was born as the eldest son of Jean de Ligne and Margaretha von der Mark,
Countess of Arenberg.
His mother was the sister and sole heiress of Robert III von der Marck-Arenberg.
The marriage contract of his parents stipulated that their heirs would bear the title,
name and arms of Arenberg.
On 5 March 1576, Emperor Maximilian II raised Charles' mother and her heirs
to the rank of Princely Counts, he also promoted them to the Council of Princes
of the Imperial Diet.
The Somerset House Conference - Charles was the 3rd. on the left
One of the godparents of Charles de Ligne was Emperor Charles V.
At the age of 10, Charles de Ligne was sent to the court of King Albert V of
Bavaria, where he stayed for 3 years.
In 1556 he began to travel around Europe on his 'Grand Tour'. He visited inter
alia: Paris, Lyon, Rome, Venice, Malta, Florence and Strasbourg. He also
studied law at the University of Bologna in Italy.
Shortly after the outbreak of the Dutch Revolt and the death of his father (1568)
he returned to the Netherlands.
In 1570 he joined Archduchess Anna of Austria and her two brothers, the
Archdukes Albert and Wenceslaus on their journey to the royal court of King
In Spain the King sent him on a mission to the court of France. Charles de
Ligne visited King Charles IX of France to salute the birth of
Marie Elisabeth of Valois.
Later he travelled to Rome and Loreto in the company of the widowed
Elisabeth of Austria. She went to the Imperial Court in Vienna (Austria).
Charles de Ligne stayed a while at the Imperial Court.
In August 1581, Alexander Farnese, governor of the Habsburg Netherlands,
appointed Charles of Arenberg, colonel of a regiment of the German Cavalry.
He did his military duty during the Cologne War (1582-1584), participated
in the Sieges of Antwerp (1585) and of Sluis (1587) and he joined Farnese's
campaign in France (1590).
On 27 April 1586, Charles of Arenberg was awarded the Order of the Golden
Fleece. Philip II appointed him as a member of the Council of State. He was
among the delegation that met the envoys of Queen Elisabeth I, to attempt
an end of the hostilities between Spain and England. Later Charles of Arenberg
became an ambassador.
Love and marriage
On 4 January 1587, Charles of Arenberg married Anne de Croÿ, daughter of
Philippe de Croÿ, 4th. Prince of Chimay, 3rd. Duke of Aarschot. The royal
couple had 12 children.
Noble families in Belgium
Most of the current high nobility of Belgium are descendants from him.
Charles de Ligne, 2nd. Prince of Arenberg died on 18 January 1616 after
an eventful, political life.
Source pictures: Wikipedia