Manuel Godoy

Spanish Prince of Peace
1767 - 1851

Manuel GodoyA good-looking soldier from improverished minor nobility, Manuel Godoy rose to unofficially ruling Spain through his lover, Queen Maria-Louisa.

Despite his elevation through matronage, Godoy initially seemed good for Spain as he tried to keep his country out of the war with revolutionary France.

That bid for peace failed - and led to the war bankrupting Spain - as did an attempt by Godoy to stop Louis XVI being executed.

His title Prince of Peace came in 1795 from his successful manouevrings to get Spain out of the war of the First Coalition.

He was not averse to extra moneys coming his way and French bribery won his support for an alliance against the Third Coalition. While good for his pocket, the stand with France lost Spain its powerful fleet after the disaster at Trafalgar.

Godoy also schemed with France about letting troops move against Portugal and his loyalty to the Queen and King Charles IV saw him exiled to France when Joseph Bonaparte usurped the throne.

In his later years an overweight Godoy still managed to have a hold over Maria-Louisa and he had many mistresses.

He died in poverty in Paris, unmourned in his homeland.



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