Saturday, October 10, 2015

10/10/15 Report - Queen's Jewels And The 1715 Plate Fleet. Queen Isabella. Las Arras.

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of

You've heard of the Queen's Jewels I'm sure, but have you heard of Isabella Farnese?  Sometimes she is referred to as Elizabeth, which is an anglicized version of Isabella.  Isabella married Philip V and became the real mover behind the throne.

One book about Isabella was written by Edward Armstrong in 1892.  The title of the book is Termagant of Spain.  Termagant is defined as a harsh-tempered or over-bearing woman.  That is NOT how Isabella was advertised to Philip, who married her by proxy after Queen Maria Luisa passed away.

Here is the link to Armstrong's book. It provides a lot of history - mostly after 1715.

Here is what Wikipedia says about the marriage of Isabella to Philip V.

Shortly after the death of Queen Maria Luisa in 1714, the King decided to marry again. His second wife was Elisabeth of Parma, daughter of Odoardo Farnese, hereditary Prince of Parma, and Dorothea Sophie of the Palatinate.  At the age of twenty-one, on 24 December 1714, she was married by proxy in Parma.  The marriage was arranged by Cardinal Alberoni with the concurrence of the Princesse des Ursins, the Camarera Mayor ("chief of the household") of the king of Spain.

Lost Historiesa book by Joel Levy written in 2006, says the following.

Did you catch that?  She was married on Dec. 24,  1714, but refused to consummate the marriage until she received her dowry, which was being sent in eight chests on the Capitana.

I was thinking about the nine eight-escudo royals that were found this summer, and I wondered about their purpose and why so many were found together.  Then I learned about the Spanish marriage tradition of las arras.

Here is what wikipedia says about that.

Las arras, or Las arras matrimoniales (English: arrhaewedding tokens, or unity coins[1]) are wedding paraphernalia used in Christian wedding ceremonies in SpainLatin American countries, and the Philippines. The tradition is also followed, with varying names and customs, in countries and communities bearing degrees of Hispanic influence.[2] Traditionally, in Spain and Latin America, it is made up of thirteen gold coins[1][3] presented in an ornate box or chest; in the Philippines, it is in an ornate basket or pouch.[1][3] After being blessed by a priest, they are given or presented by the groom to the bride.  (Links in this paragraph are not active.)

Marriage Customes of the World: An Encyclopedia of Dating Customs and Wedding Traditions, by George Monger, 2013, says the following.

If the nine royals were part of las arras, then there should be four more of them.  Or maybe those royals had nothing to do with Isabella Farnese at all.

Fine gold coins were also sometimes given as earnest money in business relationships too.

It is nothing more than wild speculation without any convincing evidence to support it, but I can't think of any better reason for so many remarkable royals being together than a queen's dowry. I'm sure that Isabella would have demanded and received only the very finest.

If her dowry went down with the 1715 Fleet, was it salvaged and returned to her, or was there a substitute.  There is a lot more research to do, but I feel pretty sure that Isabella received an impressive dowry of some sort before consummating the marriage.

I haven't come to any conclusions but learned a lot in the process.  Maybe I'll find out more about Isabella's dowry and what happened to it.


The surf is down some now and will be decreasing for the next few days, down to around one foot by Wednesday.  Then the prediction is for it to increase again.

Happy hunting,