Queen Claude (École française, 16th century)
|Duchess of Brittany|
|Reign||9 January 1514 – 20 July 1524|
|Queen consort of France|
|Tenure||1 January 1515 – 20 July 1524|
|Coronation||10 May 1517|
|Born||13 October 1499|
|Died||20 July 1524 24) (aged|
Château de Blois
|Spouse||Francis I of France|
Francis III, Duke of Brittany
Henry II, King of France
Madeleine, Queen of Scots
Charles, Duke of Orléans
Margaret, Duchess of Savoy
|Father||Louis XII of France|
|Mother||Anne, Duchess of Brittany|
Claude of France (13 October 1499 – 20 July 1524) was a queen consort of France by marriage to Francis I. She was also ruling Duchess of Brittany from 1514. She was a daughter of the French king Louis XII of France and Anne of Brittany.
Claude was born on 13 October 1499 in Romorantin-Lanthenayas the eldest daughter of King Louis XII of France and Duchess Anne of Brittany. She was named after Claudius of Besançon, a saint her mother had invoked during a pilgrimage so she could give birth to a living child: during her two marriages, Queen Anne had at least fourteen pregnancies, of whom, only two children survived to adulthood: Claude and her youngest sister Renée, born in 1510.
Because her mother had no surviving sons, Claude was heir presumptive to the Duchy of Brittany. The crown of France, however, could pass only to and through male heirs, according to Salic Law. Eager to keep Brittany separated from the French crown, Queen Anne, with help of Cardinal Georges d'Amboise, promoted a solution for this problem. The Cardinal essentially began a dispute with Pierre de Rohan-Gié(1451–1513), Lord of Rohan, known as the Marshal of Gié, who fervently supported the idea of a marriage between the princess and the Duke of Valois, the heir presumptive to the French throne, and thus kept Brittany united to France.
On 10 August 1501 at Lyon the marriage contract between Claude and the future Holy Roman Emperor Charles V was signed by François de Busleyden, Archbishop of Besançon, William de Croÿ, Nicolas de Rutter and Pierre Lesseman, all ambassadors of Duke Philip of Burgundy, Charles' father. A part of the contract promised the inheritance of Brittany to the young prince, already the next in line to thrones of Castile and Aragon, Austria and the Burgundian Estates. In addition, the first Treaty of Blois, signed in 1504, gave Claude a considerable dowry in the -likely- case of Louis XII's death without male heirs: besides Brittany, Claude also received the Duchies of Milan and Burgundy, the Counties of Blois and Astiand the territory of the Republic of Genoa, then occupied by France. Thus, all the causes of the future rivalry between Charles V and Francis I were decided even before the succession of the two princes.
In 1505, Louis XII, very sick, fearing for his life and not wishing to threaten the reign of his only heir, cancelled the engagement in the Estates Generals of Tours, in favor of the young Duke of Valois, the future Francis I. Indeed, previously Louise of Savoy obtained from the king a secret promise that Claude could be married to her son.Anne of Brittany, furious to see the triumph of Marshal of Gié, exerted all her influence to obtain his conviction for treason before the Parliament of Paris.
On 9 January 1514, when her mother died, Claude became Duchess of Brittany; and four months later, on 18 May, she married her cousin Francis at Saint-Germain-en-Laye. With this union, it was secured that Brittany would remain united to the French crown, if the third marriage of Louis XII with Mary of England (celebrated on 9 October 1514) would not produce the long-waited heir. However, the union was short-lived and childless: Louis XII died less than three months later, on 1 January 1515, reputedly worn out by his exertions in the bedchamber.Francis and Claude became king and queen, the third time in history that the Duchess of Brittany became Queen of France.
As Queen, Claude was eclipsed at court by her mother-in-law, Louise of Savoy, and her sister-in-law, the literary Navarrese queen Margaret of Angoulême. She never ruled over Brittany; in 1515 she gave the government of her domains to her husband in perpetuity. Unlike her younger sister Renée, she seems to have never showed any interest in her maternal inheritance nor had any disposition to politics, as she preferred to devote herself to religion under the influence, according to some sources, of Christopher Numar of Forli, who was the confessor of her mother-in-law. Gabriel Miron repeated his functions under Anne of Brittany and remained as Chancellor of Queen Claude and first doctor; he wrote a book entitled de Regimine infantium tractatus tres.
After Francis became king in 1515, Anne Boleyn stayed as a member of Claude's household. It's assumed that Anne served as Claude's translator whenever there were English visitors, such as in 1520, at the Field of Cloth of Gold. Anne Boleyn returned to England in late 1521, where she eventually became Queen of England as the second wife of Henry VIII. Diane de Poitiers, another of Claude's ladies, was a principal inspiration of the School of Fontainebleau of the French Renaissance, and became the lifelong mistress of Claude's son, Henry II.
