Marguerite de Valois

Infobox French Royalty|majesty|consort
name =Marguerite de Valois
title =Queen consort of France and Navarre


caption =Portrait of Marguerite de Valois, ca. 1572
reign =1589–1599
spouse =Henry IV
royal house =House of Bourbon
House of Valois
othertitles =Queen consort of France & Navarre
father =Henry II of France
mother =Catherine de' Medici
date of birth =14 May 1553
place of birth =Château de Saint-Germain-en-Laye
date of death =27 May 1615
place of death =Paris
place of burial =Chapel of the Valois.|

Marguerite de Valois (May 14, 1553 – May 27, 1615), "Queen Margot" ("La reine Margot") was Queen of France and Navarre.

Early life

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.

Arranged marriage

Although Marguerite loved Henry of Guise, her 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, although the marriage never occurred. Serious negotiations for Marguerite's marriage to King Sebastian of Portugal were also considered but abandoned.

Marguerite was forced 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 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.

Just six days after the wedding, on Saint Bartholomew's Day, a massacre of Huguenots was conducted by Parisian mobs.

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. 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. Henry IV kept mistresses, most notably Gabrielle d'Estrées from 1591 to 1599, who bore him four children.

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. [ [http://www.ruevisconti.com/Histoire/lotissementdesmarais/Histoire_cartes.html "Histoire de la rue par les cartes"] ]

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 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.

Ancestry

Marguerite de Valois in fiction

Alexandre Dumas, père's novel "Queen Margot" ("La Reine Margot" in French) is a fictionalized account of the events surrounding Marguerite's marriage to Henry of Navarre. The novel was famously adapted into a 1994 French film, "La Reine Margot". The role of Marguerite 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 Marguerite and Henry.

La Reine Margot appears in Jean Plaidy's novel, "Myself, My Enemy" a fictional memoir of Queen Henriette Marie, consort of King Charles I. A chance meeting between the young princesse Henriette and the elderly reine Margot at the celebration of marriage of Henriette's brother, the King, and Anne of Austria hints to the reader about the fascinating character that Marguerite de Valois was.

Marguerite de 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.

ee also

*Henry IV of France's wives and mistresses

References

External links

* Full text of " [http://www.gutenberg.net/etext/3841 Memoirs Of Marguerite de Valois] " from Project Gutenberg
* [http://www.cybersybils.net/Delamare.jpgImage] at cybersybils.net
* [http://pandemonium.tiscali.de/pub/gutenberg/3/8/4/3841/3841-h/images/marguerite.jpgImage] at pandemonium.tiscali.de


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  • MARGUERITE DE VALOIS — MARGUERITE DE VALOIS, dite LA REINE MARGOT (1553 1615) reine de France Il est peu de princesses de France qui aient autant défrayé la chronique de leur époque et alimenté si généreusement une littérature prétendument historique que Marguerite de… …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • Marguerite de Valois — Cette page d’homonymie répertorie les différents sujets et articles partageant un même nom. Marguerite de Valois est le nom donné à plusieurs princesses françaises issues de différentes branches (capétiens directs et Valois) de la dynastie… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Marguerite de Valois —    1) (1492 1549) (Marguerite d Angoulême, Marguerite de Navarre)    queen of Navarre, poet, writer    Marguerite de Valois (or d Angoulême, or de Navarre, as she is also known) was born in Angoulême, the daughter of Charles de Valois, count of… …   France. A reference guide from Renaissance to the Present

  • MARGUERITE DE VALOIS — (1553 1615) As the daughter of Henri II and Catherine de Medici* and, later, wife to Henri IV, Marguerite de Valois found herself at the center of French politics and religion during the tumultuous sixteenth century. Beautiful, willful, and… …   Renaissance and Reformation 1500-1620: A Biographical Dictionary

  • Marguerite de valois (1407-1458) — Pour les articles homonymes, voir Marguerite de France et Marguerite de Valois. Marguerite de Valois est née en 1407 et morte en 1458. Fille illégitime du roi de France Charles VI et de sa maîtresse Odette de Champdivers. Sommaire 1 Biographie …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Marguerite de valois (1295-1342) — Pour les articles homonymes, voir Marguerite de Valois. Marguerite de Valois (1295 1342) est la troisième fille de Charles de France, comte de Valois et de sa première femme Marguerite d Anjou. Elle épouse en 1310 Guy Ier de Châtillon, comte de… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Marguerite de Valois (disambiguation) — Marguerite de Valois may refer to: Marguerite de Valois, wife of Henry IV of France, daughter of Henry II of France Marguerite de Navarre, also called Marguerite of Angoulême, sister of Francis I of France, wife of Henry II of Navarre Marguerite… …   Wikipedia

  • Marguerite de Valois (1407-1458) — Pour les articles homonymes, voir Marguerite de France et Marguerite de Valois. Marguerite de Valois est née en 1407 et morte en 1458. Fille illégitime du roi de France Charles VI et de sa maîtresse Odette de Champdivers. Sommaire 1 Biographie …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Marguerite de Valois (1295-1342) — Pour les articles homonymes, voir Marguerite de Valois. Marguerite de Valois (1295 1342) est la troisième fille de Charles de France, comte de Valois et de sa première femme Marguerite d Anjou. Elle …   Wikipédia en Français


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