
Godoy's frequent promotions were signs of his increasing influence over the King and Queen. In 1791, Prime Minister Floridablanca accused Godoy of an adulterous relationship with the Queen. In January 1792, Floridablanca fell from office on account of Spain's relationship with the emerging French Republic. His successor Aranda fell from office the following November, and Queen Maria Louisa arranged for Godoy to be Prime Minister. Godoy's appointment seems to have been accomplished with the full acceptance of King Charles IV who, lacking talent for governing, was happy to employ a competent and trustworthy stand-in.
In 1792, Godoy was made Duke of la Alcudia with grandeeship and a Knight of the Order of the Golden Fleece the following year. Another year later, he was made Captain General and Duke of Sueca, Marquis of Alvarez, and Lord of Soto de Roma. He was also made the 15th Minister for Foreign Affairs of Spain on 15 November 1792.
Godoy continued Spain's neutral policy towards the French Republic. In 1793, he failed to save King Louis XVI from the guillotine. Spain's protest against Louis' execution and its joining the alliance against the French Republic unleashed the War of the Pyrenees. The French armies managed to advance into the Basque districts in Spain by the west, and by the east (Catalonia). In July 1795, Godoy negotiated the Peace of Basel with France, by which Spain's frontier was restored, but its portion of the island of Hispaniola was ceded to the French. Although Godoy was widely criticized for the treaty, he received after its conclusion the title of "Prince of Peace" (Príncipe de la Paz) and the grandeeship of Spain. In August 1796, Godoy negotiated and signed the Second Treaty of San Ildefonso with France, which required that Spain declare war on Great Britain. This placed its ally Portugal in a difficult position, as Portugal was allied to Great Britain.
In 1797, Godoy had Charles IV grant the titles of 1st Condesa de Castillo Fiel with a coat of arms of de Tudó and 1st Vizcondesa de Rocafuerte (Letters of July 14, 1807) to Godoy's mistress, Josefa Petra Francisca de Paula (Pepita) de Tudó y Cathalán, Alemany y Luecia, born in Cádiz on May 19, 1779, Dame of Her Royal Majesty the Queen and 385th Noble Dame of the Royal Order of Queen María Luisa. She was the daughter of Antonio de Tudó y Alemany, Brigadier of the Royal Spanish Armies, Governor of the Royal Place of Buen Retiro, and his wife Catalina Cathalán y Luecia. Some sources mention a secret marriage between Godoy and Pepita, supposedly celebrated 22 June 1797 in the Prado. Pepita had lived in Godoy's household for several years with her mother and two sisters.
In 1797, Queen Maria Luisa arranged a marriage for Godoy, which she hoped would draw him from his mistress and at the same time obscure her own relationship with Godoy. Doña María Teresa Carolina de Borbón y Vallabriga, Farnesio y Rozas, born at Velada on March 6, 1779 (some say January 26, 1780), Charles IV's cousin and the daughter of his exiled and disgraced uncle Luis de Borbón y Farnesio, 13th Count of Chinchón, was chosen to be Godoy's wife. Although she had not met Godoy, Maria Teresa acquiesced in the marriage, which ensured the restoration of her family's fortunes. They married on 11 September or 2 October in the Escorial, Madrid. Godoy received a financial settlement as part of the marriage agreement, but his mistress continued to live in the same house as his wife.
Godoy was removed from the office of prime minister in 1797 and elevated to the position of Captain-General (Capitán-General). His position had been compromised by ongoing relationship struggles both with the French Republic and with Queen Maria Louisa, and he ceased to be Minister for Foreign Affairs on March 30, 1798. In October 1800, Godoy's wife Maria Teresa, previously made 1st Marquesa de Boadilla del Monte (Letter of August 4, 1799), bore a daughter Carlota Luisa Manuela, an only daughter who later inherited her mother's titles and/or representations and all of her father's Spanish and Portuguese titles and/or representations. She was baptised at the Escorial with Charles IV and Maria Louisa standing as godparents. The same day, along with her daughter and sister, she was made the 96th Noble Dame of the Royal Order of Queen María Luisa, on October 10, 1800.
Godoy's cousin, Pedro Cevallos became prime minister on 13 December 1799, allowing Godoy to assume de facto control of Spain as generalissimo of her armed forces. With support from France, he declared war on Portugal. Using his post of Captain-General, he led the army in the 1801 invasion of Portugal in the successful campaign that the Spanish authors call War of the Oranges (Guerra de las Naranjas or Guerra das Laranjas). His army left Badajoz on May 20. A writ of rendition he made to Elvas was energetically repealed by the Governor, Dom Francisco José Xavier de Noronha e Meneses of the Marqueses de Marialva Condes de Cantanhede, who maintained the fortified place until the end of the campaign. Even without a siege, Olivença and Juromenha surrendered without resistance, as did Arronches, Portalegre, Castelo de Vide, Barbacena and Ouguela. Campo Maior capitulated, after a siege of seventeen days, on the night of 6 June, when the Peace of Badajoz (June 6, 1801) had already been signed. Portugal went without Olivença.