Claude was crowned Queen of France at St. Denis Basilica on 10 May 1517 by Cardinal Philippe de Luxembourg (also known as Cardinal du Mans), who "anointed her in the breast and forehead".
She spent almost all her marriage in an endless round of annual pregnancies. Her husband had many mistresses, but was usually relatively discreet. Claude imposed a strict moral code on her own household, which only a few chose to flout.
About Claude, the historian Brantôme wrote:
I must speak about madame Claude of France, who was very good and very charitable, and very sweet to everyone and never showed displeasure to anybody in her court or of her domains. She was deeply loved by the King Louis and the Queen Anne, her father and mother, and she was always a good daughter to them; after the King took the peaceful Duke of Milan, he made him declare and proclaim her in the Parliament of Paris the Duchess of the two most beautiful Duchies of Christendom, Milan and Brittany, one from the father and the other from the mother. What an heiress! if you please. Both Duchies joined in all good deed to our beautiful kingdom.
The pawn of so much dynastic maneuvering, Claude was short in stature and afflicted with scoliosis, which gave her a hunched back, while her husband was bigger and athletic. The successive pregnancies made her appear continuously plump, which drew mockeries at Court. Foreign ambassadors noted her "corpulence", claudication, the strabismus affecting her left eye, her small size, and her ugliness, but they acknowledged her good qualities.She was little loved at court after the death of her parents. Brantôme testified:
That the king, her husband gave her the pox, which shortened her days. And madame the Regent [Louise of Savoy] bullied her constantly (...).
The king's will imposed the omnipresence of his mistress, Françoise de Foix.
Claude died on 20 July 1524 at the Château de Blois, aged twenty-four. The exact cause of her death was disputed among sources and historians: while some alleged that she died in childbirth or after a miscarriage,others believed that she died for exhaustion after her many pregnancies or after suffering from bone tuberculosis (like her mother) and finally some believed that she died from syphilis caught from her husband. She was buried at St. Denis Basilica.
She was initially succeeded as ruler of Brittany by her eldest son, the Dauphin Francis, who became Duke Francis III, with Claude's widower King Francis I as guardian. After the Dauphin's death in 1536, Claude's second son, Henry, Duke of Orleans, became Dauphin and Duke of Brittany. He later became King of France as Henry II.
Claude's widowed husband himself remarried several years after Claude's death, to Eleanor of Austria, the sister of Emperor Charles V. The atmosphere at court became considerably more debauched, and there were rumours that King Francis's death in 1547 was due to syphilis.
Claude and Francis I had seven children, two of whom lived past the age of thirty:
Claude is remembered in a classic small plum, the size of a walnut, pale green with a glaucous bloom. It is still called "Reine Claude" (literally, "Queen Claude") in France and is known in England as a "greengage".
Queen Claude of France is played by Gabriella Wright in season one of the Showtime series The Tudors .
"Kind Queen Claude" is a major character in Robin Maxwell's Mademoiselle Boleyn.
In the 2015-16 Spanish historical fiction television series Carlos, rey emperador (Charles, King Emperor), Queen Claude was played by Eva Rufo.
|Ancestors of Claude of France|
Charles VIII, called the Affable, was King of France from 1483 to his death in 1498. He succeeded his father Louis XI at the age of 13. His elder sister Anne acted as regent jointly with her husband Peter II, Duke of Bourbon until 1491 when the young king turned 21 years of age. During Anne's regency, the great lords rebelled against royal centralisation efforts in a conflict known as the Mad War (1485–1488), which resulted in a victory for the royal government.
Louis XII was King of France from 1498 to 1515 and King of Naples from 1501 to 1504. The son of Charles, Duke of Orléans, and Maria of Cleves, he succeeded his cousin Charles VIII, who died without direct heirs in 1498.
The Duchy of Brittany was a medieval feudal state that existed between approximately 939 and 1547. Its territory covered the northwestern peninsula of Europe, bordered by the Atlantic Ocean on the west, the English Channel to the north. It was less definitively bordered by the Loire River to the south, and Normandy and other French provinces to the east. The Duchy was established after the expulsion of Viking armies from the region around 939. The Duchy, in the 10th and 11th centuries, was politically unstable, with the dukes holding only limited power outside their own personal lands. The Duchy had mixed relationships with the neighbouring Duchy of Normandy, sometimes allying itself with Normandy, and at other times, such as the Breton-Norman War, entering into open conflict.
