The nobility of his four surnames was qualified by the entering, in the Order of Santiago, of Luis de Godoy y Alvarez de Faria, de los Ríos y Sánchez-Zarzosa, Lieutenant-General (Teniente-General) of the Royal Armies (1787), and Diego de Godoy y Alvarez de Faria, de los Ríos y Sánchez-Zarzosa, 1st Duque de Almodóvar del Campo (Badajoz – Rome), second husband of Josefa Joaquina de Olazábal y Murguía (Santa María del Juncal, Irún, baptized July 18, 1761 – Irún, October 12, 1799), 25th Noble Dame of the Royal Order of Queen María Luisa on April 22, 1792, in the Order of Calatrava (1794), both brothers of Manuel Francisco Domingo. His father José entered, with prooves, in the Order of Charles III in 1794, and two of his mother's brothers, José and Juan Manuel Alvarez de Faria y Sánchez, Pimienta y Zarzosa, dressed the Habit of the Order of Santiago in 1792, and the first at the Cross of Charles III in 1801. For its great nobility had this family, always, Knights, Commanders and even Masters at the Order of Santiago.
The House of de Godoy is one of the noblest and most illustrious of the Spanish Extremadura and proceeds from the House of the same name, in Galicia, to which belonged Pedro Ruíz de Godoy, son of Rodrigo Alfonso. This Knight married to Teresa, daughter of Juan Muñiz, and through her their descendants surnamed themselves Muñiz de Godoy. Don Pedro Muñiz de Godoy was one of the most valliant Knights of his time and the on who distinguished the most in the reign of King Henry II of Castile, of whom he was a private, exercising the high charges of Adelantado-Mayor and Capitán-General of the Frontier of Portugal; he died in 1387 at the Battle of Valverde, having been Master of the Order of Calatrava, and also of the one of Santiago. His descendants connected to the most illustrious families Extremeñas, exercising, in the lands where they inhabited, the highest honorific and nobiliarchic posts, being a testemony of their splendor their palaces and sepulchers' stones of arms, which still remain today.
Godoy quickly became a favourite of Charles IV and of his wife Queen Maria Louisa. On December 30, 1788 he was given the office of "Cadete supernumerario" in the royal palace, and in May 1789 he was promoted to the rank of colonel. In November 1789 he was named a knight of the Order of Santiago, and in August 1790 advanced to the rank of commander in the same order. In 1791 he was Adjutant-General (Ajudante-General) of the Body Guards, in February he was named Field-Marshall (Mariscal de Campo), in March Gentleman of the Chamber (Gentilhombre de la Cámara), and in July Lieutenant-General (Teniente-General) and a Knight Grand Cross of the Order of Charles III since 1791.
Godoy was made Duke of Alcúdia, with grandeeship, in 1792 and a Knight of the Order of the Golden Fleece in the following year. The following year he was made Captain General and Duke of Sueca, Marquis of Alvarez, and Lord of Soto de Roma. He was also made the 15th Minister for Foreign Affairs of Spain on November 15, 1792.
Godoy continued the neutral policy of Spain towards the French Republic. In 1793 he failed to save King Louis XVI from the guillotine. Spain's protest against Louis' execution was met by a declaration of war by the French Republic. The French armies advanced far into Spain. In July 1795 Godoy negotiated the Peace of Basel with France, by which Spain's frontier was restored, but its portion of the island of Hispaniola was ceded to the French. Although Godoy was widely criticized for the treaty, he received after its conclusion the title Prince of the Peace (Principe de la Paz) and the grandeeship of Spain. In August 1796 Godoy negotiated and signed the Second Treaty of San Ildefonso with France which required that Spain declare war on Great Britain. This placed Portugal in a hard position. Spain turned from being an ally to being an enemy with their alliance with France as Portugal was allied to Great Britain.
In 1797 Godoy had Charles IV grant the titles of 1st Condesa de Castillo Fiel with a Coat of Arms of de Tudó and 1st Vizcondesa de Rocafuerte (Letters of July 14, 1807) to Godoy's mistress Josefa Petra Francisca de Paula (Pepita) de Tudó y Cathalán, Alemany y Luecia, born in Cádiz on May 19, 1779, Dame of Her Royal Majesty the Queen and 385th Noble Dame of the Royal Order of Queen María Luisa, daughter of Antonio de Tudó y Alemany, Brigadier of the Royal Spanish Armies, Governor of the Royal Place of Buen Retiro, and wife Catalina Cathalán y Luecia. Some sources speak of a secret marriage between Godoy and Pepita supposedly celebrated June 22, 1797 in the Prado. Pepita had lived in Godoy's household for several years with her mother and two sisters.