In 1802, he negotiated the Treaty of Amiens with Great Britain; Spain ceded the island of Trinidad to Britain but recovered Menorca. The same year. Napoleon wrote to King Charles IV telling him that Godoy was the de facto King of Spain and that he was also Maria Louisa's lover. The letter was intercepted by Godoy's staff, but he still allowed the letter to be delivered.
Elevated to the position of Generalissimo of the Army of Land and Sea of Spain (1804), he was granted a private bodyguard. Meanwhile, his wife became heiress to her brother's House with his entry to the clergy, and thus became 15th Condesa de Chinchón and Grandee of Spain First Class with a Coat of Arms of Bourbon in 1803 (Letter of March 7, 1804) and 1st Duquesa de Sueca and Grandee of Spain First Class (Letter of March 7, 1804).
In 1805, the British attacked Spanish ships sailing from Peru to Spain, causing Godoy to again declare war. On October 21, the French and Spanish fleets suffered a humiliating defeat at the Battle of Trafalgar, ending Spain's last bid to be a world power.
In 1805, he and his mistress bore a son, Manuel, and in 1807, another son, Luis. Some genealogies hold that they had an only son, who inherited his mother's titles/representations and his father's Italian title, which could only be acquired through the male line, named Manuel Luis.
In 1807, he received the title of Most Serene Highness. Later that year, Godoy negotiated the Treaty of Fontainebleau with Napoleon, which eliminated Portugal from the list of nations and divided the country. Godoy was awarded the "Principality of the Algarves", with Alentejo and Algarve, under the protectorate of the Spanish King. This treaty preceded the first French invasion of Portugal. Article 2 of the treaty promised the southern half of Portugal to Godoy as "Prince of the Algarves"; this would have ensured Godoy's future. That future was already uncertain in Spain, because he was hated by the heir to the throne, the future Ferdinand VII.
But the promises of the Treaty of Fontainebleau were not fulfilled, as Napoleon had already begun to consider making Joseph Bonaparte king of Spain. In December, Godoy allowed French troops in Spain as allies to assist in the partition of Portugal. The revolt against the French spread through Spain and Portugal. In March 1808, Godoy, Charles IV, Maria Louisa, and the rest of the court abandoned the Escorial and fled to Aranjuez with the intention of escaping to New Spain. Instead, they had to flee to Rome, while in Spain Godoy's riches were confiscated.
Supporters of Ferdinand (who had for some time been considering a coup d'état against his father) spread the story that Godoy had sold Spain to Napoleon. On March 18, a popular uprising known as the Mutiny of Aranjuez took place. A mob stormed Godoy's residence, where at first they only found his mistress Pepita. Two days later, Godoy was found; Charles had Godoy's property confiscated and then imprisoned him in the castle of Villaviciosa de Odón, a property owned by his wife Maria Teresa. To end the uprising and to save Godoy's life, Charles IV abdicated in favour of his son Ferdinand VII.
Inspired by elements from outside its ranks, the royal guard had sought to impose its views upon the body politic by 'pronouncing' against the régime. Challenged by this call of arms, Godoy and his royal patrons found that they had few defenders. The officer corps as a whole was disgruntled by the failure of reforms to make any difference in its situation, and his orders to resist the French were already widely disobeyed; much of the upper nobility and the Church was hostile; reformist circles had long since lost all faith in Godoy's political credentials; and the common people were in a state of open revolt. As for Fernando, he was seen as a saviour, the reception that he received when he rode into Madrid on 24 March.
The new king was popular, but his security was not certain. Murat had occupied the city only the day before, and, despite increasingly abject attempts to win France's favour, refused to recognise Fernando. Carlos IV protested his abdication and appealed to Napoleon for assistance. With the two rivals openly craving his mediation, the emperor was placed in an ideal position to control events. He summoned Carlos, María Luisa and Fernando to meet him for a conference at Bayonne (Godoy was rescued from captivity and transported to France). With all the contestants united in his presence, Napoleon demanded that the rival kings renounce the throne and hand it to the emperor. Carlos assented, and on 5 May, Fernando's defiance was overcome and the throne was formally signed over to Napoleon in exchange for generous pensions for the royal family and guarantees of territorial and religious integrity for Spain. With the whole of the Peninsula subjugated, Napoleon appeared to have achieved his every objective. However, even as the Bourbons departed into exile - Carlos, María Luisa and Godoy to Italy, and Fernando, his brother, Carlos, and uncle, Antonio, to Talleyrand's chateau at Valençay - the Peninsula remained restive.
