About Marguerite de Valois, reine de France et de Navarre
F, #105250, b. 14 May 1553, d. 27 March 1615
Marguerite d'Angoulême was born on 14 May 1553 at Saint-Germain-en-Laye, Île-de-France, France. (3)
She was the daughter of Henri II, Roi de France and Catherine de Medici. (3)
She married Henri IV, Roi de France, son of Antoine, Rey de Navarre and Jeanne III, Reina de Navarre, on 18 August 1572 at Notre Dame Cathedral, Paris, France. (4)
She died on 27 March 1615 at age 61 at Paris, France, without issue. (3) She was buried at Saint-Denis, Île-de-France, France. (3)
Marguerite d'Angoulême was also known as Marguerite de Valois. As a result of her marriage, Marguerite d'Angoulême was styled as Reine Marguerite de Navarre. As a result of her marriage, Marguerite d'Angoulême was styled as Duchesse de Valois. (4) As a result of her marriage, Marguerite d'Angoulême was styled as Reine Margot de France on 2 August 1589. (3) Her marriage to Henri IV, Roi de France was annulled on 17 December 1599. (4)
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Marguerite de Valois
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Marguerite de Valois   (May 14, 1553 – May 27, 1615), "Queen Margot" (La reine Margot) was Queen of France and Navarre.
Born Marguerite de Valois at the Royal Château de Saint-Germain-en-Laye and nicknamed Margot by her brothers, she was the daughter of Henry II and Catherine de' Medici. Three of her brothers became kings of France: Francis II, Charles IX and Henry III. Her sister, Elisabeth of Valois, became the third wife of King Philip II of Spain.
Although Marguerite loved Henry of Guise, her ambitious mother would never allow the House of Guise any chance of controlling France. Instead, she offered to marry Marguerite to Philip II's son Carlos, Prince of Asturias, but that did not work out. Serious negotiations for Marguerite's marriage to king Sebastian of Portugal were also considered but abandoned.
Marguerite was made to marry Henry of Bourbon, the son of Jeanne d'Albret, the Protestant Queen of Navarre, in a marriage that was designed to reunite family ties and create harmony between Catholics and Huguenots. Although Henry's mother, Jeanne d'Albret, Queen of Navarre, opposed the marriage, many of her nobles supported it, and the marriage was arranged. Jeanne d'Albret died before the marriage was concluded.
On August 18, 1572, the 19 year old Marguerite married Henry de Bourbon, who had become King of Navarre on the death of his mother. The groom, a Huguenot, remained outside the church for much of the wedding. It was reported that during the ceremony, the bride and groom stared straight ahead, never looking at each other. When the Cardinal asked Marguerite if she willingly took Henry to be her husband, she did not answer; so King Charles IX placed a hand on his sister's head, compelling her to nod in agreement. Henry IV kept mistresses throughout their marriage, most notably Gabrielle d'Estrées from 1591 to 1599, who bore him four children.
Just six days after the wedding, on Saint Bartholomew's Day, a massacre of Huguenots was conducted by Parisian mobs, probably orchestrated by Catherine de' Medici. It is supposed that Catherine used the marriage as nothing but bait to lure the Protestants into her trap, though the record is unclear.
After the massacre
After more than three years of confinement at court, Henry (who had saved his life by pretending to convert to Catholicism) escaped Paris in 1576, leaving his wife behind. Under the control of her brother, King Henry III, Queen Marguerite became a virtual prisoner in her own home. Finally granted permission to return to her husband in Navarre, for the next three and a half years Queen Marguerite and her husband lived a scandalous life in Pau. Both openly kept other lovers, and they quarrelled frequently.
Coup at Agen
After an illness in 1582, Queen Marguerite returned to her brother's court in France. But Henry III was soon scandalized by her reputation and forced her to leave the court. After long negotiations, she was allowed to return to her husband's court in Navarre, but she received an icy reception. Determined to overcome her difficulties, Queen Marguerite masterminded a coup d'état and seized power over Agen, one of her appanages. After several months of fortifying the city, the citizens of Agen revolted and Queen Marguerite fled to the castle of Carlat. In 1586, she was imprisoned by her brother Henry III in the castle of Usson, in Auvergne, where she spent eighteen years.
In 1589, her husband succeeded to the French throne as Henry IV. Negotiations to dissolve the marriage were entered in 1592 and concluded in 1599 with an agreement that allowed her to maintain the title of queen. She settled her household on the Left Bank, in the Hostel de la Reyne Margueritte that is illustrated in Mérian's map of Paris, 1615 (illustration); the hôtel was built for her to designs by Jean Bullant in 1609. It was rebuilt in 1640 as the Hôtel Rochefoucauld.
During this time Queen Marguerite wrote her memoirs, consisting of a succession of stories relating to the affairs of her brothers Charles IX and Henry III with her former husband Henry IV. The memoirs were published in 1658, 43 years after her death, and scandalized the population. The homely and strong-minded Marguerite was promiscuous throughout her life, and took many lovers both during her marriage, and after divorcing. Most notable were Joseph Boniface de La Môle, Jacques de Harlay, Seigneur de Chanvallon and Louis de Bussy d'Amboise.
In the end, her beauty fading, Queen Marguerite lived in near poverty hounded by creditors to the point of selling all of her jewels. Reconciled to her former husband and his second wife, Marie de' Medici, Queen Marguerite returned to Paris and established herself as a mentor of the arts and benefactress of the poor. She often helped plan events at court and nurtured Henry IV and Marie's children. Marguerite died in Paris on May 27, 1615, and is buried in the Chapel of the Valois.