In 1797 Queen Maria Luisa arranged a marriage for Godoy which she hoped would draw him away from his mistress, and at the same time act as a cover for her own relationship with Godoy. Dona María Teresa Carolina de Borbón y Vallabriga, Farnesio y Rozas, born at Velada on March 6, 1779 (some say January 26, 1780), Charles IV's cousin and the daughter of his exiled and disgraced uncle Luis de Borbón y Farnesio, 13th Count of Chinchón, was chosen to be Godoy's wife. Although she had not met Godoy, Maria Teresa acquiesced in the marriage which ensured the restoration of her family's fortunes. They married on September 11 or October 2 in the Escorial, Madrid. Godoy received a huge financial settlement as part of the marriage agreement, but he continued to have his mistress live in the same house as his wife.
Godoy was removed from the office of Prime-Minister in 1797, elevated to the position of Captain-General (Capitán-General). His position had been compromised by ongoing relationship struggles both with the French Republic and with Queen Maria Louisa and he ceased to be Minister for Foreign Affairs on March 30, 1798. In October 1800 Godoy's wife Maria Teresa, previously made 1st Marquesa de Boadilla del Monte (Letter of August 4, 1799), bore a daughter Carlota Luisa Manuela, an only daughter who later inherited her mother's titles and / or representations and all of her father's Spanish and Portuguese titles and / or representations; she was baptised at the Escorial with Charles IV and Maria Louisa standing as godparents. In the same day, along with her daughter and sister, she was also made the 96th Noble Dame of the Royal Order of Queen María Luisa, on October 10, 1800.
Godoy was reappointed Prime-Minister in 1801. With support from France he declared war on Portugal. With the mentioned post of Captain-General he lead the army which in 1801 invaded Portugal, in the desastrous campaign to which the Spanish authors call War of the Oranges (Guerra de las Naranjas or Guerra das Laranjas). His army left from Badajoz on May 20. A writ of rendition he made to Elvas was energetically repealed by the Governor, Dom Francisco José Xavier de Noronha e Meneses of the Marqueses de Marialva Condes de Cantanhede, who maintained the fortified place until the end of the campaign. Godoy didn't had a siege put to it, but Olivença and Juromenha surrendered without resistance, and the same way fell Arronches, Portalegre, Castelo de Vide, Barbacena and Ouguela. Campo Maior capitulated, after a siege of seventeen days, in the night of June 6 to 7, when had already been signed the Peace of Badajoz (June 6, 1801). Portugal went without Olivença.
In 1802 he negotiated the Treaty of Amiens with Great Britain; Spain ceded island of Trinidad to Britain but recovered Minorca. The same year Napoleon wrote to King Charles IV telling him that Godoy was the de facto King of Spain and that he was also Maria Louisa's lover. The letter was intercepted by Godoy's staff, but so safe did Godoy feel in his position that he allowed the letter to be delivered to Charles.
Elevated to the dignity of Generalissimo of the Army of Land and Sea of Spain (1804), it was granted him a private Body of Guard. Meanwhile, his wife also became Heir to her brother's House with his entry to the Clergy, and thus 15th Condesa de Chinchón Grandee of Spain First Class with a Coat of Arms of de Bourbon in 1803 (Letter of March 7, 1804) and 1st Duquesa de Sueca Grandee of Spain First Class (Letter of March 7, 1804).
In 1805 the British attacked some Spanish ships sailing from Peru to Spain, causing Godoy to declare war again on Britain. On October 21 the French and Spanish fleets suffered a humiliating defeat at the Battle of Trafalgar, ending Spain's last hopes to be a world power.
In 1805 he and his mistress bore a son Manuel, and in 1807 another son Luis. According to some genealogies they had an only son, who inherited his mother's titles and / or representations and solely his father's Italian title, the one which could only be used through male line, named Manuel Luis.
In 1807 he received the title of Most Serene Highness. But his ambition knew no limits, for in that very year of 1807 Godoy negotiated the shameful Treaty of Fontainebleau with Napoleon, the which eliminated Portugal of the list of Nations and divided the country. To Godoy incumbed the "Principality of the Algarves", with Alentejo and Algarve, under the protectorate of the King of Spain. It was this treaty which preluded the First French Invasion of Portugal. Article 1 of the treaty promised the southern half of Portugal to Godoy as "King of the Algarve"; this would have ensured Godoy's future which was already uncertain in Spain where he was hated by the heir to the throne, the future Ferdinand VII.
