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Many titles of King Philip II of Spain

My attention being drawn to Amabile V. Galea’s letter (Philip II Of Spain, September 8) I must agree Philip II is commonly referred to (only) as king of Spain, and in this sense it was inappropriate of me to describe this monarch – “repeatedly, in articles about de Valette’s sword” – as the “Spanish Emperor”.

I apologise if Mr Galea and a couple of online-commentators are thinking that I may have confused Philip with the contemporary Holy Roman Emperor.

In my poor defence, I humbly refer them to historians of note, who are in agreement Philip II, also known as “Philip the Prudent”, was a monarch who had all the trappings of an empire.

In fact, Philip had more territory than any other European Monarch, much more than even the Holy Roman Emperor himself: In Europe, from Spain to Italy to the Netherlands, and in the New World, from Florida to the Philippines, as well as in Africa and Asia.

In deference to Mr Galea’s valid criticism I will not quibble, and list this monarch as he was variously styled in real life: “The Most Illustrious Philip, by the Grace of God, King of Spain, King of Aragon, Valencia, Mallorca and Sardinia (January 16, 1556 – September 13, 1598), Count of Barcelona (January 16, 1556 – September 13, 1598), King of Granada (January 16, 1556 – September 13, 1598), Lord of Álava, Guipúzcoa, and Vizcaya (January 16, 1556 – September 13, 1598), King of Navarra (January 16, 1556 – September 13, 1598), King of England (joint with wife Mary, July 24, 1554 – November 17, 1558: he continued using the title after Mary’s death), King of Ireland (joint with wife Mary 1555-November 17, 1558), King of France (claim renounced May 2, 1598 (implied)), Duke of Milan (October 11, 1540 – September 13, 1598), King of Sicily and King of Jerusalem (July 24, 1554 – September 13, 1598); [between 1554 and 1556 the title used was King of Naples and Jerusalem], Duke of Brabant (October 25, 1555 – May 6, 1598), King of Sicily (January 16, 1556 – September 13, 1598; from 16 Jan 1556 styled King of the Two Sicilies and Jerusalem), Count of Flanders (October 25, 1555 – May 6, 1598), Duke of Limbourg (October 25, 1555 – May 6, 1598), Duke of Luxembourg (October 25, 1555 – May 6, 1598), Count and Marquess of Namur (October 25, 1555 – May 6, 1598), Count of Holland and Lord of West Friesland (October 25, 1555 – July 26, 1581), Count of Zeeland (October 25, 1555 – July 26, 1581), Duke of Gelre (October 25, 1555 – July 26, 1581), Count of Friesland (October 25, 1555 – July 26, 1581), Lord of the Ommelanden (October 25, 1555 – July 26, 1581), Hereditary Lord of Utrecht (October 25, 1555 - 1585, from July 25, 1581 only in Overijssel), Count of Drenthe (October 25, 1555 - 1594), Lord of Groningen (October 25, 1555 - 1594), King of the Spains and the Indies, (January 16, 1556 – September 13, 1598), King of Portugal and the Algarves (July 17, 1580 – September 13, 1598) and King of Ceylon (May 27, 1597 – September 13, 1598) etc”.

I hope to be forgiven (again) because, by following The Times’ 600 word rule, I have deliberately omitted certain titles, but my gut feeling tells me we would be better off using the more amiable “Sur Filippu” .

Back to the real issue, once the Valette sword was part of the spoils lawfully taken by France before September 1798, we have no legal claim to the sword (… and poignard).

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