Renée de Valois-Orléans, duchesse de Chartres

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Renée de Valois-Orléans, duchesse de Chartres

French: Renèe d`Este (de Valois-Orleans), Duchesse de Orleans
Also Known As: "Dsse de Chartres & /Ferrara/"
Birthplace: Château de Blois, Blois, Touraine, Loir-et-Cher, France, Blois, Loir-et-Cher, Centre, France
Death: June 12, 1575 (64)
Château de Montargis, Montargis, Loiret, Centre, France
Place of Burial: Montargis, Loiret, Centre, France
Immediate Family:

Daughter of Louis de Valois, XII, King of France and Anne de Bretagne, reine de France
Wife of Ercole II d'Este, Duca di Ferrara
Mother of Anna d'Este, duchesse de Guise; Alfonso II d'Este, Duca di Ferrara; Lucrezia d'Este; Luigi Este and Eleanore Este
Sister of Claude de Valois-Orléans, reine de France; Fils de Valois-Orléans, (mort jeune) and Fils de Valois-Orléans, (mort jeune)
Half sister of Charles Orland de Valois, died young; Charles de Valois, died in infancy; François de Valois and Anne de Valois, (mort jeune)

Occupation: Duchesse de Ferrare, Duchess Consort of Ferrara, Modena & Reggio
Managed by: Seth Wheatley, III
Last Updated:

About Renée de Valois-Orléans, duchesse de Chartres

Renée de France, Duchess of Ferrera, Modena and Reggio (25 October 1510 – 12 June 1574) was the younger daughter of Louis XII of France and Anne, Duchess of Brittany. Her elder sister was Queen Claude of France. She was the Duchess of Ferrara due to her marriage to Ercole II d'Este, grandson of Pope Alexander VI.

Renée of France

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Renée de France

Duchess of Ferrara, Modena and Reggio

Portrait of Princess Renée by Jean Clouet

Spouse Ercole II d'Este


Anna d'Este

Alfonso II of Ferrara

Lucrezia Maria d'Este

Eleonore d'Este

Luigi d'Este

Father Louis XII of France

Mother Anne of Brittany

Born 25 October 1510(1510-10-25)

Château de Blois, Blois, France

Died 12 June 1574 (aged 63)

Montargis, France

Renée de France[1] (25 October 1510 – 12 June 1574[2]) was the younger daughter of Louis XII of France and Anne, Duchess of Brittany. Her elder sister was Queen Claude of France. She was the Duchess of Ferrara due to her marriage to Ercole II d'Este, grandson of Pope Alexander VI.



   * 1 Background
   * 2 Duchess of Ferrara
   * 3 Heresy trial
   * 4 Return to France
   * 5 Children
   * 6 Publications
   * 7 References

[edit] Background

Renée was born on 25 October 1510 at the Château de Blois, Blois, Touraine and was the second daughter of Louis XII, King of France and Anne, Duchess of Brittany. Her mother, who had always fought fiercely to keep Brittany independent of the French crown, tried to will the duchy to Renée, but her father disagreed, so the Duchy passed to her elder sister, Claude.

Her early education was undertaken by her governess, Michelle de Saubonne, Madame de Soubise. Saubonne was a partisan of Anne of Brittany and opposed to Anne's enemy, Louise of Savoy; so, after the death of Renee's parents, Louise and her son, Francis I, had Saubonne sacked. Renee never forgot this, and when she married, she took Saubonne with her.[3]

In return for renouncing her claims to the duchy of Brittany, Renée was granted the duchy of Chartres by Francis I, King of France. As a child, one of her companions was the young Anne Boleyn, whom Renée always remembered with kindness and affection.[4]

[edit] Duchess of Ferrara

She was married in April 1528 to Ercole II, Duke of Ferrara, eldest son of Alfonso I d'Este and Lucrezia Borgia. Renée received from Francis I an ample dowry and annuity. Thus the court that she assembled about her in Ferrara corresponded to the tradition which the cultivation of science and art implicitly required, including scholars like Bernardo Tasso and Fulvio Pellegrini. Her first child, Anna, born in 1531, was followed by Alfonso, in 1533; Lucrezia, 1535; after these, Eleonora and Luigi; whose education she carefully directed.

On 31 October 1534, her father-in-law died and Ercole succeeded to the throne. Hardly had he rendered his oath of allegiance to Pope Paul III when he turned against the French at his own court. Both their number and influence displeased him; and, besides, he found them too expensive; so he by direct or indirect means secured their dismissal, including the poet Clément Marot. And while the Curia was urging the duke to put away the French that were suspected of heresy, there came to Ferrara no less a heretic than John Calvin, whose journey to Italy must have fallen in March and April 1536. Calvin passed several weeks at the court of Renée, though the persecution had already begun, and about the same time a chorister by the name of Jehannet, also one Cornillan, of the attendants of the duchess, together with a cleric of Tournay, Bouchefort, were taken prisoners and tried. In a "man of small stature," whom the Inquisition likewise seized as under suspicion, although he made his escape, is to be recognized not Calvin, but Clément Marot.

French Monarchy-

Capetian Dynasty, House of Valois

(Valois-Orléans branch)

Arms of the Kingdom of France (Moderne).svg

Louis XII


  Claude of France         
  Renée of France         

[edit] Heresy trial

Renée was not only in correspondence with a very large number of Protestants abroad, with intellectual sympathizers like Vergerio, Camillo Renato, Giulio di Milano, and Francis Dryander, but also that on two or three occasions, about 1550 or later, she partook of the Eucharist in the Protestant manner together with her daughters and fellow believers. Meanwhile, notwithstanding its external splendor, her life had grown sad. The last of her French guests, the daughter and son-in-law of Madame de Soubise of Pons, had been obliged, in 1543, by the constraint imposed by the duke, to leave the court. The drift of the Counter-Reformation, which had been operative in Rome since 1542, led to the introduction of a special court of the Inquisition at Ferrara, in 1545, through which, in 1550 and 1551, death sentences were decreed against Protestant sympathizers (Fannio of Faenza and Giorgio of Sicily), and executed by the secular arm.

Finally Duke Ercole lodged accusation against Renée before her nephew King Henry II of France, and through the Inquisitor Oriz, whom the king charged with this errand, Renée was arrested as a heretic, and declared forfeit of all possessions unless she recanted. She thereupon yielded, made confession on 23 September 1554, and once again received communion at mass. "How seldom is there an example of steadfastness among aristocrats," wrote Calvin to Farel under date of 2 February 1555.

Renée de France by François Clouet

[edit] Return to France

Renée's longing to return home was not satisfied until a year following the death of her husband on 3 October 1559. In France she found her eldest daughter's husband, Francis, Duke of Guise, at the head of the Roman Catholic party. His power, indeed, was broken by the death of his nephew Francis II, in December, 1560, so that Renée became enabled not only to provide Protestant worship at her estate, Morntargis, engaging a capable preacher by application to Calvin, but also generally to minister as benefactress of the surrounding Protestants. In fact, she made her castle a refuge for them, when her son-in-law once again lighted the torch of war.

This time her conduct won Calvin's praise (10 May 1563), and she is one of the frequently recurring figures in his correspondence of that period; he repeatedly shows recognition of her intervention in behalf of the Evangelical cause; and one of his last writings in the French tongue, despatched from his deathbed (4 April 1564), is addressed to her. While Renée continued unmolested in the second religious war (1567), in the third (1568–70) her castle was no longer respected as an asylum for her fellow believers. On the other hand, she succeeded in rescuing a number of them from the massacre of Saint Bartholomew's night, when she happened to be in Paris. They left her personally undisturbed at that time; though Catherine de' Medici still sought to move her to retract, demands which she ignored.

[edit] Children

With Ercole II she had five children:

1. Anna d'Este

   * 16 November, 1531 – 1607
   * First husband: Francis, Duke of Guise
   * Second husband: Jacques de Savoie, 2nd Duc de Nemours

2. Alfonso II, Duke of Ferrara

   * 22 November, 1533 – 1597

3. Lucrezia Maria d'Este

   * 16 December, 1535 – 1598
   * married Francesco Maria II della Rovere, Duke of Urbino.

