Valentina of Milan
|Duchess of Orléans|
Illuminated miniature from Jean Froissart's Chroniques
|Countess of Vertus|
|Tenure||17 August 1389 – 4 December 1408|
|Predecessor||Gian Galeazzo Visconti|
|Successor||Philip of Orléans|
Pavia, Visconti fiefdoms, Italy
|Died||1408 (aged 37)|
Château de Blois, Orléanais, France
Louis I, Duke of Orléans
(m. 1389;died 1407)
|Father||Gian Galeazzo Visconti|
|Mother||Isabella of France|
Valentina Visconti (1371 – 4 December 1408) was a Countess of Vertus, and Duchess consort of Orléans as the wife of Louis de Valois, Duke of Orléans, the younger brother of King Charles VI of France.
Valentina was born in Milan as the second of the four children of Gian Galeazzo Visconti, the first Duke of Milan,and his first wife Isabelle, a daughter of King John II the Good of France. She was probably named after her paternal great-grandmother Valentina Doria, wife of Stefano Visconti.
After her mother's death in childbirth in 1373, Valentina and her siblings were raised by their paternal grandmother Bianca of Savoy and aunt Violante Visconti. The deaths of her brothers Carlo (1374), Gian Galeazzo (1376) and Azzone (1381) left Valentina as the only surviving child of her parents' marriage and the Countess of Vertus, a title she shared with her spouse.
In 1380, a marriage was negotiated with her cousin Carlo Visconti, Lord of Parma (fourth son of Bernabò Visconti, Lord of Milan) and a papal dispensation was even granted; however, Bernabò later annulled the betrothal and, in 1382, married his son to a French noblewoman, Beatrice of Armagnac.
The death of Bernabò in 1385 left Gian Galeazzo as the sole ruler over the Visconti inheritance, and with this Valentina's status changed considerably. At this point, the new Lord of Milan opened negotiations with King Wenceslaus of Germany and Bohemia for a marriage between Valentina and his half-brother John of Görlitz; at the same time, he also negotiated a union with Louis II of Anjou, titular King of Naples (who was at that time was betrothed to Lucia Visconti, one of Bernabò's daughters). However, Marie of Blois, Dowager Duchess of Anjou finally cancelled the negotiations, and then Gian Galeazzo turned his attention to his nephew-by-marriage Louis, Duke of Touraine, second son of King Charles V of France and brother of the reigning Charles VI. King Wenceslaus became aware of the double game of Gian Galeazzo, and broke off the negotiations with a letter full of insults, leaving Louis the only suitor of Valentina, his first cousin.
Because of the close relationship between bride and groom, a papal dispensation was granted on 25 November 1386, and the marriage contract was signed on 27 January 1387 in Paris.Valentina received as a dowry the County of Vertus (which was the dowry of her own mother at the time of her marriage in 1348) and the city of Asti, with the sums of 450,000 florins in cash and 75,000 florins in jewelry. In the contract was also stipulated that in absence of male heirs, Valentina would inherit the Visconti dominions. It was because of this, that her grandson Louis XII of France claimed the Duchy of Milan and embarked on the Italian Wars. The marriage by proxy was celebrated three months later, on 8 April, in both the Milanese and French courts.
Valentina was only able to leave Milan for France on 23 June 1389, because of "reasons of security" given to her father: in fact, Gian Galeazzo wanted to amend the marriage contract after the pregnancy of his second wife Caterina Visconti (another Bernabò's daughters) ended. Only after the birth of his son Gian Maria on 7 September 1388 did he feel secure enough to send his daughter to France.
Escorted by her paternal cousin Amadeus VII, Count of Savoy and a retinue of 300 knights, Valentina was finally handed to Louis's envoys. The formal marriage took place in the city of Melun, on 17 August 1389.
The union produced eight children:
In 1392 her husband exchanged the Duchy of Touraine for the Duchy of Orléans; since then, Valentina was styled Duchess of Orléans.
Because of intrigues at the court of Charles VI of France and the enmity of the queen, Isabeau of Bavaria-Ingolstadt, Valentina was exiled from the court and had to leave Paris. There were rumours that Isabeau was having an affair with Louis and that Valentina was very close to the King, who was in poor mental health.
A patroness of Eustache Deschamps, who wrote poetry in her honour, she was also the mother of one of France's most famous poets, Charles of Orléans.
Louis de Valois' murder was orchestrated by his cousin and political rival John the Fearless, Duke of Burgundy in 1407.Valentina outlived her husband by only a little over a year, dying at Blois at the age of 37.
|Ancestors of Valentina Visconti, Duchess of Orléans|
Gian Galeazzo Visconti, was the first Duke of Milan (1395) and ruled the late-medieval city just before the dawn of the Renaissance. He was the founding patron of the Certosa di Pavia, completing the Visconti Castle at Pavia begun by his father and furthering work on the Duomo of Milan.
Charles of Orléans was Duke of Orléans from 1407, following the murder of his father, Louis I, Duke of Orléans, on the orders of John the Fearless, Duke of Burgundy. He was also Duke of Valois, Count of Beaumont-sur-Oise and of Blois, Lord of Coucy, and the inheritor of Asti in Italy via his mother Valentina Visconti, daughter of Gian Galeazzo Visconti, Duke of Milan.
Galeazzo II Visconti was a member of the Visconti dynasty and a ruler of Milan, Italy.
