Elisabeth visited the Castilian fairground town twice, but always apart from the presence of her husband, the Emperor Charles V
Emperor Charles V spent many seasons away from home, and this forced Empress Elisabeth to develop her own agenda. This enabled her to visit the cities or towns where her court was established. This is the case of Medina del Campo, which she visited on two occasions.
Thus, the first visit of Empress Elisabeth to Medina del Campo took place on 16th November 1531, whilst her husband, the Emperor, was in Brussels. She entered the so-called town of fairs from Ávila, accompanied by her son Felipe and the Infanta Doña María. In time, the former would become the heir to the Spanish kingdoms and their overseas possessions; the latter, the Empress of Austria.
The second visit of the empress to Medina del Campo took place in 1532 with the aim of visiting her famous May Fair. The curiosity of this visit is the identity of her companion, her butler and head of her court, Francisco de Borja, Duke of Gandía and Marquis of Lombay.
Where does the curiosity of this visit lie? Francisco de Borja would visit Medina del Campo again twenty five years later. If the first one did so as head of the court of the empress, on this occasion – and now that Isabel was dead – he did so as Prepósito General de la Compañía de Jesús to bless and take charge of the Church and Novitiate of the Jesuits, founded by the people of Medina Pedro Cuadrado – captain of the troops of Felipe II in Flanders – and his wife Francisca Manjón.
Curiosities that history has.