Catherine de' Medici

Queen of France from 1547 to 1559 / From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Dear Wikiwand AI, let's keep it short by simply answering these key questions:

Can you list the top facts and stats about Catherine de' Medici?

Summarize this article for a 10 years old


Catherine de' Medici (Italian: Caterina de' Medici, pronounced [kateˈriːna de ˈmɛːditʃi]; French: Catherine de Médicis, pronounced [katʁin medisis]; 13 April 1519 – 5 January 1589) was a Florentine noblewoman born into the Medici family. She was Queen of France from 1547 to 1559 by marriage to King Henry II and the 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" since she had extensive, if at times varying, influence in the political life of France.[1]

Quick facts: Catherine de' Medici, Queen consort of France...
Catherine de' Medici
Portrait from the workshop of François Clouet, c. 1560
Queen consort of France
Tenure31 March 1547  10 July 1559
Coronation10 June 1549
Queen regent of France
Regency5 December 1560 – 17 August 1563
MonarchCharles IX
Born13 April 1519
Florence, Republic of Florence
Died5 January 1589(1589-01-05) (aged 69)
Château de Blois, Kingdom of France
Burial4 February 1589
Saint-Sauveur, Blois
4 April 1609
Saint Denis Basilica
(m. 1533; died 1559)
Caterina Maria Romula di Lorenzo de' Medici
FatherLorenzo de' Medici, Duke of Urbino
MotherMadeleine de La Tour d'Auvergne
SignatureCatherine de' Medici's signature

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 14, Catherine married Henry, the second son of King Francis I and Queen Claude of France, who would become Dauphin of France upon the death of his elder brother Francis in 1536. Catherine's marriage was arranged by her uncle Pope Clement VII. During his reign, Henry excluded Catherine from 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 but outlived her by just 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 maintained the monarchy and the state institutions functioning, even at a minimum level. At first, Catherine compromised and made concessions to the rebelling Calvinist Protestants, the 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 hardline policies against them.[2] In return, she was blamed for the persecutions carried out under her sons' rules, in particular the St. Bartholomew's Day massacre of 1572, during which thousands of Huguenots were killed in France.

Some historians have excused Catherine from blame for the worst decisions of the crown, but evidence for her ruthlessness can be found in her letters.[3] In practice, her authority was limited by the effects of the civil wars. Therefore, her policies may be seen as desperate measures to keep the House of Valois 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.[4] Without Catherine, it is unlikely that her sons would have remained in power.[5] Catherine has been called "the most important woman in Europe" in the 16th century.[6]

Oops something went wrong: