Margaret of Valois
Margaret of Valois Margaret of Valois Queen consort of France and of Navarre Tenure 1589–1599 Spouse Henry IV of France House House of Bourbon
House of Valois
Father Henry II of France Mother Catherine de' Medici Born 14 May 1553
Château de Saint-Germain-en-Laye
Died 27 March 1615(aged 61)
Hostel de la Reyne Margueritte, Paris
Burial Basilica of St Denis
Margaret of Valois (French: Marguerite de France, Marguerite de Valois, 14 May 1553 – 27 March 1615) was Queen of France and of Navarre during the late sixteenth century. A royal princess of France by birth, she ultimately became the only surviving member of the Valois Dynasty.
She was the daughter of King Henry II of France and Catherine de' Medici and the sister of Kings Francis II, Charles IX and Henry III and of Queen Elizabeth of Spain. She was queen twice for she had married King Henry III of Navarre who finally became King Henri IV of France.
Margaret, among other political manipulations, was subjected to an arranged marriage and being held prisoner (albeit at a castle) for many years. However, her life was anything but passive.
Aside from being twice a queen—first of Navarre (1572), then of France (1589), Margaret was famous for her beauty and sense of style (she was one of the most fashionable women of her time, influencing most of Europe's Royal Courts with her clothing). She was also a gifted poet and writer, notable for both her own scandalous behavior and for revealing that of others. Margaret took many lovers both during her marriage and after her annulment. The most well-known were Joseph Boniface de La Môle, Jacques de Harlay, Seigneur de Champvallon and Louis de Bussy d'Amboise. When imprisoned by her brother Henry III for eighteen years, she took advantage of the time to write her memoirs, which included a succession of stories relating to the disputes of her brothers Charles IX and Henry III with her husband Henry IV. The memoirs were published posthumously in 1628 and scandalised the population.
Her life has inspired a variety of stories over the centuries, beginning with Shakespeare's early comedy Love's Labour's Lost written during her lifetime, to Alexandre Dumas, père's 1845 novel La Reine Margot; to a 1994 movie La Reine Margot.
Margaret was born Marguerite de Valois on May 14, 1553, at the royal Château de Saint-Germain-en-Laye, the sixth child and third daughter of Henry II and Catherine de' Medici. Three of her brothers would become kings of France: Francis II, Charles IX and Henry III. Her sister, Elisabeth of Valois, would become the third wife of King Philip II of Spain.
Although Margaret is said to have loved Henry of Guise, her mother would never allow the House of Guise any chance of controlling France. Instead, she offered to marry Margaret to Philip II's son Carlos, Prince of Asturias, but the marriage never occurred. Serious negotiations for Margaret's marriage to King Sebastian of Portugal were also considered but abandoned.
Ultimately Margaret was forced to marry King Henry III of Navarre, who ultimately succeeded to her brothers as Henry IV of France (from this marriage, she was also the Duchess of Vendôme), the son of the Protestant queen Jeanne III of Navarre and of the First Prince of the Blood Antoine de Bourbon, in a union that was designed to reunite family ties (the Bourbons were part of the French Royal family and the closest relatives to the reigning Valois branch) and create harmony between Catholics and the Protestant Huguenots. Henry's mother opposed the marriage, but many of her nobles supported it, so the match was made.
However, Jeanne died under suspicious circumstances before the marriage could take place; some suspected that a pair of gloves sent to Jeanne as a wedding gift from Margaret's mother, Catherine de' Medici had been poisoned. The marriage of the 19-year-old Margaret to Henry, who had become King of Navarre upon the death of his mother, took place on 18 August 1572 at Notre Dame cathedral in Paris. The groom, a Huguenot, had to remain outside the cathedral during the religious ceremony.
Just six days after the wedding, on Saint Bartholomew's Day, Roman Catholic factions instigated a targeted group of assassinations, followed by a wave of mob violence, both directed against the Huguenots (French Calvinist Protestants). Traditionally believed to have been instigated by Catherine de' Medici, the marriage was an occasion on which many of the most wealthy and prominent Huguenots had gathered in largely Catholic Paris.
