Charles I of Spain and V of the Holy Roman Empire was born in the year 1500 and died half a century later, in 1558. Son of Juana I of Castile and Philip I of Castile, he reigned in Spain from 1516 to 1556, date on which abdicated He was the first to bring together in one person the Crowns of Castile, Navarre, and Aragon.
He held the title of Holy Roman Emperor, as he was a grandson on his paternal side of Emperor Maximilian I of Habsburg. On his mother’s side, his grandparents were the Catholic Monarchs, so he inherited territories such as Naples or Sicily. This made him an important figure in the history of Spain but, in addition, he was also obsessed with the arrival of his own death.
He had an empire under his name when he abdicated at age 56. In fact, he regretted for many years that he had not done it sooner. This, along with the passage of time, obsessed him during his last years, as explained by the digital magazine Fascinating Spain.
In his last stage he chose to be a monk and retire in the monastery of Cuacos de Yuste. Among his requests to the monastery, it stands out that his bedroom have direct access to the church, so that he could hear mass when he was sick. He knew that his ailments would be constant, according to the same media.
The former emperor had been suffering from gout for a long time and soon gave himself up to an idle life, so his condition did not improve. His health deteriorated and his obsessions grew. In that state of melancholy and pain he became increasingly clear that his death would come soon and he was clear about how he wanted it to be, so he rehearsed, and on several occasions.
Charles I of Spain and V of the Holy Roman Empire wanted his funeral to be celebrated in a very specific way, so he decided to “be present” as much as possible. Legend has it that he even got into the coffin with the clothes he would wear when he died and listened to the prayers that were asked for his soul. The church bells even tolled to death.
The emperor established all the details of his burial, such as the desire to stay in the place that had welcomed him for the last time. Specifically, under the main altar of the church. However, when he died on September 21, 1558, the funeral was held in Cuacos de Yuste, but he was never buried according to his instructions. The crypt prepared for the emperor remains empty and his body finally rests alongside those of a good part of his family, in the Pantheon of the Kings of El Escorial.