Anne of Brittany was Duchess of Brittany from 1488 until her death, and queen consort of France from 1491 to 1498 and from 1499 to her death. She is the only woman to have been queen consort of France twice. During the Italian Wars, Anne also became queen consort of Naples, from 1501 to 1504, and duchess consort of Milan, in 1499–1500 and from 1500 to 1512.
Duke of Bourbon is a title in the peerage of France. It was created in the first half of the 14th century for the eldest son of Robert of France, Count of Clermont and Beatrice of Burgundy, heiress of the lordship of Bourbon. In 1416, with the death of John of Valois, the Dukes of Bourbon were simultaneously Dukes of Auvergne.
Suzanne de Bourbon was suo jure Duchess of Bourbon and Auvergne from 1503 to her death alongside her husband Charles III.
Renée of France, was the Duchess of Ferrara from 31 October 1534 until 3 October 1559 due to her marriage to Ercole II d'Este, grandson of Pope Alexander VI. She was the younger surviving child of Louis XII of France and Anne of Brittany. In her later life she became an important supporter of the Protestant Reformation and ally of John Calvin.
Louise of Savoy was a French noble and regent, Duchess suo jure of Auvergne and Bourbon, Duchess of Nemours, and the mother of King Francis I. She was politically active and served as the regent of France in 1515, in 1525–1526 and in 1529.
Anne of France was a French princess and regent, the eldest daughter of Louis XI by Charlotte of Savoy. Anne was the sister of Charles VIII, for whom she acted as regent during his minority from 1483 until 1491. During the regency she was one of the most powerful women of late fifteenth-century Europe, and was referred to as "Madame la Grande". Between 1503 and 1521, she also acted as de facto regent of the Duchy of Bourbon during the reign of her daughter Suzanne, Duchess of Bourbon.
Marguerite de Navarre, also known as Marguerite of Angoulême and Margaret of Navarre, was the princess of France, Queen of Navarre, and Duchess of Alençon and Berry. She was married to Henry II of Navarre. Her brother became King of France, as Francis I, and the two siblings were responsible for the celebrated intellectual and cultural court and salons of their day in France.
In the 11th and 12th centuries the Countship of Penthièvre in Brittany belonged to a branch of the sovereign House of Brittany. It initially belonged to the House of Rennes. Alan III, Duke of Brittany, gave it to his brother Eudes in 1035, and his descendants formed a cadet branch of the ducal house.
Françoise de Foix, Comtesse de Châteaubriant was a chief mistress of Francis I of France.
The House of Montfort was a French noble family, which reigned in the Duchy of Brittany from 1365 to 1514. It was a cadet branch of the House of Dreux; it was thus ultimately part of the Capetian dynasty. It should not be confused with the older House of Montfort which ruled as Counts of Montfort-l'Amaury.
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Margaret of Brittany was a duchess consort of Brittany. She was the elder of the two daughters of Francis I, Duke of Brittany, by his second wife, Isabella of Scotland.
The union of Brittany and France was a critical step in the formation of modern-day France. Brittany had been a semi-independent component of the Kingdom of France since Clovis I was given authority over the Gallo-Roman domain during the 5th century. It was first recorded as a "duchy" during the rule of Nominoe in 846. Over the centuries, the fealty demonstrated by the Duchy of Brittany toward the French king depended significantly on the individuals holding the two titles, as well as the involvement of the English monarchy at that particular time. The reign of Francis II, Duke of Brittany, was at an especially crucial time, as the nobles struggled to maintain their autonomy against the increasing central authority desired by Louis XI of France. As a result of several wars, treaties, and papal decisions, Brittany was united with France through the eventual marriage of Louis XI's son Charles VIII to the heiress of Brittany, Anne in 1491. However, because of the different systems of inheritance between the two realms, the crown and the duchy were not held by the same hereditary claimant until the reign of Henry II, beginning 1547.
Anne of Brittany was the object of representations very early on. The royal propaganda of Charles VIII and, later on, of Louis XII idealized her as a symbol of the perfect queen, on the union between the kingdom and the duchy, and of the return to peace. Maximilian's Austria having been evicted from the marriage, had a different perspective on the events. Throughout the centuries, historians and popular imagery forged a very different Anne of Brittany, attributing her physical or psychological characteristics or actions that are not necessarily verifiable through historical data.
Claude of France
Cadet branch of the Capetian dynastyBorn: 13 October 1499 Died: 20 July 1524
| Duchess of Brittany |
| Countess of Étampes |
Title next held byJohn V
Mary of England
| Queen consort of France |
Title next held byEleanor of Austria