Archduchess Elisabeth of Austria: a Queen of France who never remarried

Archduchess Elisabeth of Austria, one of the daughters of Maximilian II, Holy Roman Emperor, and his wife, Maria of Spain, was born on the 5th of July 1554.  A member of the House of Habsburg, she seems to have been her father’s favorite child and resembled him not only in...

Charles VIII of France: accidental death after a momentary glory in Italy

Charles VIII of France, known as the Affable, was born at Château d'Amboise on the 30th of June 1470.  He was the only surviving son of King Louis XI of France, called the Prudent and the Spider, and his second queen, Charlotte de Savoy.  His four brothers were all either...

Louis XII of France: a king by accident with dreams of Italian conquests

King Louis XII of France was born on the 27th of June 1462 at Château de Blois.  The son of Duke Charles d'Orléans, and Mary of Cleves, Louis XII  succeeded his father only at the age of 3.  King Louis XI appointed the chief councilors and servitors of the young...

The Château de Chenonceau: “Château des Dames” of the Loire Valley

The Château de Chenonceau is a magnificent castle spanning the River Cher.  It is located close to the village of Chenonceaux in the Indre-et-Loire département of the Loire Valley in France.  One of the most famous châteaux of the Loire valley, it is a unique Renaissance castle, a fairytale and...

Marguerite de Valois, Duchess de Berry: birth and late marriage

Marguerite de Valois, Duchess de Berry, was born on the 5th of June 1523 at the Château de Saint-Germain-en-Laye.  She was the youngest daughter and child of King François I of France and his first wife – Queen Claude of France, Duchess de Bretagne.  In a year after her birth,...

Birth of Charles de Bourbon, Duke de Vendôme – King Henri IV of France’s grandfather

Charles de Bourbon, Duke de Vendôme, was born on the 2nd of June 1489.  He was a French noblewoman ranked as prince du sang – a person legitimately descended in dynastic line from any of a realm’s hereditary monarchs.  Born at the Château de Vendôme, his birth brought a profound...

A New Tudor Royal Wedding less than two weeks after Anne Boleyn’s execution

On the 30th of May 1536, King Henry VIII of England and Lady Jane Seymour were married at Whitehall palace at the Queen’s Closet.  Thomas Cranmer, Archbishop of Canterbury, who had married Jane’s predecessor, now dead Anne Boleyn, and the Tudor monarch in the winter of 1533, conducted the quiet...

End of the Capets: the beginning of the Valois royal dynasty

On the 29 May 1328, King Philippe VI of France, once simply Count de Valois, was crowned at Reims Cathedral.  The nearest male relative to the last Capetian monarch, Charles IV of France known as the Fair (le Bel), Philippe inherited the throne because of the direct male line of...

The visit of Holy Roman Emperor Charles V to England in 1522

On the 26th of May 1522, Holy Roman Emperor Charles V arrived at the English city-port of Dover.  Cardinal Thomas Wolsey, Archbishop of York, as well as his entourage of approximately 300 Englishmen, specially selected for this occasion in advance, greeted the Habsburg emperor.  At the time of the emperor’s...

Fra Girolamo Savonarola: execution of an unorthodox friar in Florence

On the 23th of May 1498, Fra Girolamo Savonarola and his two most fervent supporters – Fra Girolamo and Fra Domenico – were escorted out of their prison into the main Florentine square (Piazza della Signoria).  They faced a high ecclesiastic tribunal, who condemned them as heretics and schismatics, having...

Marriage of François d’Angoulême and Claude of France

On the 18th of May 1514, François d’Angoulême, the future King François I of France, married his distant cousin Claude, the eldest of the two surviving daughters of Queen Anne and King Louis XII.  The quiet ceremony took place in the atmosphere of lament in a chapel at Saint-Germain-en-Laye, which...

Golden Florentine Renaissance: Sandro Botticelli

Sandro Botticelli, born as Alessandro di Mariano di Vanni Filipepi, lived at the time when all things intellectual, humanistic, and progressive flourished in the Florentine Republic.  The city was truly the cradle of the new era dawning.  The artist belonged to the Florentine School under the patronage of Lorenzo de’...

Day of mourning: executions of George Boleyn and the other men unjustly condemned

Today is a day of mourning for historians and Tudor enthusiasts.  On the early morning of the 17th of May 1536, several men, among them the queen’s own brother, were escorted out of the western entrance of the Tower under heavy guard.  They were George Boleyn, Viscount Rochford, as well...