Gaspar de Guzmán, Count-Duke of Olivares
Olivares, second in charge of Spain, held the  
strings of the puppet King Phelipe IV vigorously.  
At the height of his career he was a man  
ruthless in his disposal of unwanted opposition.  
However, with advancing years and the burden  
of war upon his shoulders, his life inevitably  
As friends grew few and he became less  
hedged about, the queen was able to gain the-
upper-hand. Stories of sordid dealings with a  
noble family came to the attention of the  
He died before the Holy Office could incarcerate  
him after his banishment from court.
Elizabeth of France
Known in Spain as Isabel Queen consort, a  
Medici, and daughter of the French King. She  
was older than Phelipe, an astute and  
committed queen who Olivares could not easily  
manipulate. It was by her timely quick hand that  
he fell from grace. Isabel was renowned for her  
beauty, intelligence and noble personality,  
which made her very popular with the Spanish  
people. She was very aware that her husband  
had mistresses yet quietly suffered the insult.  
Many of Isabel's babies died in infancy; but she  
did give birth to a strong prince, Carlos, the  
hope of the nation and the pride of his father.  
She died of a fever before her children reached  
adulthood and was mourned by the nation.
Diego Rodriguez de Silva y Velazquez
Diego married fifteen-year-old Juana, the daughter of his master Juan Pacheco, when he was eighteen. He was kind, teachable and in love with his wife as with his art. Success came his way early when he was called to the palace in Madrid as court painter to Phelipe IV of spain. His accomplishments as an artist and later diplomat was pitted with court jealousy, motivated by his close friendship with the king. Within the stability of his marriage, the stress of palace duties and fatigue of war, Diego's humanity was tested. He formed an attachment to a young widow while in italy. Together they produced a boy he was never to meet. Near the end of his career he realized his lifelong dream of being knighted.
Juan de Pareja
A slave of Spanish and Moorish parentage,  
Juan Pareja survived in a Spain that had  
banished Moors from its borders. He too was a  
painter; his most notable canvas The calling of  
Matthew where he paints a copy of Velázquez’s  
portrait of him.  
Anecdotally it is said that Pareja placed this  
painting in front of the King, lying prostrate  
before it. Where upon the king was obliged to  
recognize him. On viewing the painting, he  
pronounced his liking of it and wondered why  
such talent was enslaved. Velázquez had no  
option but to liberate Pareja, granting him his  
freedom. Diego did grant Pareja freedom in  
1651 where he disappeared from the pages of