The present sitter was born at Fontainebleau in 1545 to Henry II of France and Catherine de'Medici. She was betrothed to Edward VI of England, however, his early death in 1553 made it necesary to arrange an alternate match. In 1559 she became the third wife of Philip II of Spain; the marriage was happy and signed letters from Philip attest to his deep love.
Isabella was a lover of art and music, and one of her ladies in waiting was the artist Sofonisba Anguissola who painted the queen's portrait on several occassions. After giving birth to two daughters she died at the young age of twenty-one.
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