Joe Biden as the Doddering King of Spain

As I recently had to prepare a lecture series on the kings of Spain, I stumbled upon a striking parallel between the United States today and Spain 300 years ago.

In the fifty years between 1665 and 1715, the collapse of Spain’s monarchy led to the War of the Spanish Succession.  In that war, Winston Churchill’s ancestor, the Duke of Marlborough, became an unforgettable historical figure.

So much of what I found in studying this conflict reminds me of the United States today, especially because of the global anxiety caused by Joe Biden’s apparent fragility of mind and body.  Perhaps some lessons can be learned here, or at least we can amuse ourselves by reflecting on Spain’s history and recalling the lines from Ecclesiastes: “There is nothing new under the sun.”

El Rey Hechizado” or “The King Who Had a Hex on Him”

At the center of Spain’s dramatic decline was one of the most tragic monarchs in history: Carlos (or Charles) II of Spain.  In 1665, his father, King Felipe IV, died.  Carlos II was only four years old.  His mother, Mariana of Austria, had to rule as regent.  Because of the sexual escapades of Carlos’s father, he had an out-of-wedlock brother named Juan José de Austria; this person would militate against Carlos in attempt to gain power.  But Carlos’s most lethal enemy was his own DNA.