Anne commissioned this picture by Deigo Velazquez and kept it in her bathing chamber in the Louvre along with many other portraits of the family she left in 1615 and was never to see again.
In Spain, it was traditional for women of the Spanish court to pose for portraits with their hand on the back of the chair but the delightful child opposite was only three years old when the picture was painted and she could not reach beyond the seat of the chair.
Little Margarita was the daughter of Philip IV of Spain – Anne’s adored brother – and his second wife Mariana of Austria – the daughter of both Anne and Philip’s sister Maria.
At one time Margarita’s mother, the Infanta Maria, was expected to marry Charles, Prince of Wales, later King Charles I of England. Instead she married Ferdinand III, the titular king of Hungary and became the Holy Roman Empress.
Philip IV, King of Spain favoured this daughter and called her ‘my joy.’ She was an ethereal child with blond hair, blue eyes and none of the genetic defects that haunted many of the Hapsburgs.
Velazquez painted her several times. His most famous picture of the Infanta being Las Meninas
Margarita married Leopold I, Holy Roman Emperor, her cousin and uncle, and has come down to us in history as the last of the Spanish Hapsburgs.
She gave birth to six children, suffered numerous miscarriages and sadly died in Austria at the age of twenty-one.