Anthroponyms seta FANSHAW, Richard (1608-1666)

Ambassador to Lisbon, was born in June of 1608 in Ware Park. In November of 1623 he entered Jesus College in Cambridge and, in January of 1626, he began to attend Inner Temple, where he studied law for a year, before giving up. He travelled throughout Europe and improved his knowledge of languages. This led to his appointment, in 1635, as secretary of State to the British ambassador in Madrid, a post that he held for five years.

When the civil war broke out, he sided with the king, accompanying the monarch in his flight from London to Oxford. While there, he met Anne, whom he married in May of 1644. At about this time, he was designated minister of war by Charles I and became part of the royal Counsel. He worked with the royalists and undertook various expeditions to European capitals, until September of 1650, when he became a baronet. One year later, as a result of confrontations with parliamentarians, he was taken prisoner in Scotland. He was held captive in Whitehall for three months and was released on bail. At the end of 1659, he joined Charles II and aided in the preparation for the return of the king and the restoration of the British monarchy. He was elected to Parliament in 1661, where he became secretary of the Counsel of State and Master of Petitions.

From September to December of 1661, he became special ambassador to Lisbon, where he was to proceed with preparations for the concession of Bombay to England, expand right in India to include Bassein, and become familiar with the policies of Portugal in Brazil. However, Richard Fanshaw?s main mission was to show the picture of Charles II to Dona Catarina of Bragança, the future wife of the British monarch. The voyage of the Infanta put an end to his appointment as ambassador, and he returned to England, where he was named private counsellor to Ireland.

From 1662-63, however, he was to return to Lisbon as ambassador, with instructions related to the payment of the first million cruzados of the queen?s dowry and to the aid given by British troops in Portuguese territory. In addition, Fanshaw tried to help reach a peace agreement between Spain and Portugal. After his return from Lisbon, he was designated private counsellor.

At the beginning of 1664, he was appointed ambassador to Madrid, where his main objective was to negotiate an accord with the Spanish crown. He attained his objective at the end of 1665, without being able to include Portugal in the pact. Since the British crown was not informed of the terms of this agreement with Spain, he was replaced by the count of Sandwich in May of 1666. The following month, while still in Madrid, he fell victim to malaria and died.


PRESTAGE, Edgar, As Relações Diplomáticas de Portugal com a França, Inglaterra e Holanda de 1640 a 1668, Coimbra, Impr. da Universidade, 1928; STEPHEN, Leslie, LEE, Sidney (eds.), The Dictionary of National Biography, vol. VI, Oxford, University Press, 1998, pp. 1048-53.

Author: Pedro Nobre
Translated by: Rosa Simas

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