The queen, the woman and the middle class. The symbolic failure of Isabel II of Spain.

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    • Abstract:
      In this article, the author discusses the close relationship that existed in mid-19th-century Spain between the middle-class reconstruction of values associated with the behavior and nature of women and the mechanisms of symbolic legitimation of the new constitutional monarchy brought about by the Liberal revolution of the 1830s. At the time when the middle classes attained power and aspired to set up a constitutional monarchy, they also sought to appropriate that monarchy from an ideological and symbolic viewpoint. The author focuses on the way in which the publicity given to the scandalous private life of Isabel II formed part of a debate on gender roles in general, which in turn affected the political expectations of the Spanish middle classes with regard to the monarchy and its symbolic function in the new middle-class society. The contradictory nature of the political ideal was not shown more clearly in any other aspect than in the way in which Isabel II was conceived as queen and woman at a time when the relationship between the two roles was undergoing significant changes.