Alessandro Farnese, Duke of Parma
Vaenius - Alexander Farnese.png
Historical Figure
Nationality: Parma, a vassal state of Spain)
Date of Birth: 1545
Date of Death: 1592
Cause of Death: Infected wound from being shot in battle
Religion: Catholicism
Occupation: Politician, Soldier, Military Governor
Spouse: Maria de Guimarães
Children: Margherita, Ranuccio, Odoardo, Isabella
Military Branch: Spanish Army
Political Office(s): Duke of Parma
Fictional Appearances:
Ruled Britannia
POD: July-August, 1588
Type of Appearance: Posthumous reference
Date of Death: 1590s
Cause of Death: Unrevealed

Alessandro Farnese, the Duke of Parma (27 August 1545 – 3 December 1592) was a high-ranking Italian nobleman and general in the service of Spain. From 1577 he led armies in the Netherlands against English-backed Protestant rebels with such expertise that the dying Spanish governor and commander in chief, Don John of Austria, recommended him as his successor to his half-brother, King Philip II of Spain. Philip II acceded and during the following years, the rebels lost all their territories outside Holland and Zeeland.

In 1588, against Parma's judgment who considered that the defeat of the Dutch was near, he was ordered to take Sluys and Ostend in anticipation for the arrival of the Spanish Armada, which would then ferry him and his army across the Channel to invade England. Parma accomplished his objectives but the naval attack failed, rendering them irrelevant. In 1589, Parma was forced again to march, this time south, to support the French Catholics against Henry IV of France. While besieging Caudebec in 1592, he was injured by musket fire in an arm. The wound became infected and caused his death some days later.

Duke of Parma in Ruled Britannia[]

In 1588, the Duke of Parma's army rendezvoused with the Spanish Armada in Dunkirk and landed in England. Parma's well-trained and combat-hardened troops easily overcame the amateur English forces.[1]

After installing Queen Isabella and King Albert, Parma's army, reinforced by Catholic English and Irish troops, remained in England as an occupational garrison. Parma was succeeded as commander by Don Diego Flores de Valdés.[2]

Parma died some time before the English rebellion of 1598. He was a character in William Shakespeare's play, King Philip.[3]


  1. Ruled Britannia, pgs. 6-7.
  2. Ibid., pg. 34.
  3. Ibid., pg. 182.
Political offices
Preceded by
Don Juan de Austria
Governor of the Spanish Netherlands
Succeeded by
Peter Ernst von Mansfeld-Vorderort
Royal offices
Preceded by
Ottavio Farnese
Duke of Parma and Piacenza
Succeeded by
Ranuccio Farnese I