Sunday, 1 April 2012

Elisabeth of Valois

Elizabeth was born April 2nd 1545 in the Château de Fontainebleau. She was the oldest daughter of Henry II of France and Catherine de’Medici. Her childhood was spent in the French royal nursery with her brother and her future sister-in-law, Mary, Queen of Scots. Her father insisted that the two girls shared a bedroom and the two remained close friends for the rest of their lives (could Daddy dearest be planning for a future alliance maybe?)

Elisabeth was married by proxy at Notre Dame in Paris on the 22nd of June 1559 to Philip II of Spain. It was during her wedding festivities that her father was killed ... oops. Not the best way to start off a marriage. Elisabeth and Philip’s marriage was a a result of the Peace of Cateau Cambrésis and Elisabeth would be Philip’s third wife. She was 14, Philip was 32. Philip was completely and utterly enchanted by his new (child)bride, must have been a nice change after enduring a marriage to Mary I of England, he was so enchanted that he actually given up his mistress (shocker!). Apparently Elisabeth was pleased with her husband as well, she literally wrote home to her mother proclaiming herself to be fortunate to have married such a charming prince. Aww...

Philip turned out to be quite a devoted husband to Elisabeth, even staying by her side when she battled smallpox. Elisabeth’s first pregnancy in 1564 resulted in a miscarriage of twin girls – her later pregnancies resulted in her daughter Infanta Isabella Clara Eugenia of Spain on August 12th 1566 and Catherine Michelle of Spain on October 10th 1567. Elisabeth’s last pregnancy resulted in the miscarriage of son, and unfortunately Elisabeth did not survive this ordeal either. The both died on October 3rd 1568. 

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