as Philip IV king of Spain from 1621; as Philip III king of Portugal 1621–1640
Born in Valladolid (Spain) on 8 April 1605
Died in Madrid on 17 September 1665
His reign represented an epoch of cultural brilliance for Spain in the latter years of the ‘Golden Age’, but also marked the political decline and fall of this great power, which was shaken by grave economic and social crises. With favourites such as Count Olivares setting the tone at the king’s court – as with his father before him – the king endeavoured in his foreign policy to defend the country’s territorial possessions. His predilections were for bull-fighting, hunting and women; he is credited with large numbers of illegitimate children.