Émile-Charles Wauters - Groot Privilege (1878)
Émile-Charles Wauters, Mary of Burgundy Granting the Great Privilege, 1878 (Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia, USA)
Mary's father died in battle when she was only 19, leaving her as the sole heir to the vast territories of Burgundy. This made her one of the richest and most powerful women in Europe at the time. In 1477, Mary married Maximilian I, the future Holy Roman Emperor. The marriage was arranged by Mary's mother, who wanted to ensure that her daughter's inheritance would be protected. Mary and Maximilian had three children, including their son Philip the Handsome, who later became King of Castile. Mary was renowned for her intelligence, beauty and love of the arts. She was a patron of many artists and musicians, including the composer Josquin des Prez. Tragically, Mary died in a riding accident at the age of 25. Her death was a great loss to her family and to the Burgundian territories, which were left without a clear successor. Her son Philip was only four years old at the time of her death, and her husband Maximilian had to fight to secure his son's inheritance. Mary of Burgundy is remembered as a remarkable woman who played an important role in the history of late medieval Europe.