Setting this aside, however, opportunism was the key. Napoleon had been motivated neither by an altruistic desire to spread the benifts of freedom and enlightenment, nor by a gigantic strategic combination, nor by an overwhelming clan loyalty that made the creation of family courts the centrepiece of French foreign policy. Strategic, ideological and historical factors were present in his thinking, certainly, but in the last resort what mattered was, first, the emperor's character, and, second, the force of circumstance. Forever eager to demonstrate his prowess, impose his stamp upon affairs, and demonstrate his contempt for diplomacy, the emperor was confronted with a situation in which nothing seemed to stand between him and the stroke that was more audacious than anything that he had yet attempted. Never had he been more wrong.
Godoy spent the next few years living in exile with Charles, Maria Louisa, his daughter Carlota Luisa, his mistress Pepita, and their sons (Maria Teresa had divorced him in 1808). They lived for several months at Fontainebleau, then at Compiègne, and then at Aix-en-Provence. In October 1808, they arrived in Marseille, where they spent four years. In July 1812, they moved to Rome, where they lived in the Palazzo Barberini.
In April 1814, Ferdinand VII was restored as King of Spain (he had lived for six years in France). He refused to allow his parents or Godoy to return to Spain and had Pope Pius VII exile Godoy and his mistress to Pesaro. During the Hundred Days, Charles IV and Maria Louisa fled from France to Verona, where they were joined by Godoy and Pepita. Godoy petitioned the Emperor Franz I of Austria for asylum in Vienna, but Ferdinand forbade it.
After Napoleon's final defeat, Charles IV, Maria Louisa and Pepita returned to Rome, but the Pope required Godoy to stay at Pesaro. In September 1815, Charles and Maria Louisa asked the pope to annul the marriage between Godoy and Maria Teresa. Godoy was allowed to return to Rome, but to preserve appearances, Pepita and her sons moved to Genoa. Ferdinand then bribed the police to expel Pepita and her family from Genoa; and again from Livorno. Finally, she found a home in Pisa.
In March 1818, Godoy's younger son Luis died. In October, Godoy became ill with malaria; he received the last rites, but recovered. At the end of the year, Maria Louisa caught pneumonia; Charles IV was absent in Naples at the time, but Godoy stayed by her bedside until she died, on January 2, 1819. Five days later, Charles IV wrote to Godoy asking him to vacate the Palazzo Barberini in Rome, only weeks before Charles himself died in Naples.
Ferdinand VII continued to forbid Godoy to return to Spain and ensured that he did not receive any state pension. He also did not allow Godoy's daughter Carlota to marry into a sovereign house, but did agree to her marriage in 1821 to Don Camillo Ruspoli, the younger son of a Roman princely family.
On November 24, 1828, Maria Teresa died at Paris. The following year or still in December of that year, Godoy married Pepita. The Pope made him 1st Principe di Paserano, but Godoy went to live in Paris in 1832, where they lived in somewhat straitened circumstances. Louis Philippe later gave him a pension.
In 1836 and 1839, Godoy published Memórias del Príncipe de la Paz, his memoirs. Charles IV had asked that he not do this until after the death of his son Ferdinand VII (who had died in 1833). Pepita returned to Spain in hopes of reclaiming the family properties. She died in Madrid on September 20, 1869.
In 1844, he was authorized to return to Spain. In 1847, the Spanish government returned to Godoy part of his confiscated property and restored his titles. He died at Paris in 1851. His body was buried first in the Church of Saint-Roch, but the following year was transferred to the Père Lachaise Cemetery, where it rests today.
The painting La maja desnuda by Francisco de Goya, which depicts a fully nude reclining woman, was once in Godoy's personal collection. It is variously claimed to portray Josefa, Countess of Castillo Fiel or Cayetana, Duchess of Alba, who were Godoy's mistresses.
Besides receiving many decorations, in Spain he carried many titles and offices:
Lord Byron mentions Godoy in his Childe Harold's Pilgrimage (Canto the First, XLVIII), where a Spanish lusty muleteer... chants "Viva el Rey" / And check his song to execrate Godoy, / The royal wittol Charles... etc. and in the note to these lines he explains that it is to this man that the Spaniards universally impute the ruin of their country.