Catherine de Médicis 1519-1589
Catherine de Medicis was born in Florence, Italy. Her Italian name was
From 1560 to 1574, Catherine ruled France
while her son Charles IX was still too young for the job.
The pressing matter in Catherine de
Médicis' days was the French
Wars of Religion, a series of battles between
Catholics. Catherine had her hands full trying to balance the hunger
for power of those two groups and to keep the
crown at the same time. Luckily for her, Catherine's brain was up
for the task.
In 1556, Catherine assisted
Besides excelling in politics, Catherine found also
much delight in unleashing her creative talent. Starting in 1563, she designed the
gardens of the castle at Chenonceau. Here is the photo.
Château de Chenonceau
The Family of Catherine de Médicis
Catherine's father was
Lorenzo de' Medici, the duke of Urbino.
Catherine's mother was
Madeleine de La Tour
In 1533, Catherine married Henry, the
duke of Orleans. In 1547, her Henry became French King
Henry II. Husband Henry II died
in 1559, which left Catherine a widow at forty. She slipped into her
black dress and never changed color for the rest of her life.
Catherine and Henry had ten children.
Three of them,
Charles IX, and Henry III, became kings of France.
Catherine de Medicis
François Clouet, around 1560, Library