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...

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...

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...

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...

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...