Yolande of Aragon: her mother, Violant de Bar, as a role model

Yolande of Aragon was born on the 11th of August 1384 in Zaragoza, in Aragon. She was the only surviving daughter of King Juan (or John) I of Aragon (born in 1350) and Violant (or Yolande) de Bar (born c 1365). In order not to confuse mother and daughter, I...

Life of Louis II, Duke de Bourbon

Louis II, Duke de Bourbon, called the Good (le Bon) was a prince du sang (a prince of the blood). He was the oldest son of Duke Pierre I de Bourbon, and his spouse, Princess Isabelle de Valois, who was the sister of King Philippe VI the Fortunate (le Fortuné)....

Galeazzo II Visconti: a versatile legacy

Galeazzo II Visconti was a second son of Stefano Visconti and Valentina Doria. His parents had 3 sons: Matteo II, Galeazzo, and Bernabò. After Stefano’s passing in 1327, Galeazzo became Lord of Alessandria, Alba, Asti, Como, Tortona, Novara, Pavia, Vercelli and, together with the siblings Matteo II and Bernabò, co-Lord...

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...

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...

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...