But the promises of the Treaty of Fontainebleau were empty ones. In December French troops invaded Spain. When Spanish naval power crumbled at Trafalgar and the revolt against the French spread through Spain and Portugal, in March 1808 Godoy, Charles IV, Maria Louisa, and the rest of the court abandoned the Escorial and fled to Aranjuez with the intention of escaping to Mexico and had to flee to Rome, while in Spain were confiscated to him all his fabulous riches.
Supporters of Ferdinand (who had for some time been considering a coup d'etat against his father) spread the story that Godoy had sold out Spain to Napoleon. On March 18 a popular uprising known as the Mutiny of Aranjuez took place. A mob stormed Godoy's residence where at first they only found his mistress Pepita. Two days later Godoy was found; Charles had Godoy's property confiscated and then imprisoned him in the castle of Villaviciosa de Odón, a property owned by his wife Maria Teresa. To end the uprising and to save Godoy's life, Charles IV abdicated in favour of his son Ferdinand VII. On March 21 the French occupied Aranjuez; Napoleon summoned Godoy to Bayonne where he witnessed Charles IV's act of abdication in favour of Napoleon.
In April 1814 Ferdinand VII was restored as King of Spain (he had lived for six years in France). He refused to allow his parents or Godoy to return to Spain, and even had Pope Pius VII exile Godoy and his mistress to Pesaro. During the Hundred Days, Charles IV and Maria Louisa fled from the French to Verona where they were joined by Godoy and Pepita. Godoy petitioned the Emperor Franz I of Austria for asylum in Vienna, but Ferdinand forbade it.
After the final defeat of Napoleon, Charles IV, Maria Louisa and Pepita returned to Rome, but the pope required that Godoy continue to live at Pesaro. In September 1815 Charles and Maria Louisa asked the pope to declare null the marriage between Godoy and Maria Teresa. Godoy was allowed to return to Rome, but in order to preserve appearances Pepita and her sons moved to Genoa. Ferdinand bribed the police to expel Pepita and her family from Genoa; the same thing happened in Livorno. Finally she found a home in Pisa.
In March 1818 Godoy's younger son Luis died. In October he himself became ill with malaria; he received the last rites of the Church, but recovered. At the end of the year Maria Louisa caught pneumonia; Charles IV was absent in Naples at the time, but Godoy stayed by her bedside until she died, on January 2, 1819. Five days later Charles IV wrote to Godoy asking him to vacate the Palazzo Barberini in Rome, but two weeks later Charles himself died in Naples.
Ferdinand VII continued to forbid Godoy to return to Spain and ensured that he did not receive any state pension. He also did not allow Godoy's daughter Carlota to marry into a sovereign house, but did agree to her marriage in 1821 to Don Camillo Ruspoli, the younger son of a Roman princely family.
On November 24, 1828 Godoy's wife Maria Teresa died at Paris. The following year or still in December of that year Godoy married his long-time mistress Pepita. The Pope made him 1st Principe di Paserano, but Godoy went to live in Paris in indigency. They moved to Paris in 1832 where they lived in somewhat straitened circumstances. Louis Philippe gave him a pension.
In 1836 and 1839 Godoy published his famous memoirs (Memórias del Príncipe de la Paz) in Paris; Charles IV had asked that he not do this until after the death of his son Ferdinand VII (who had died in 1833). Pepita returned to Spain in hopes of reclaiming the family properties. She died in Madrid on September 20, 1869.
In 1844 he was authorized to come back to his Motherland. In 1847 the Spanish government returned to Godoy part of his confiscated property and restored his titles. He died at Paris in 1851. His body was buried first in the Church of Saint-Roch, but the following year was transferred to the Pere Lachaise Cemetery where it rests today.
The painting La maja desnuda by Francisco de Goya, which depicts a fully nude reclining woman, was once in Godoy's personal collection. It is believed by many to portray Cayetana, Duchess of Alba, who was Godoy's mistress.
He was made 1st Conde de Évora Monte (Village of the Province of Alentejo, former Council of Vimieiro, Administrative District of Évora) in Portugal, with Honours of Relative and the Prerrogative, unique in that country, of the title being de Juro e Herdade, with a perpetual dispensation from the Mental Law (Letter of Queen Maria I of Portugal through John, Prince Regent of October 2, 1797), and Grand Cross of the Real Ordem dos Cavaleiros de Nosso Senhor Jesus Cristo. In Italy he was 1st Principe de Godoy di Bassano and Grand Cross of the Order of St. January and St. Fernando of Naples. And, in France, Grand Sash (Grand Cordon) of the Legion of Honour.