[San Lorenzo el Real de Escorial.]
Royal monastery and palace, c. 50 km north-west of Madrid, Spain.
Emperor Charles V (reg 1516–56) left a final codicil in his will for the establishment of a religious foundation in which he was to be buried beside his wife, Isabella of Portugal (1503–39). His son, Philip II (see Habsburg, House of family, §II, (2)), undertook the task after his return from Flanders in 1559 and appointed Toledo, Juan Bautista de as the royal architect. In 1560 a site was chosen in a farming area at the foot of the Guadarrama Mountains, 2 km from the town of El Escorial, and entrusted to the Hieronymite Order in the following year. The new monastery, which received its foundation charter in 1567, was named S Lorenzo el Real del Escorial, after St Lawrence of Rome, a martyr of supposed Hispanic origin, and was intended to serve as the royal pantheon. Tradition, however, also holds that it was dedicated to S Lorenzo de la Victoria, in fulfilment of a vow made by Philip II to atone for the destruction of a church dedicated to St Lawrence at the Battle of San Quintín (...