Sunday, June 20

Catherine de Medici: the ‘serpent queen’ who became one of France’s most powerful rulers in the 16th century

  • Estelle Paranque *
  • The BBC HistoryExtra

Catherine of Medici

Image source, Getty Images


The life and legacy of the fascinating, unpopular and influential monarch.

Catherine de Medici was never destined to be queen.

The ‘orphan of Florence’ suffered more losses during her childhood than most people in a lifetime. However, fate intervened and the ‘duchessina‘, as the Florentines called her, she ended up marrying a member of the French royal family.

Little did she know that, one day, she would become Queen of France.

She was born in Florence on April 13, 1519, and was the daughter of Lorenzo de Medici, the ruler of the kingdom of Florence, and his wife Madeleine de La Tour d’Auvergne.

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