Cárdenas, Alonso de, 1592-1664 (Spanish noble, Knight of Santiago)
Alonso de Cardenas (1592-1664), knight of Santiago, was Philip IV's ambassor to the English court throughout the English Civil Wars. An adroit diplomat, he represented a government committed to support for Charles I while secretly maintaining, with the full knowledge of his master, contacts with various leaders on the parliamentary side. Clarendon says that he 'had a great malignity' towards Charles I, and that, after the king's execution in 1649, Cardenas 'bought as many pictures and other precious goods appertaining to the Crown, as, being sent by ship to the Corunnia in Spain, were carried from thence to Madrid upon eighteen mules.' Whatever his personal feelings, Cardenas was certainly held in high esteem by numerous prominent figures in the Rump Parliament, but events over the next six years eroded his influence. Cromwell's alliance with France in 1655, and his Naval operations in the West Indies, destroyed any lingering hopes of close alliance between England and Spain. After leaving England in 1656, Cardenas continued to intrigue with representatives of all English factions until the Restoration of Charles II, four years later, and his knowledge of English affairs continued to be prized by the courts at Madrid and Brussels.