Did Shakespeare and Cervantes meet in Valladolid?

There is no evidence or witness statement, but coincidences happen and here both physical and timing could have coincided. William Shakespeare could have made the trip in the spring of 1605 on a peace mission to Valladolid, as a member of a Royal delegation.

Around this time, the nomadic Cervantes could have been there with his sisters, his niece, wife and daughter. Were they presented to anyone? That is the question which has dogged the authors of the biographies of both writers.

Felipe III and Jacobo I had decided on a treaty to end the warring hearts of their predecessors. A festering and expansive drive would have confirmed the axis of their tense imperial ambitions which determined the reigns of Felipe II and Isabel I: the colonial frontier to widen borders and to battle without rest by sea. The world then was a thing of two, England and Spain.

This bipolarity would also have dominated the work of both writers. Just as Shakespeare and Cervantes has shown honour to their respective monarchs, giving them constant shows of admiration. Although the Spaniard had some legal reservations, this was an era which opened responding to another type of more modest efforts.

The new kings enjoyed relaxed preferences. If Felipe nicknamed the pious, soon became a lover of the arts, which gave refuge to the Jesuits during his reign and led to hot matters being left in the hands of the ambitious and corrupt Duke of Lerma. Jacobo excelled in exhibitionism, petulance and his preference for having a good time, which became patent will his clear homosexual inclinations without it bothering him a bit. Something united both geniuses, being keen hunters above everything else.

To sign the peace agreement, two vast delegations were named. The Spanish travelled first to England in August 1604, and the British presented in Valladolid a year later. It contained some 700 Englishmen, and by then William Shakespeare had been appointed by his country. Not so Cervantes, despite he lived in the city, although one if his motives to arrive there ahead of it being the new capital of the kingdom, could have been down to the closeness of the court, not being considered by the authorities and the provosts for said meeting.

Peace was awarded and surely, as sustains Jordi García in his marvellous biography ‘Miguel de Cervantes. The conqueror of irony’ (Taurus), the author highlights the then English ambassador, Charles Cornwallis, having detected his tuned diplomatic diagnosis. ‘The treasury of the monarchy is completely exhausted, the interests being paid to pay off debt, his noble poverty completely indebted’.


Headline: Did Shakespeare and Cervantes meet in Valladolid?
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Publisher: US