Person:Catherine de' Medici (1)

Catherine de' Medici
m. 2 May 1518
  1. Catherine de' Medici1519 - 1589
m. 28 Oct 1533
  1. François II de France1544 - 1560
  2. Élisabeth de France1545 - 1568
  3. Claude de France1547 - 1575
  4. Louis de France1549 - 1550
  5. Charles IX de France1550 - 1574
  6. Henri III de France1551 - 1589
  7. Marguerite de Valois1553 - 1615
  8. François de France, duc d'Alençon1555 - 1584
  9. Victoire de France1556 - 1556
  10. Jeanne de France1556 - 1556
Facts and Events
Name Catherine de' Medici
Gender Female
Birth[1] 13 Apr 1519 Florence, Firenze, Toscana, ItalyHouse of Medici
Marriage 28 Oct 1533 Marseille, Marseille, Bouches-du-Rhône, FranceMarseille Cathedral
to Henri II _____, roi de France
Death[1] 5 Jan 1589 Blois, Loir-et-Cher, France
Reference Number? Q131552?

the text in this section is copied from an article in Wikipedia

Catherine de' Medici (; , ; 13 April 1519 – 5 January 1589) was an Italian noblewoman born into the Medici family. She was Queen of France from 1547 until 1559, by marriage to King Henry II, and mother of French kings Francis II, Charles IX and Henry III. The years during which her sons reigned have been called "the age of Catherine de' Medici" as she had extensive, if at times varying, influence in the political life of France.

Catherine was born in Florence to Lorenzo de' Medici, Duke of Urbino, and Madeleine de La Tour d'Auvergne. In 1533 at the age of fourteen, Catherine married Henry, second son of King Francis I and Queen Claude of France. Catherine's marriage was arranged by her uncle Pope Clement VII. Henry excluded Catherine from participating in state affairs and instead showered favours on his chief mistress, Diane de Poitiers, who wielded much influence over him. Henry's death in 1559 thrust Catherine into the political arena as mother of the frail 15-year-old King Francis II. When Francis II died in 1560, she became regent on behalf of her 10-year-old son King Charles IX and was thus granted sweeping powers. After Charles died in 1574, Catherine played a key role in the reign of her third son, Henry III. He dispensed with her advice only in the last months of her life and outlived her by seven months.

Catherine's three sons reigned in an age of almost constant civil and religious war in France. The problems facing the monarchy were complex and daunting. However, Catherine was able to maintain the monarchy and the state institutions functioning—even at a minimum level. At first, Catherine compromised and made concessions to the rebelling Calvinist Protestants, or Huguenots, as they became known. However, she failed to fully grasp the theological issues that drove their movement. Later she resorted (in frustration and anger) to hard-line policies against them. In return, she came to be blamed for the persecutions carried out under her sons' rule, and in particular, for the St. Bartholomew's Day massacre of 1572, during which thousands of Huguenots were killed both in Paris and throughout France.

Some historians have excused Catherine from blame for the worst decisions of the crown, though evidence for her ruthlessness can be found in her letters. In practice, her authority was always limited by the effects of the civil wars. Therefore, her policies may be seen as desperate measures to keep the Valois monarchy on the throne at all costs and her patronage of the arts as an attempt to glorify a monarchy (whose prestige was in steep decline). Without Catherine, it is unlikely that her sons would have remained in power. According to Mark Strage, one of her biographers, Catherine was for most of the 16th century "the most important woman in Europe."

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  1. 1.0 1.1 Catherine de' Medici, in Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia.