Nicole, Duchess of Lorraine

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Duchess of Lorraine
Duchess consort of Lorraine
Nicole de Lorraine, Duchess of Lorraine by Moncornet.jpg
Born(1608-10-03)3 October 1608
Nancy, Lorraine
Died 2 February 1657(1657-02-02) (aged 48)
Paris, France
Spouse Charles IV, Duke of Lorraine
Full name
Nicole de Lorraine
House House of Lorraine
Father Henry II, Duke of Lorraine
Mother Margerita Gonzaga

Nicole de Lorraine [1] (3 October 1608 – 2 February 1657) was Duchess of Lorraine and Bar from 1 August 1624 to 21 November 1625, and Duchess consort in 1625–1634. She was born in Nancy, the daughter of Henry II, Duke of Lorraine and Bar, and Margerita Gonzaga. She died in Paris.

Nancy, France Prefecture and commune in Grand Est, France

Nancy is the capital of the north-eastern French department of Meurthe-et-Moselle, and formerly the capital of the Duchy of Lorraine, and then the French province of the same name. The metropolitan area of Nancy had a population of 434,565 inhabitants at the 2011 census, making it the 20th largest urban area in France. The population of the city of Nancy proper was 104,321 in 2014.

Henry II, Duke of Lorraine French noble

Henry II, known as "the Good ", was Duke of Lorraine from 1608 until his death. Leaving no sons, both of his daughters became Duchesses of Lorraine by marriage. He was a brother-in-law of Henry IV of France.



Her father had no son and wanted to leave the Duchy of Lorraine to Nicole, but a supposed testament by René II of Lorraine specified that the duchy could not bypass the male lineage. After negotiations with the male heirs, she married Charles IV, Duke of Lorraine, the eldest son of Francis, Count of Vaudémont on 23 May 1621. They had no children.

Charles IV, Duke of Lorraine Duke of Lorraine

Charles IV was Duke of Lorraine from 1624 until his death in 1675, with a brief interruption in 1634, when he abdicated under French pressure in favor of his younger brother, Nicholas Francis.

Duchess of Lorraine

His situation was complicated by the death of Henry II, 31 July 1624. She thereby became duchess of Lorraine. In November 1625, Francis, Count of Vaudémont, based on the "testament" of Rene II, claimed the duchy. The States-General of Lorraine felt it a legitimate request and Francis became Duke on 21 November 1625. Five days later, he abdicated in favor of his son, who became Duke Charles IV of Lorraine. The latter had managed to remove his wife's power and become Duke in his own right.

Duchess consort

Married by dynastic interest, the gap between Nicole and her husband grew with the events of 1625. Wishing to leave his wife, Charles tried in 1631 to have his marriage annulled by passing the death penalty - without proof - for witchcraft on Melchior of the Valley, the priest who had performed their marriage ceremony. But that injustice was not corroborated by The Church and Charles IV remained officially married to Nicole.

In 1635, Charles took the opportunity to get rid of his wife's authority, the false pretext that he had not been free to choose at the time of his marriage but did not persuade the papacy to annul the marriage.

Marriage Social union or legal contract between people called spouses that creates kinship

Marriage, also called matrimony or wedlock, is a socially or ritually recognised union between spouses that establishes rights and obligations between those spouses, as well as between them and any resulting biological or adopted children and affinity. The definition of marriage varies around the world not only between cultures and between religions, but also throughout the history of any given culture and religion, evolving to both expand and constrict in who and what is encompassed, but typically it is principally an institution in which interpersonal relationships, usually sexual, are acknowledged or sanctioned. In some cultures, marriage is recommended or considered to be compulsory before pursuing any sexual activity. When defined broadly, marriage is considered a cultural universal. A marriage ceremony is known as a wedding.

Nicole spent the last years of her life in Paris, where she died.


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  1. Bibliothèque historique de la France, chez Didot, Debure, Nyon, Moutard, Paris, 1778, p. 363:
Regnal titles
Preceded by
Henry II
Duchess of Lorraine
Succeeded by
Francis II
French nobility
Preceded by
Christina of Salm
Duchess consort of Lorraine
Succeeded by
Claude Françoise de Lorraine