Bonne de Luxembourg: a Queen of France in waiting

Bonne de Luxembourg, first wife of King Jean II the Good (le Bon), was born on the 20th of May 1315. She was the second daughter of John the Blind, King of Bohemia, and his first spouse, Elisabeth of Bohemia. When the baby girl first saw the world, she was...

Suzanne de Bourbon: an intelligent, but sickly, Bourbon heiress

Suzanne de Bourbon was born on the 10th of May 1491 at Château de Châtellerault. Her parents were Pierre II, Seigneur de Beaujeu and later Duke de Bourbon and d’Auvergne, and Anne of France, who both served as co-regents of France during the minority of King Charles VIII of France...

Jeanne of France: a princess better suited to be a nun

Princess Jeanne of France was born on the 23rd of April 1464 (died on the 4th of February 1505) to King Louis XI of France known as the Cunning (le Rusé) or the Universal Spider (l’Universelle Aragne) and his second spouse, Charlotte de Savoy. Jeanne was the 5th couple’s child...

Catherine de’ Medici: birth, loss of parents, and Italian politics

Caterina Maria Romula de’ Medici, who was destined to become Queen of France as wife of King Henri II of France, was born at around 11 o’clock on the 13th of April 1519 in Florence. Her father was a Italian nobleman and scion of the ruling Medici House of Florence...

The Tragedy of Gaston de Foix, a stellar military commander

Gaston de Foix, Duke de Nemours, was born on the 10th of December 1489 to Jean de Foix, Viscount de Narbonne, and his wife, Marie d’Orléans, in the town of Mazères, County of Foix. Gaston was also Count d’Étampes and Viscount de Narbonne, for his father died in 1500. From...

King Jean II of France: family background, personality, and actions

King Jean II of France known as the Good (le Bon) was born on the 16th of April 1319 at Château du Gué-de-Maulny near Le Mans, in France. Given the horrendous troubles his reign brought to France, I think that he should be known not as the Good, but as...

Isabelle de Hainaut: ancestress of the Capetian, Valois, and Bourbon dynasties

Isabelle de Hainaut, Queen of France, was the first wife of King Philippe II of France known as Augustus. She was born in Valenciennes on the 5th of April 1170 to Baldwin V, Count of Hainaut, and his wife, Countess Marguerite I of Flanders. Isabelle was their oldest daughter and...

In defense of Thomas Boleyn, Earl of Wilshire, and Thomas Howard, Duke of Norfolk

Fiction and popular culture try to make us believe that two iron-hearted villains – their relatives –used Mary and Anne Boleyn to elevate themselves at the court of King Henry VIII. Nonetheless, it is a product of fiction without credible historical evidence. First of all, there is no proof that...

An illustrious sister of Richard the Lionheart and Philippe Augustus

Princess Marie de France, Countess de Champagne, passed away on the 11th of March, 1198. She was the first and oldest daughter of King Louis VII of France known as the Young (‘le Jeune’) and his first and legendary consort – Duchess Eleanor of Aquitaine, or Aliénor d’Aquitaine. According to...

The Pléiade: the late Renaissance poet Jean-Antoine de Baïf

The late Renaissance poet Jean Antoine de Baïf was born on the 19th of February 1532 (died on the 19th of September 1589). A member of the Pléiade, he headed this literary group together its chief members such as Pierre de Ronsard and Joachim du Bellay. These men met at...

A forgotten Valois prince: Charles, Count d’Angoulême and father of King François I (part 3)

Let’s speak about genealogy. Count Charles d’Angoulême was not as highly inbred as many of his Valois cousins were. However, how was the count related to his wife, Louis de Savoy? Louise de Savoy was the eldest daughter of Philippe II, Duke of Savoy and his first wife, Marguerite de...

Agnès Sorel: her famous romance with King Charles VII of France (part 2)

Today, on St Valentine’s Day, it is high time to speak about one of the most famous royal love stories – the romance of King Charles VII of France and Agnès Sorel. When and how did the monarch meet the woman who seems to have been the love of his...

Who was Catherine Howard, King Henry VIII’s fifth wife?

The 13th of February 1541 was another anniversary of the execution of Catherine Howard, the 5th wife of King Henry VIII of England. Catherine had been stripped of her title as queen in November 1541 and confined to the Syon Abbey in Middlesex. She remained there throughout the winter of...

Agnès Sorel: life before her meeting with King Charles VII of France (part 1)

Born into a provincial noble family, Agnès Sorel first took by storm the French court of King Charles VII of France in 1444 when she was aged about 20 (she was presumably born in 1422). Agnès died young under rather mysterious circumstances at the age of only 28. Her life...