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Don Francisco Gómez de Sandoval, 1st Duke of Lerma, a favourite of Philip III of Spain, was the first of the validos ('most worthy') through whom the later Habsburg monarchs ruled. He was succeeded by Don Gaspar de Guzmán, Count-Duke of Olivares.

The family of Sandoval was ancient and powerful. As long as Philip II lived, the nobles had little effective share in the government, with the exception of a few who were appointed viceroys or commanded armies abroad. The future duke of Lerma passed his time as a courtier, and made himself a favourite with the young prince Philip, heir to the Spanish throne. The dying king Philip II foresaw that Lerma was one of those nobles who were likely to mislead the new sovereign. The old king’s fears were, it is claimed by some, fully justified after his death.

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Don Francisco Gómez de Sandoval, 1st Duke of Lerma, a favourite of Philip III of Spain, was the first of the validos ('most worthy') through whom the later Habsburg monarchs ruled. He was succeeded by Don Gaspar de Guzmán, Count-Duke of Olivares.

The family of Sandoval was ancient and powerful. As long as Philip II lived, the nobles had little effective share in the government, with the exception of a few who were appointed viceroys or commanded armies abroad. The future duke of Lerma passed his time as a courtier, and made himself a favourite with the young prince Philip, heir to the Spanish throne. The dying king Philip II foresaw that Lerma was one of those nobles who were likely to mislead the new sovereign. The old king’s fears were, it is claimed by some, fully justified after his death. More...

 
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