Thursday, September 15, 2022

Catherine de Medici: Her Life and Patronage

Portrait of a young Catherine de Medici by Claude Corneille de Lyon, c. 1536

Catherine de Medici with the Head of Coligny by Joseph Hornung, early 19th century, via Victoria & Albert Museum, London

 From The Collector:

Henry II died in a tragic jousting accident in 1559. His untimely death thrust Catherine directly into the political spotlight, a position she had previously been denied by her late husband. Scheming was surely in Catherine de Medici’s genes. The marriage between her parents, and that between her and Francis, were part of the wider plot by the Medici family to extend their control beyond Florence. It would not take Catherine long to continue this legacy.

Indeed, she is now known for defining the reigns of her children, pulling strings from the sidelines. Her eldest son, Francis II, inherited the throne immediately after Henry II’s death. During the reign of Francis II, Catherine acted as a moderate foil to her daughter-in-law’s family, the Guises, who wanted to establish themselves as a political force. The Guises were viciously anti-Protestant, a fire which was further stoked by the failed plot by the Huguenots to gain power through abducting the king. Catherine tried to appease both sides through clemency towards the Protestants. This kind of lenience was destined not to last. (Read more.)


 My review of Gortner's novel The Confessions of Catherine de Medici, HERE.


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