The Margaret of Austria's Gothic Palace in Mechelen, Belgium

Address: 20 Keizerstraat, 2800 Mechelen

Between the walls of one historic building in Mechelen is preserved the spirit of a past era, marked by the presence of a remarkable historical personality. This was Margaret of Austria (Marguerite d'Autriche). A woman who ruled equal to emperors and kings in medieval Europe for 19 years as Governor of the Austrian Habsburg Netherlands from 1507 to 1515 and from 1519 to 1530. She was a representative on behalf of her father of the Austrian Royal Habsburg House in the Netherlands Burgundy for his nephew Charles Quint as Regent of the Habsburg Netherlands.

Not far from the historic center of Mechelen is the Palace of Margaret of Austria, where the Gothic Renaissance building and its lovely inner courtyard, surrounded by a superb arcade, can be seen until our days. Today, this building bears the traces of past centuries, but at the very beginning of the 16th century, when Rombaut (Rombout) II Keldermans (1460-1531), Lord of Mansdale (ennobled by Charles Quint), carried out his architectural project, the Palace was one of the Renaissance pearls in the beautiful city of Mechelen, the capital of Flanders at that time. From 1616 to 1796 the building housed the Great Council and the Higher Judicial College in South Netherlands. On the facade can be seen the coat of arms of Marguerite, next to those of Charles V. The historic complex, a former residence of Margaret of Austria, is one of Mechelen's attractions and can be visited by the connoisseurs of history. Wide collections of paintings, sculptures, exquisite vases and valuable objects of art, as well as her enlightening library of unique books, manuscripts, and literary works, have been preserved in the magnificent halls of the Palace. This incredible Palace was a kind of power center for its era, a center of cultural life and the spreading of the ideas of humanism.

And all this it was not accidental, because there was lived and ruled an extremely erudite and prepared for her historical role woman - Archduchess Margaret of Austria (1480 - 1530), Princess of Asturias and Duchess of Savoy, born in Brussels on 10 January, 1480. She was a highly educated, a connoisseur and patron of arts, a polyphonic music admirer, prepared for a queen who created the conditions and environment to flourish of the culture and arts. The Burgundian Dukes, whose worthy representative was also Margaret of Austria, have greatly contributed to the Renaissance rise in medieval Europe in all areas of culture, construction and life, similarly to the Medici era in Renaissance Florence. Margaret of Austria was the second child and the only legitimate daughter of the Holy Roman Emperor Maximilien Ist de Habsburg or Maximilien d'Autriche (1459-1519) and of Mary of Burgundy (Marie de Bourgogne, 1457-1482), Duchess of Burgundy, born in Brussels at the castle of Coudenberg as the only child of Charles the Bold, Duke of Burgundy, and his wife Isabella of Bourbon. The Emperor Maximilien d'Autriche (Maximilien Ist) was born on 22 March, 1459 in the castle of Wels, in Wiener Neustadt, in the Lower Austria, the north-east of Austria and he was Roman Emperor from 1508 to his death.

At about 24 years of age, after two marriages, Margaret of Austria remains a widow, and for the rest of her life she doesn't get married anymore. She remains dedicated to her mission as one of the influential historical figures of Medieval Europe. In 1507 she settled in Mechelen as Governor of the Habsburg Netherlands. At the same time, she dedicates herself to the education and upbringing of her nephews, Charles Quint and his sisters. Charles Quint was the heir of three of Europe's leading dynasties: The Habsburgs of Austria, Valois of Burgundy, and Trastamara of Spain. Catherine of Aragon from the House of Trastamara was Queen of England as the first wife of King Henry VIII of England and aunt of Charles Quint. He has direct kinship ties to all royal dynasties and nobility families in Europe.

Margaret of Austria died in Mechelen without leaving her children as heirs. Before her death, she appointed her nephew Charles V (Quint) as her sole heir. The tomb of Margaret of Austria is located in the Church of Brou at the Royal Monastery of Brou (Bourg-en-Bresse, Ain, France), where she has prepared the wonderful mausoleum (by the sculptor Conrad Meit) for her second husband Philibert II (1480-1504), the Duke of Savoy, and for herself.

A magnificent statue of Margaret of Austria is located at the side of St. Rumbold's Cathedral in Mechelen. The statue originally stood in the middle of Grote Markt Square in the city.

Photos: personal archive

Related images

Palace of Margaret of Austria, Mechelen, Belgium

Palace of Margaret of Austria, Mechelen, Belgium

Palace of Margaret of Austria, Mechelen, Belgium

Palace of Margaret of Austria, Mechelen, Belgium

Palace of Margaret of Austria, Mechelen, Belgium

Palace of Margaret of Austria, Mechelen, Belgium

Palace of Margaret of Austria (fragment), Mechelen, Belgium

Palace of Margaret of Austria (fragment), Mechelen, Belgium

Palace of Margaret of Austria (fragment), Mechelen, Belgium

Palace of Margaret of Austria (fragment), Mechelen, Belgium

Palace of Margaret of Austria (fragment), Mechelen, Belgium

Palace of Margaret of Austria (fragment), Mechelen, Belgium

Palace of Margaret of Austria (fragment), Mechelen, Belgium

Palace of Margaret of Austria (fragment), Mechelen, Belgium

The Margaret of Austria's Palace courtyard, Mechelen, Belgium

The Margaret of Austria's Palace courtyard, Mechelen, Belgium

Palace of Margaret of Austria (fragment), Mechelen, Belgium

Palace of Margaret of Austria (fragment), Mechelen, Belgium

Related links

https://www.habsburger.net/en/chapter/margaret-austria-life-dedicated-higher-honour-dynasty

https://www.theanneboleynfiles.com/margaret-austria-royal-monastery-brou-yann-kergourlay/

http://www.histoire-des-belges.be/au-fil-du-temps/temps-modernes/premiers-habsbourg/la-regence-de-marguerite-dautriche