The Visconti of Milan are a noble Italian family. They rose to power in Milan during the Middle Ages where they ruled from 1277 to 1447, initially as lords then as dukes, and several collateral branches still exist. The effective founder of the Visconti lordship of Milan was the archbishop Ottone, who wrested control of the city from the rival Della Torre family in 1277.
Louis I of Orléans was Duke of Orléans from 1392 to his death. He was also, Duke of Touraine (1386–1392), Count of Valois (1386?–1406) Blois (1397–1407), Angoulême (1404–1407), Périgord (1400–1407) and Soissons (1404–07).
Louis II was Duke of Anjou and Count of Provence from 1384 to 1417; he claimed the Kingdom of Naples, but only ruled parts of the kingdom from 1390 to 1399. His father, Louis I of Anjou—the founder of the House of Valois-Anjou—was a younger son of King John II of France and the adopted son of Queen Joanna I of Naples. When his father died during a military campaign in Naples in 1384, Louis II was still a child. He inherited Anjou from his father, but his mother, Marie of Blois, could not convince his uncles, John, Duke of Berry and Philip II, Duke of Burgundy, to continue her husband's war for Naples. The Provençal nobles and towns refused to acknowledge Louis II as their lawful ruler, but Marie of Blois persuaded them one after another to swear fealty to him between 1385 and 1387.
Isabeau of Bavaria was queen of France between 1385 and 1422. She was born into the House of Wittelsbach as the eldest daughter of Duke Stephen III of Bavaria-Ingolstadt and Taddea Visconti of Milan. At age 15 or 16, Isabeau was sent to the young King Charles VI of France; the couple wed three days after their first meeting.
Claude of France 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.
Bernabò or Barnabò Visconti was an Italian soldier and statesman who was Lord of Milan.
Isabella of France (1348–1372) was a French princess and member of the House of Valois, as well as the wife of Gian Galeazzo Visconti, who after her death became Duke of Milan.
Taddea Visconti, Duchess of Bavaria was an Italian noblewoman of the Visconti family, the ruling house in Milan from 1277 to 1447. She was the first wife of Stephen III, Duke of Bavaria, and the mother of the French queen Isabeau of Bavaria.
Caterina Visconti was Duchess of Milan as the second spouse of Gian Galeazzo Visconti, the first Duke of Milan, and was the mother of two succeeding Dukes of Milan, Gian Maria and Filippo Maria Visconti. Caterina served as Regent of Milan from 1402 to 1404, during her elder son's minority, but due to Gian Maria's suspicion of her alleged treason, he had his mother arrested and imprisoned in the castle of Monza, where she was presumably poisoned in 1404.
Beatrice Regina della Scala was Lady of Milan by marriage to Bernabò Visconti, Lord of Milan, and politically active as the adviser of her spouse.
Elisabetta Visconti, also known as Elisabeth or Elizabeth, was a younger child of Bernabò Visconti and his wife, Beatrice Regina della Scala. Elisabetta was a member of the House of Visconti.
Agnese Visconti also known as Agnes was a daughter of Bernabò Visconti and his wife Beatrice Regina della Scala. She was consort of Mantua by her marriage to Francesco I Gonzaga.
Margaret, Countess of Vertus, was a French vassal, Countess of Vertus and Etampes 1420–1466. She was the daughter of Louis I, Duke of Orléans, and Valentina Visconti.
Richard, Count of Montfort, Vertus and Étampes was the eighth child and youngest son of John IV, Duke of Brittany, and his third wife, Joan of Navarre. Not much is known of his life, except that he was the father of Francis II, Duke of Brittany. In his lifetime he held many titles and positions; he was appointed captain-general of Guyenne and Poitou in 1419, became comte d'Étampes and seigneur de Palluau et de Châteaumur de Thouarcé, de Bourgomeaux-l'Evêque et de Ligron on 8 May 1423, and Count of Mantes in October 1425.
Bianca of Savoy was Lady of Milan by marriage to Galeazzo II Visconti. She was the only surviving daughter of Aimone, Count of Savoy and Yolande Palaeologina of Montferrat.
Lucia Visconti was a Milanese aristocrat who was the Countess of Kent by marriage from 1407 to 1424. She was one of fifteen legitimate children of Bernabò Visconti, who, along with his brother Galeazzo, was Lord of Milan. Her father negotiated for his infant daughter to marry Louis II of Anjou but Bernabò was deposed and the negotiations dropped. As a teenager, it was then intended that she marry the English noble Henry Bolingbroke, whom she had met as a girl, but after he was banished to France, the marriage negotiations were suspended. She was briefly wedded in 1399 to the future Elector of Saxony Fredrick of Thuringia, before the marriage was annulled.
Valentine de Milan is an opera by the French composer Étienne Méhul with a libretto by Jean-Nicolas Bouilly. It takes the form of a drame lyrique in three acts. Méhul began work on the score in 1807, revising it in 1815, but it was left incomplete when he died in 1817. His nephew Joseph Daussoigne-Méhul finished the opera, adding five numbers, and it premiered at the Opéra-Comique, Paris on 28 November 1822, five years after Méhul's death. At the end of the performance, a bust of Méhul was brought on stage and crowned with flowers and laurel wreaths to the acclamation of the audience. The opera was a success and there were frequent performances until 1825, when it disappeared from the Opéra-Comique's repertory. Louis Spohr staged a German version in Kassel in 1824.
Valentina Visconti, Duchess of OrléansBorn: 1371 Died: 4 December 1408
| Countess of Vertus |