Simon Doubleday

Cape of the infante Don Felipe

The infante Felipe (born in 1231) was one of Alfonso’s younger brothers. Fragments of the prince’s cape survive both in the Metropolitan Museum of New York and in the Museo Arqueológico Nacional, in Madrid. While the textile design is often identified as “Islamic”, cultural tastes were fluid and did not correspond to religious identities: the cape may well have been produced in Castile rather than in al-Andalus.

Like Alfonso, Felipe was a devotee of hunting, as his extraordinary tomb at Villalcázar de Sirga commemorates. In 1258, he had married a Norwegian princess, Kristín, who died childless and far from home four years later.

Alfonso’s relationship with his brothers was always strained at best, and spilled repeatedly into open conflict. In the early 1270s, Felipe helped to orchestrate a rebellion against the Wise King, in which personal grievances were mixed with broader concerns about the strengthening of royal power. During the rebellion, the infante and the other rebel leaders went into voluntary exile in the Kingdom of Granada.