Catherine de Medici was born to the powerful Medici family of Italy in 1519. However, her parents died when she was still a baby. She was raised in various covenants and received the best education a female could in that period.
When Catherine was 14-years-old, Pope Clement arranged her marriage to King Francis I of France’s younger son, Henry of Orleans. However, after the death of both Francis and Henry’s older brother, Catherine and Henry II became King and Queen of France.
Catherine was very unpopular with the French people despite her intelligence and political awareness. After her husband died in a jousting tournament, Catherine gained a more involved role in ruling with her sons.
Catherine was very involved in the conflict between the French Huguenots and Catholics. This political disparity would continue to highlight the reigns of her sons, and would be a constant cause of concern until her death.
Catherine’s intelligence allowed her to become a vital player in the religious conflicts. She was a valuable advisor and peacemaker for her time.
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