Death of Queen Mary I of England

On 17th of November 1558, Queen Mary I of England, the only surviving daughter of King Henry VIII and his first wife, Catherine of Aragon, breathed her last at St James’s Palace, London.   Mary passed away childless at the age of 42, without her husband, Philip of Spain, by her...

Eleanor of Austria: a daughter of illustrious parents, a marriage pawn

It is not enough to have illustrious parents and lineages to be happy.  The life of a queen, a princess, or a royal descendant did not belong to her: from her birth, a royal girl was a valuable commodity in the European marriage market, especially if her parents were the...

Charlotte de Savoy: a virtuous and traditional Queen of France

Charlotte de Savoy, a daughter of Duke Louis de Savoy and his wife, Anne of Cyprus, was born on the 11th of November 1441 or 1443.  She was one of her parents’ 19 children; 14 of them survived into adulthood.  Although the House of Savoy often intermarried with their French...

The goldsmith and sculptor Benvenuto Cellini: a turbulent and artistic soul

Born on the 3rd of November 1500 in Florence, Benvenuto Cellini was a son of Giovanni Cellini and Maria Lisabetta Granacci.  As his father and mother were a musician and a creator of musical instruments, Benvenuto’s father wanted his son to become a musician.  At the age of 15, Giovanni...

Coronation of Mary Tudor, sister of King Henry VIII, in France

On the 5th November of 1514, the 18-year-old-year Mary Tudor, sister of King Henry VIII, was crowned Queen of France at the ancient Basilica of Saint-Denis, located in the suburbs of Paris, France.  It was not a felicitous day for the English princess who had become an unwilling French queen,...

Anne de Beaujeu: marriage and the Peace of Étaples

On the 3rd of November 1473, the 12-year-old Princess Anne, the eldest surviving daughter of King Louis XI of France and his wife, Charlotte de Savoy, married the 34-year-old Pierre de Bourbon.  Pierre’s older brother, Duke Jean de Bourbon, ceded the title of ‘Seigneur de Beaujeu’ to Pierre, and the...

Marriage of Catherine de’ Medici and Prince Henri, Duke d’Orléans

Royal weddings were rarely fascinating fairytales of love – they aimed to foster allegiances and cement alliances.  Soon after his return home, Prince Henri, Duke d’Orléans (future King Henri II of France), found himself at the center of his father King François I’s marial plans for him.  Henri and his...

Renée of France: a Valois princess, a Protestant Duchess of Ferrara

The Valois Princess Renée of France was born on the 25th of October 1510 at Château de Blois, in the town of Blois, in the Loire Valley, France.  The second surviving daughter of King Louis XII of France and Anne de Bretagne (Anne of Brittany), Renée was the first French...

The Treaty of Brétigny: English temporary triumph over the French

On the 24th of October 1360, the Treaty of Brétigny was ratified, marking the end of the first phase of the Hundred Years’ War.  This treaty was a sheer calamity for France and a temporary victory for England.  This document was drafted on the 8th of May 1360 between King...

Claude de Lorraine, Duke de Guise: founder of the House of Guise

Claude de Lorraine, who was also known as Claude de Guise, was born the 20th of October 20, 1496 at Château de Condé in Condé (now this place is called Custines in north-eastern France), in Lorraine.  He had an eventful life, having been a favorite of King François I of...

The religious tolerance in France and the Affair of the Placards of 1534

Gradually, after the publication of ‘Ninety-five Theses’ by Martin Luther in 1517, more and people were growing interested in new religious ideas.  However, in the early 1520s, Reformation doctrines were still understood by a small number of educated people, but by the end of this decade, they could already be...

Luca Marenzio: a talented composer of madrigals

Luca Marenzio (died on the 22nd of August 1599) was a far-famed Italian composer and singer of the late Renaissance, who was born on the 18th of October 1553 or 1554.  He was one of the most prominent composers of madrigals.  In total, Marenzio wrote around 500 madrigals.  His works...

Françoise de Foix: the first long-term maîtresse-en-titre of King François I of France

Françoise de Foix, who was the first long-term maîtresse-en-titre of King François I of France, was born about 1495, but we don’t know her date and year of birth for a certainty.  Since her early youth, she served to Queen Anne of France, King Louis XII’s wife and Duchess of...

Marie d’Anjou: a model queen as wife of King Charles VII of France

Marie d’Anjou, who was a daughter of Louis II d’Anjou and his wife, Yolande of Aragon, was born on the 14th of October 1404.  Marie was betrothed to Charles de Valois for years: their betrothal agreement had first been signed when he had been the youngest son of Charles VI...

Claudin de Sermisy: a genius composer of the French Renaissance

Claudin de Sermisy (born circa 1490) passed away on the 13th of October 1562.  Together with Clément Janequin, his friend and also rival for the affections of the art-loving King François I of France and for his popularity, he was one of the most important and famed composers of French...