Felipe II

Not all prilgrims that have made the Route of Santiago are anonymous people. On the contrary, over the history, the Route has seen many distinguished people, including members of royal houses, such as: Matilde, daughter of Enrique I, King of England, in 1125; Guillermo X, Duke of Aquitania, in 1137; Alfonso VII, in 1138; Luis VII, King of France, in 1154; and Santa Isabel of Portugal in 1325. 

But they have not been the only ones. Along the Route can be found constructions with plaques that indicate the stay of a personality in that location. Such is the case of Ligonde, in Lugo, where Felipe II, King of Spain is believed to have halted during his pilgrimage to Santiago.

At one time this powerful king controlled more than half western Europe, America south of Río Grande, the Philippine Islands, and other territories in Asia. At the age of 16 he began to govern Spain in the absence of his father, Carlos V, in 1543; in 1554, he became the formal governor of half Italy, and by marriage, of England. Finally, in 1556 he inherited all the possessions of Carlos V after his death.

During his reign, until his death in 1598, Felipe II had to face many political problems that remained unsolved. Given the size of his empire, it is not surprising that he had to cope with many rebellions in his states. Spain was not easy to control, either. The division of the Peninsula into autonomies with its own laws and institutions caused him more than one headache. It limited his power.

He had four wives: the Princess María of Portugal, who died young; María Tudor, Queen of England; Isabel de Valois; and finally his niece, Ana de Austria, twenty years his junior, with whom he is believed to have been very happy.