A forgotten Valois prince: Charles, Count d’Angoulême and father of King François I (part 2)

Charles d’Orléans, Count d’Angoulême, spent a lot of money on books. He had a network of agents in Italy, France, and other countries, who purchased rare and old manuscripts for him. The count collected in his library at Château de Cognac. His large library included more than 1000 manuscripts. Charles...

A forgotten Valois prince: Charles, Count d’Angoulême and father of King François I (part 1)

Charles d’Orléans, Count d’Angoulême (born in 1459 and died on the 1st of January 1496) was a member of the French Valois-Orléans-Angoulême branch of the royal House of Valois.  He was descended from Louis I, Duke d’Orléans, who was the youngest surviving son of King Charles V of France known...

Baldassare Castiglione: a true Renaissance man, diplomat, and author

Baldassare Castiglione, Count of Casatico, was born on the 6th of December 1478. He was an Italian courtier, diplomat, soldier, and, most importantly, an illustrious Renaissance author. Born in Casatico, near Mantua, into a family of the minor Italian nobility, he was related through his mother, Luigia Gonzaga, to the...

Anne Boleyn’s Early Years at the Court in the Burgundian Netherlands

This article explores the impact of Anne Boleyn’s early years spent at the glittering and refined court of Margaret of Austria, Dowager Duchess of Savoy, in the Burgundian Netherlands. Thomas Boleyn, Anne’s father, was well regarded by Margaret, the regent of the Low Countries, and he managed to place Anne...

Anne Boleyn’s Education and Life at the French Court

In 1522, a young, sophisticated woman arrived at the English court after spending most of her life in two continental courts. Intelligent, educated, and stylish beyond the typical English lady, Anne Boleyn dazzled the court and set herself on a path that would lead to the heights of power before...

Veronica Gambara: a Renaissance poetess and stateswoman

Veronica Gambara was born on the 29 or 30th of November 1485 (she died on the 13th of June 1550). This illustrious woman was not only an Italian poet, stateswoman, and political leader, but also the ruler of the County of Corregio from 1518 until 1550. Veronica was born in...

Jeanne d’Albert, Queen of Navarre: her childhood and first marriage

Jeanne d’Albert was born at Château de Fontainebleau on the 7th of January 1528 (she died on the 16th of November 1528 in Paris, France, at the age of 43).  This wonderful princess, later Queen of Navarre in her own right, deserves several articles dedicated to her, for she lived...

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...

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,...

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...