Chiara de Bourbon-Montpensier, contessa de Montpensier

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Chiara de Bourbon-Montpensier (Gonzaga), contessa de Montpensier

Also Known As: "Claire de Gonzague"
Birthplace: Mantua, Mantua, Lombardy, Italy
Death: June 02, 1503 (38)
Auvergne, France
Place of Burial: Aigueperse, Auvergne, France
Immediate Family:

Daughter of Federico I Gonzaga, marquess of Mantua and Margaretha of Bavaria-Münich
Wife of Gilbert de Bourbon, comte de Montpensier
Mother of Louise de Bourbon, duchesse de Montpensier; Louis II de Bourbon, comte de Montpensier; Charles de Bourbon, III duc de Bourbon; François de Bourbon, duc de Châtellerault; Anne de Bourbon and 1 other
Sister of Francesco II Gonzaga, Marchese di Mantova; cardinale Sigismondo Gonzaga; Elisabetta Gonzaga; Maddalena Sforza and Giovanni Gonzaga, signore di Vescovado

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About Chiara de Bourbon-Montpensier, contessa de Montpensier

Clara Gonzaga

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Clara Gonzaga, Countess of Montpensier, Dauphine of Auvergne, Archduchess of Sessa (1 July 1464- 2 June 1503)[1], was an Italian noblewoman of the House of Gonzaga. She was the daughter of Federico I Gonzaga, Marquess of Mantua and the wife of Gilbert, Count of Montpensier. One of her six children was Charles III, Duke of Bourbon, who led the Imperial Army sent by Emperor Charles V against Pope Clement VII in what became the Sack of Rome, and where he was subsequently killed.


Clara was born in Mantua on 1 July 1464, the eldest daughter of Federico I Gonzaga, Marquess of Mantua and Margaret of Bavaria (1 January 1442- 14 October 1479). She had five siblings including Francesco II Gonzaga, Marquess of Mantua whose wife was the celebrated Isabella d'Este.

Clara's paternal grandparents were Ludovico II Gonzaga and Barbara of Brandenburg; and her maternal grandparents were Albert III, Duke of Bavaria and Anna of Brunswick-Grubenhagen-Einbeck, daughter of Duke Erich I of Brunswick-Salzderhelden and Elisabeth of Brunswick-Gottingen.

Marriage and children

On 24 February 1482, in Mantua, at the age of seventeen, Clara married Gilbert of Bourbon-Montpensier, who in 1486 succeeded his father as Count of Montpensier and Dauphin of Auvergne. He was also Viceroy of Naples (1495), and the Archduke of Sessa. He was the son of Louis I, Count of Montpensier and Jeanne, Dauphine of Auvergne. The marriage had been arranged by Clara's uncle Francesco Secco of Aragon who accompanied the newly-wed couple from Mantua to Milan on their lengthy journey to their home in France.

Gilbert and Clara had six children:

Louis II, Count of Montpensier (1483- 14 August 1501), died unmarried.

Charles III, Duke of Bourbon, Count of Montpensier, Dauphin of Auvergne, Constable of France (17 February 1490- 6 May 1527 Rome). He led the Imperial Army sent by Emperor Charles V against Pope Clement in what became the Sack of Rome, where he was killed. Married Suzanne, Duchess of Bourbon, daughter of Anne of France and Peter II, Duke of Bourbon. His children by Suzanne all died young.[2]

Francois, Duke of Chatellerault (1492- 13 September 1515 at the Battle of Marignano).

Louise de Bourbon, Duchess of Montpensier (1482- 5 July 1561). By dint of her three brothers having died childless, she became the heiress of the Montpensier county and the Auvergne dauphinate. She was invested as Duchess of Montpensier in February 1538.[3] In 1499, she married as her first husband Andre III de Chauvigny, Prince of Deols, Viscount de Brosse; on 21 March 1504, she married secondly, her cousin Louis of Bourbon, Prince of La Roche-sur-Yon, by whom she had three children.

Renee, Lady of Mercoeur (1494- 26 May 1539), married Antoine, Duke of Lorraine, by whom she had six children.

Anne (1495- 1510)

[edit]Widowhood and death

On 15 October 1496, in Pozzuoli, Italy, Clara's husband Gilbert (who had been the Viceroy of Naples since 1495), died of a fever, leaving her a widow at the age of thirty-two.

In 1499, Clara acted as mediator on behalf of her brother Francesco, who sought to form an alliance with King Louis XII of France in order to protect Mantua, which was then being threatened by both Cesare Borgia and the Doge of Venice.[4]

She maintained a correspondence with her sister-in-law, Isabella d'Este.[5]

Clara died on 2 June 1503. She was not quite thirty-nine years old. She was buried at the Chapelle Saint-Louis in the church of Aigueperse in Auvergne.[6]

Her many descendants included Louise Juliana of Nassau, King Louis XV of France, Marie Antoinette, Franz Josef I of Austria, and The House of Hanover who reigned in Great Britain from 1714 to 1901, and from which descends the current British Royal Family.

Clara Gonzaga appears as a character in Marguerite of Angouleme's book, the Heptameron.[7]


^ Charles Cawley, Medieval Lands, Dukes of Bourbon

^ Francis The First by Francis Hackett, p. 236

^ Charles Cawley, Medieval Lands, Dukes of Bourbon

^ The Bed and The Throne by George R. Marek, page 77

^ Marek, The Bed and The Throne, The Life of Isabella d'Este,p.82

^ Charles Cawley, Medieval Lands, Dukes of Bourbon

^ Francis Hackett Francis The First, p.63

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Chiara de Bourbon-Montpensier, contessa de Montpensier's Timeline

July 1, 1464
Mantua, Mantua, Lombardy, Italy
Montpensier, Puy-de-Dome, Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes, France
February 17, 1490
Montpensier, Puy-de-Dome, Auvergne, France
April 1496
June 2, 1503
Age 38
Auvergne, France
Aigueperse, Auvergne, France