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 13th of April 1519 in Florence. Her father was the Italian noblewoman 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...

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...

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...

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...

Valentina Visconti, Duchess d’Orléans: a devoted wife falsely accused of witchcraft

Valentina Visconti was born in Milan in 1370 or 71 to Gian Galeazzo Visconti, the 1st Duke of Milan, and his first spouse, Isabelle de Valois. Isabelle was a daughter of King Jean II the Good (le Bon) and his first wife, Bonne de Luxembourg. The girl’s name was unusual...

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...

Jean de Valois, Duke de Berry: though a politician, but more a devout art collector

Jean de Valois, Duke de Berry (known as Jean the Magnificent) was born on the 30th of November 1340 (died on the 15th of June 1416). Jean had many titles: he was Duke de Berry and d’Auvergne, as well as Count de Poitiers and de Montpensier. He was the 3rd...

Charles d’Orléans: life, poetry, incarceration

Charles d’Orléans was born in Paris at Hôtel Saint-Pol on the 24th of November 1394. It was a bad irony that he first saw the world on the next day after his father’s barbaric assassination in the dark street of Paris upon the orders of Jean the Fearless, Duke of...

The brutal murder of Louis I d’Orléans in the streets of Paris

Today is a tragic day: another anniversary of the brutal assassination of Louis I d’Orléans, the second surviving son of King Charles V of France known as the Wise (le Sage) and his consort, Jeanne de Bourbon.  Louis was a younger brother to King Charles VI called the Mad (le...