Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Elizabeth of Austria, Queen of France

It had never even occurred to me that Charles IX was ever married but of course he was. His bride was the virtuous daughter of the Holy Roman Emperor, Maximilian II. To quote:
With her flawless white skin, long blond hair and perfect physique, she was considered one of the great beauties of the era. She was also regarded as demure, pious, and warm-hearted but naive and intensely innocent because of her sheltered upbringing. Still, she was intellectually talented. Elisabeth's brothers were educated by the Flemish writer and diplomat Ogier Ghiselin de Busbecq. The curious princess soon joined and even overshadowed them in their studies. Her mother Maria personally supervised the religious education of her daughters, and from her early childhood she was impressed by her namesake Saint Elisabeth of Hungary and reportedly took her as a model.

Very early, around 1559, a match between Elisabeth and the future King Charles IX of France was suggested.[3] In 1562, the Maréchal de Vieilleville, a member of the French delegation sent to Vienna, after seeing the eight-year-old princess, exclaimed: "Your Majesty, this is the Queen of France!". Although Vieilleville was not entitled to make an offer, Elisabeth's grandfather, the Holy Roman Emperor Ferdinand I, appeared interested. They exchanged gifts and initiated contacts between both countries—but no one bothered to teach French to the princess. (Read more.)

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