4. Eleonore d'Este

   * 1537-1581

5. Luigi d'Este

   * 21 December, 1538 – 1586
   * Bishop of Ferrara and Archbishop of Auch

Renee was widowed in 1559. As a result of being on bad terms with her son, Alfonso II, Duke of Ferrara, she returned to France in 1560 and settled in Montargis, where she then died on 12 June 1574.

[edit] Publications

   * Millicent Fawcett, Five Famous French Women (1906)
   * William Gilbert, The Inquisitor, or The Struggle in Ferrara (1869). The life of Renée of France, Duchess of Ferrara, set in 1554. See: Plumb, Philip W., Dr William Gilbert: like father, like son? W. S. Gilbert Society Journal, Jones, Brian ed., vol. 1; issue 10 (Spring 1999), pp. 297-98. Republished in 1992[1]

[edit] References

  1. ^ d'Orléans, Henri (duc d'Aumale), History of the Princes de Condé in the XVIth and XVIIth Centuries, Vol.1, (Richard Bentley and Son:London, 1872), 74-75.
  2. ^ Date erroneous: Montargis, 1575, before Sunday 19th of June, see a letter from King Henri III to Madame de Nemours
  3. ^ "Queens Mate" by Pauline Matarasso
  4. ^ See R.M. Warnicke's The Rise and Fall of Anne Boleyn: Family politics at the court of Henry VIII, (Cambridge University Press, 1989) for a conversation in the 1560s between Renée and the English diplomat, Sir Nicholas Throckmorton, in which Renée spoke affectionately about the late Anne Boleyn.
   * This article includes content derived from the Schaff-Herzog Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge, 1914, which is in the public domain.

This page was last modified on 28 July 2010 at 16:55.

Portrait of Renee de Valois by Francois Clouet, 1524

Renée de Valois F, #103184, b. 1510, d. 1575

Renée de Valois|b. 1510\nd. 1575|p10319.htm#i103184|Louis XII, Roi de France|b. 27 Jun 1462\nd. 1 Jan 1515|p10525.htm#i105242|Anne de Dreux, Duchesse de Bretagne|b. 25 Jan 1476\nd. 9 Jan 1514|p10319.htm#i103187|Charles d'Orléans, Duc d'Orléans|b. 1394\nd. 4 Jan 1465|p10495.htm#i104948|Maria von Kleve|b. 19 Sep 1426\nd. 23 Aug 1487|p10319.htm#i103185|François I. de Dreux, Duc de Bretagne|b. 23 Jun 1435\nd. 9 Sep 1488|p10826.htm#i108256|Marguerite de Foix|b. 1449\nd. 1486|p40321.htm#i403209|

Last Edited=11 Jun 2010 Consanguinity Index=0.72%

Renee de Valois by Francois Clouet, 1524 1 Renée de Valois was born in 1510.2 She was the daughter of Louis XII, Roi de France and Anne de Dreux, Duchesse de Bretagne.2 She married Ercole II d'Este, Duca di Ferrara, son of Alfonso I d'Este, Duca di Ferrara and Lucrezia Borgia, in 1528.2 She died in 1575.2 Children of Renée de Valois and Ercole II d'Este, Duca di Ferrara 1.Alfonso II d'Este, Duca di Ferrara3 d. 1597 2.Anna d'Este+3 b. 1531, d. 1607 Citations 1.[S3409] Caroline Maubois, "re: Penancoet Family," e-mail message to Darryl Roger Lundy, 2 December 2008. Hereinafter cited as "re: Penancoet Family." 2.[S16] Jirí Louda and Michael MacLagan, Lines of Succession: Heraldry of the Royal Families of Europe, 2nd edition (London, U.K.: Little, Brown and Company, 1999), table 67. Hereinafter cited as Lines of Succession. 3.[S102] Roglo Geneweb Website, online <>. Hereinafter cited as Roglo Geneweb Website.

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Renée de Valois-Orléans, duchesse de Chartres's Timeline

October 25, 1510
Blois, Loir-et-Cher, Centre, France
November 16, 1531
Age 21
Ferrara, Emilia-Romagna, Italy
November 22, 1533
Age 23
Ferrara, Ferrara
December 16, 1535
Age 25
Age 27
June 12, 1575
Age 64
Montargis, Loiret, Centre, France
Montargis, Loiret, Centre, France