This event took place during the period 1562 to 1598, known as the French Wars of Religion, which consisted of factional disputes between the aristocratic houses of France, such as the House of Bourbon and House of Guise (Lorraine).
After the Saint Bartholomew's Day massacre
Margaret has been credited with saving the lives of several prominent Protestants, including her husband's, during the massacre, by keeping them in her rooms and refusing to admit the assassins. Henry of Navarre had to feign conversion to Catholicism.
After more than three years of confinement at court, Henry escaped Paris in 1576, leaving his wife behind. Finally granted permission to return to her husband in Navarre, for the next three and a half years Margaret and her husband lived in Pau. Both openly kept other lovers, and they quarrelled frequently.
Agen and Usson
After an illness in 1582, Queen Margaret returned to the court of her brother, Henry III, in Paris. 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 Margaret 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 Margaret 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.
During this time, Margaret 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 posthumously in 1628 and scandalised the population.
In 1589, Henry, her husband, succeeded to the throne of France as Henry IV. He was, however, not accepted by most of the Catholic population until he converted four years later. Henry continued to keep mistresses, most notably Gabrielle d'Estrées from 1591 to 1599, who bore him four children. Negotiations to annul the marriage were entered in 1592 and concluded in 1599 with an agreement that allowed Margaret to maintain the title of queen.
She settled her household on the Left Bank of the Seine, in the Hostel de la Reyne Margueritte that is illustrated in Mérian's 1615 plan of Paris (illustration); the hostel was built for her to designs by Jean Bullant in 1609. It was eventually demolished and partially replaced in 1640 by the Hôtel de La Rochefoucauld.
Reconciled to her former husband and his second wife, Marie de' Medici, Queen Margaret 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 the children of Henry IV and Marie.
Margaret died in her Hostel de la Reyne Margueritte, on 27 March 1615, and was buried in the funerary chapel of the Valois in the Basilica of St. Denis. Her casket has disappeared and it is not known whether it was removed and transferred when work was done at the chapel, or destroyed during the French Revolution.
Margaret of Valois in literature & fiction
Alexandre Dumas, père's 1845 novel La Reine Margot is a fictionalised account of the events surrounding Margaret's marriage to Henry of Navarre. The novel was adapted into a 1994 French film, La Reine Margot, in which the role of Margaret was played by the popular French actress Isabelle Adjani. The main action of Shakespeare's early comedy Love's Labour's Lost (1594–5) is based on an attempt at reconciliation, made in 1578, between Margaret and Henry.
La Reine Margot appears in Jean Plaidy's novel, Myself, My Enemy a fictional memoir of Queen Henrietta Maria, consort of King Charles I of England. A chance meeting between the young princesse Henriette and the elderly reine Margot at the celebration of marriage of Henriette's brother, Louis XIII of France, and Anne of Austria, hints to the reader about the fascinating character that Margaret of Valois was.
Margaret of Valois also has a major role in the Meyerbeer opera Les Huguenots. This was one of Joan Sutherland's signature roles and she performed it for her farewell performance for the Australian Opera in 1990.
