Marie de’ Medici was the Queen of France and Henry IV’s second wife. She was a descendant of the great and wealthy ‘House of Medici.’ King Henry IV was able to pay off his debts thanks to her marriage and the large dowry he received as a result of the match. While she loathed the King’s obvious extramarital affairs, he despised her naïve faith in her wicked and cunning maid Leonara and her husband Concino Concini. After King Henry IV was slain, the Parliament of Paris appointed her as regent for her son Louis until he reached the age of majority. Continue Concini assisted her in overturning King Henry IV’s anti-Spanish stance. Even when King Louis XIII reached adulthood, she and Concino continued to rule, ignoring and referring to him as King Louis XIII. For her endless political associations, she had hard relations with her son King Louis XIII, and she even risked banishment. She is known for her extraordinary artistic support, as well as her costly and expansive building creations, which rank among the finest works in Paris to this day.
Childhood and Adolescence
As a descendant of the affluent and powerful ‘House of Medici,’ Marie de’ Medici was born on April 26, 1575, in Palazzo Pitti in Florence, Italy. She was the sixth daughter of Grand Duke of Tuscany Francesco I de Medici and his wife Archduchess Joanna of Austria.
Despite having a difficult childhood due to her mother’s early death and her father’s carelessness, she acquired a good education in the family tradition and established a strong foundation in the fine arts.
Marie France’s Queen
In October 1600, she married Henry IV of France at a lavish wedding ceremony in Lyon, France, attended by 4,000 people.
In terms of producing children, the marriage was a success, but it was not a happy one, since Marie and Henry clashed over his girlfriends.
She was crowned Queen of France on May 13, 1610, and Henry IV was slain the next day. Following his assassination, the Parliament of Paris appointed her as regent for her son Louis XIII until he reached the age of majority.
Her political knowledge was limited both before and during King Henry IV’s reign. Her scheming maid Leonora “Galigai” Dori and her nefarious Italian husband Concino Concini had a stronghold over her. Continue never fought in combat, but his and his wife’s shady dealings with the Queen earned him the titles of ‘Marshal of France’ and ‘Marquis d’Ancre.’
Under the influence of the Concini couple, Duke of Sully, a minister from King Henry IV’s period, was unjustly discharged. The Catholic Church’s Italian members attempted to crush Protestantism by utilizing their power.
A mutiny was building among numerous princes, led by Duke of Enghien and Henri de Bourbon, who deserted the court and threw open challenges, due to the regency’s arbitrary governance. They put pressure on her to convene the ‘Estates General’ in 1614 and 1615. Observing the royal waver, the Protestants became agitated.
Instability and expectations among nobles and aristocrats were fueled by her regency’s lack of experience and insight. On May 15, 1614, the treasury was drained by disbursing pensions and other rewards to the nobles in the hopes of buying them off. It still didn’t satisfy their dissatisfaction.
Concino assisted her in overturning King Henry IV’s anti-Habsburg stance and the ‘Treaty of Bruzolo.’ She recalled the French army from Europe, and she married her daughter to Philip IV, the future King of Spain, to strengthen the alliance. In 1615, she also orchestrated her son Louis XIII’s marriage to Anne of Austria.
She was a key figure in the development of Paris’s ‘Palais du Luxembourg’ in 1615. Her creative leaning was mirrored in the palace’s interiors, especially the furnishings. Salomon de Brosse designed the palace, which Marie referred to as ‘Palais Médicis.’
Even when King Louis XIII reached adulthood, she and Concino continued to govern in his name. Continue Concini’s dominance over the royal council and the court, combined with her bad judgment, worsened the regal weakness and return of revolt and instability in the regency.
In 1617, King Louis XIII, who had already reached the age of majority a few years before, staged a coup d’état to seize control of the regal authority previously held by Marie and the Concinis. The pro-Habsburg strategy was reversed, Marie was arrested, and she was exiled to the Château de Blois.
Concino Concini was slain on April 24, 1617, by Charles d’Albert de Luynes, one of Louis’ favorites. Cardinal Richelieu was accepted into Louis XIII’s bishopric after joining Marie’s regency in 1616.
With the help of her third son, Gaston, Duke of Orléans, she managed to flee in February 1619. Along with Gaston, she planned a revolution, but the King’s men were quickly defeated.
Marie and Louis have later reconciled thanks to Richelieu’s intercession, and she was given permission to take over a court at Anger.
She returned to the regal council in 1621. She lavishly decorated the ‘Palais du Luxembourg,’ including the ‘Marie de’ Medici Cycle,’ a series of spectacular and huge paintings by Peter Paul Rubens that chronicled her life from birth through her reconciliation with Louis. The palace’s construction was completed in 1623.
Following the death of the Duke of Luynes, Richelieu’s position grew, and he became a significant counselor to Louis. Together with her son Gaston, Marie plotted to depose Richelieu as chief minister. In November 1630, she plotted a coup, dubbed the ‘Day of Dupes,’ but was soundly defeated and forced to flee to Compiègne.
She was able to flee to Brussels in 1631. By influencing Richelieu’s opponents, she continued to plot against him. Mathieu de Morgues, a writer who had previously served Richelieu, was among them.
They started campaigns by distributing booklets criticizing France’s anti-Habsburg policies, Richelieu’s cabinet, and Marie’s favoritism. In 1638, she traveled to Amsterdam.
Her exile and conspiring against Richelieu lasted until 1642 when she died in Cologne.
Personal History and Legacy
She married King Henry IV of France in Lyon in October 1600, just a few months after the King divorced his first wife, Marguerite de Valois. Marie de’ Medici arrived with a sizable dowry.
Her son, the future King of France, Louis XIII, was born on September 27, 1601. Elisabeth, her first daughter, was born on November 22, 1602, and went on to marry King Philip IV of Spain, becoming Queen of Spain.
On February 10, 1606, her second daughter Christine, the Duchess of Savoy, was born, followed by her second son Nicholas Henri, the Duke of Orleans, on April 16, 1607. Nicholas died at a young age.
Gaston, her third son, was born on April 25, 1608, and subsequently became Duke of Orleans. Henrietta Mari, her youngest daughter and future Queen of England, was born on November 25, 1609, and married King Charles I of England.
Her relationship with Henry IV was tense because she despised his numerous extramarital affairs and frequently quarreled with his lovers, particularly Catherine Henriette de Balzac d’Entragues.
Later, she sympathized with and supported Henry IV’s banished ex-wife Marguerite de Valois, and played a key role in reconciling and reuniting the two.
She became the regent of her son King Louis XIII after King Henry IV was assassinated. She then removed Catherine, her husband’s leading mistress, from the court.
She died in Cologne on July 3, 1642, and her name was etched at the ‘Basilica of St Denis’ in Paris.
Estimated Net worth
Catherine is one of the wealthiest queens and one of the most popular. Catherine De Medici’s net worth is estimated to be $1.5 million.