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 –...

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...

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...

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...

Marie d’Anjou: a model queen as wife of King Charles VII of France

Marie d’Anjou, who was a daughter of Louis II d’Anjou and his wife, Yolande of Aragon, was born on the 14th of October 1404.  Marie was betrothed to Charles de Valois for years: their betrothal agreement had first been signed when he had been the youngest son of Charles VI...

Clément Marot: a talented French Renaissance poet who influenced Reformation

A great Renaissance French poet, Clément Marot was born at Cahors, the capital of the province of Quercy, on the 23rd of November 1496.  His father, Jean Marot, was also a poet and served as escripvain (a poet-historian) to Anne de Bretagne, Queen of France.  Although in his youth Clément...

King François I of France: a godfather of the French Renaissance

King François I of France was born on the 12th of September at Cognac, Aquitaine, France.  The only son of Charles d’Orléans, Count d’Angoulême, and his wife, Louise de Savoy, François was a great-great-grandson of King Charles V of France called the Wise (le Sage).  A son of the man with...

Philippe III of France: an imitation of Saint Louis’ kingship based on favoritism

Philippe III of France (born on the 30th of April 1245 and died on the 5th of October 1285) ascended to the throne upon the death of his father – Louis IX known as Saint Louis – on the 25th of August 1270.  His father passed away of dysentery in...

King Philippe I of the Franks known as the Amorous

King Philippe I of the Franks, born on the 23rd of May 1052, died on the 29th of July 1108.  He was the eldest son of King Henry I and his second wife, Anne of Kiev.  At the time, the name ‘Philippe’, which Anne gave him, was unusual for Europe,...

A Forgotten Confrontation: the Battle of Bouvines of 1214

Nowadays, few people heard about the Battle of Bouvines fought on the 27th of July 1214 near the town of Bouvines in the County of Flanders.  Nonetheless, many remember the Battles of Crécy, of Poitiers, and of Agincourt.  This battle was the decisive confrontation of the Anglo-French War that lasted...

Eleanor of Aquitaine and Louis VII of France: an ill-fated royal match

On the 25th of July 1137, Eleanor of Aquitaine, Duchess of Aquitaine in her own right, and the future Louis VII of France married in the Cathedral of Saint-Andre in Bordeaux.  The marriage between was arranged by Louis VII’s father – King Louis VI of France known as the Fat....

The Château de Saumur: ‘Château d’Amour’ of the Loire Valley

Château de Saumur, one of the French royal châteaux in the Loire Valley, is located in the town of Saumur, overlooking the confluence of the Loire River and the Thouet River.   Standing at the edge of an abrupt cliff, the castle boasts gorgeous views of the town and the Loire...

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...