Ancestors of Margaret of Valois John, Count of Angoulême Charles, Count of Angoulême Marguerite de Rohan Francis I of France Philip II, Duke of Savoy Louise of Savoy Margaret of Bourbon Henry II of France Charles I de Valois, Duke of Orléans Louis XII of France Marie of Cleves Claude of France Francis II, Duke of Brittany Anne, Duchess of Brittany Margaret of Foix Margaret of Valois Lorenzo de' Medici Piero di Lorenzo de' Medici Clarissa Orsini Lorenzo II de' Medici, Duke of Urbino Roberto Orsini, Count of Tagliacozzo Alfonsina Orsini Caterina Sanseverino Catherine de Medici Bertrand VI of Auvergne John III, Count of Auvergne Louise de la Tremoille Madeleine de la Tour d'Auvergne Jean VIII, Count of Vendôme Jeanne de Bourbon-Vendôme Isabelle de Beauveau
- ^ Antoine de Bourbon was the direct descendant in male-line of King Louis IX, as the closest male relative to the King, he was first in line to inherit the French Throne should the Valois fail to produce male heirs
- ^ Knecht, Catherine de' Medici, 151
- ^ "Histoire de la rue par les cartes"
- ^ Castarède, Jean, La triple vie de la reine Margot, Éditions France-Empire, Paris, 1992, pp. 236-7, ISBN 2-7048-0708-6
- ^ Jean Castarède, p. 237
- Memoirs of Marguerite de Valois (in English):
- Media related to Marguerite de Valois at Wikimedia Commons
- Image at cybersybils.net
- Image at pandemonium.tiscali.de
French royalty Preceded by
Marguerite de Navarre
Queen consort of Navarre
Marie de' Medici
Louise of Lorraine
Queen consort of France
2 August 1589–1615
House of Bourbon Henry IV of FranceSpouse(s)ChildrenSiblingsHenri, Duke of Beaumont (1551–1553) · Louis, Count of Marle (1555–1557) · Madeleine (1556) · Catherine, Duchess of LorraineIllegitimate childrenGrandchildrenAnne Marie Louise, Duchess of Montpensier · Marguerite Louise, Grand Duchess of Tuscany · Élisabeth Marguerite, Duchess of Alençon and Angoulême · Françoise Madeleine, Duchess of Savoy · Princess Marie Anne · Jean Gaston, Duke of Valois · Louis XIV of France · Philippe, Duke of Orléans Louis XIII of FranceSpouse(s)ChildrenGrandchildrenLouis, Dauphin of France · Princess Anne Élisabeth · Princess Marie Anne · Princess Marie Therèse, Madame Royale · Philippe Charles, Duke of Anjou · Louis François, Duke of Anjou · Marie Louise, Queen of Spain · Philippe Charles, Duke of Valois · Anne Marie, Queen of Sardinia · Alexandre Louis, Duke of Valois · Philippe Charles, Duke of Orléans · Élisabeth Charlotte, Duchess of LorraineGreat
Louis XIV of FranceSpouse(s)ChildrenLouis, Dauphin of France · Princess Anne Élisabeth · Princess Marie Anne · Princess Marie Therèse, Madame Royale · Philippe Charles, Duke of Anjou · Louis François, Duke of AnjouIllegitimate childrenMarie Anne, Princess of Conti · Louis, Count of Vermandois · Louis Auguste, Duke of Maine · Louis César, Count of Vexin · Louise Françoise, Duchess of Bourbon · Louise Marie Anne, Mademoiselle de Tours · Françoise Marie, Duchess of Orléans · Louis Alexandre, Count of Toulouse · Louise, Baroness of La QueueGrandchildrenGreat
grandchildrenLouis, Duke of Brittany · Louis, Duke of Brittany · Louis XV of France · Louis I of Spain* · Felipe of Spain* · Felipe of Spain* · Ferdinand VI of Spain* · Charles III of Spain* · Francisco of Spain* · Mariana Víctoria, Queen of Portugal* · Philip, Duke of Parma* · Maria Teresa Rafaela, Dauphine of France* · Luis, Count of Chinchón* · Maria Antonietta, Queen of Sardinia* · Charles, Duke of Alençon · Marie Louise Élisabeth d'Alençon · Louis Alexandre, Prince of Lamballe
Louis XV of FranceSpouse(s)ChildrenGrandchildrenIllegitimate children
includedCharles de Vintimille · Agathe Louise de Saint-Antoine · Philippe, Duke of Narbonne-Lara · Louis, Count of Narbonne-Lara
