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Henri IV - An unfinished reign


Marie de Médicis


Marie de Médicis was the daughter of the Grand Duke of Tuscany, Francesco I de Medici and Joanna of Austria. She was, on her mother's side, the granddaughter of Ferdinand I, the Holy Roman Emperor.

Born on 26 April 1575 in Florence, Marie spent her childhood in Italy, where she was given a solid education. In 1600, Henri IV, for both dynastic and financial reasons (her dowry came to 600,000 crowns!), decided to marry her and make her queen of France. A sumptuous ceremony was held at the Duomo, where the marriage was celebrated in the absence of the king, who was represented by the Grand Duke himself. Marie de Médicis then sailed to France, disembarking at Marseilles and meeting Henri IV in Lyons, where a second marriage ceremony was held on 17 December 1600, during which the couple received the blessing of the papal legate. "Produce children!" her father had told her, and Marie fulfilled the hopes that had been placed in her. The Dauphin Louis (the future Louis XIII) was born at Fontainebleau on 27 September 1601, and he was followed by no less than five others. On 13 May 1610, the day before her husband's assassination, Marie de Médicis was crowned queen of France at Saint-Denis. Within hours of Henri's death, she was made regent and ruled in the name of her son Louis XIII until 1617.

Portrait of Marie de Médicis
© RMN / Droits réservés
Marie de Médicis, queen of France, painting by Frans Pourbus the Young. Musée du Louvre, INV1710

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