Louis XVI of FranceSpouse(s)Children Louis XVII of FranceNote Louis XVIII of FranceSpouse(s) Charles X of FranceSpouse(s)ChildrenGrandchildrenPrincess Louise Élisabeth · Prince Louis · Louise Marie Thérèse, Duchess of Parma · Henry, Count of Chambord Queens and Empresses of FranceAdelaide of Aquitaine (987–996) · Rozala of Italy (996) · Bertha of Burgundy (996–1000) · Constance of Arles (1003–1031) · Matilda of Frisia (1034–1044) · Anne of Kiev (1051–1060) · Bertha of Holland (1071–1092) · Bertrade de Montfort (1092–1108) · Adelaide of Maurienne (1115–1137) · Eleanor of Aquitaine (1137–1152) · Constance of Castile (1154–1160) · Adèle of Champagne (1164–1180) · Isabelle of Hainaut (1180–1190) · Ingeborg of Denmark (1193–1193; 1200-1223) · Agnes of Merania (1196–1200) · Blanche of Castile (1223–1226) · Margaret of Provence (1234–1270) · Isabella of Aragon (1270–1271) · Maria of Brabant (1274–1285) · Joan I of Navarre (1285–1305) · Margaret of Burgundy (1314–1315) · Clementia of Hungary (1315–1316) · Joan II of Burgundy (1316–1322) · Blanche of Burgundy (1322) · Marie of Luxembourg (1322–1324) · Jeanne d'Évreux (1325–1328) · Joan the Lame (1328–1348) · Blanche of Navarre (1350) · Joan I of Auvergne (1350–1360) · Jeanne de Bourbon (1364–1378) · Isabeau of Bavaria (1385–1422) · Marie of Anjou (1422–1461) · Charlotte of Savoy (1461–1483) · Anne of Brittany (1491–1498; 1498–1514) · Joan of France (1498) · Mary of England (1514-1515) · Claude of France (1515–1524) · Eleanor of Austria (1530–1547) · Catherine de' Medici (1547–1559) · Mary, Queen of Scots (1559–1560) · Archduchess Elisabeth of Austria (1570–1574) · Louise of Lorraine (1575–1589) · Margaret of Valois (1589–1599) · Marie de' Medici (1600–1610) · Archduchess Anne of Austria (1615–1643) · Archduchess Maria Theresa of Austria (1660–1683) · Marie Leszczyńska (1725–1768) · Archduchess Maria Antonia of Austria (1774–1792) · Princess Marie Joséphine of Savoy* (1795–1810) · Joséphine de Beauharnais (1804–1810) · Archduchess Marie Louise of Austria (1810–1814) · Princess Marie Thérèse of France* (1830) · Princess Maria Amalia of Naples and Sicily (1830–1848) · Eugénie de Montijo (1853–1870)*disputed
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Look at other dictionaries:
Margaret of Valois — 1553 1615; queen of Henry IV of France (1589 99): called Queen Margot … English World dictionary
Margaret of Valois — ( Queen Margot ) 1533 1615, 1st wife of Henry IV of France: queen of Navarre; patron of science and literature (daughter of Henry II of France and Catherine de Medici). Also called Margaret of France. * * * or Margaret of France French Marguerite … Universalium
Margaret of Valois — Mar′garet of Valois′ n. big (“Queen Margot”) 1533–1615, 1st wife of Henry IV of France: queen of Navarre … From formal English to slang
Margaret of Valois — or Margaret of France biographical name 1553 1615 queen consort of Henry of Navarre … New Collegiate Dictionary
Margaret of Valois — ( Queen Margot ) 1533 1615, 1st wife of Henry IV of France: queen of Navarre; patron of science and literature (daughter of Henry II of France and Catherine de Medici). Also called Margaret of France … Useful english dictionary
MARGARET OF VALOIS — third daughter of Henry II. of France and Catherine de Medicis; married Henry IV., by whom she was divorced for her immoral conduct (1552 1615) … The Nuttall Encyclopaedia
Margaret of Valois — /valˈwa/ (say vahl wah) noun 1553–1615, first queen of Henry IV of France … Australian English dictionary
Margaret, Countess of Anjou — Margaret of Naples (1273 – 31 December 1299) was Countess of Anjou and Maine in her own right. Margaret s father was the King Charles II of Naples, her husband was Charles of Valois, and her older brother was Saint Louis of Toulouse, and her… … Wikipedia
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