Claude of France

Female 1499 - 1524  (24 years)

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  • Name Claude of France 
    Born 14 Oct 1499 
    Gender Female 
    Died 20 Jul 1524 
    Person ID I781  King of Scots
    Last Modified 16 Feb 2009 

    Family Francis I King of France,   b. 12 Sep 1494, Cognac, Charente, France Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 31 Mar 1547, Château de Rambouillet, Rambouillet, Yvelines, France Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 52 years) 
    Married 18 May 1514 
     1. Louise Princess of France,   b. 19 Aug 1515,   d. 21 Sep 1517  (Age 2 years)
     2. Charlotte Princess of France,   b. 23 Oct 1516,   d. 18 Sep 1524  (Age 7 years)
     3. Francis III Duke of Brittany,   b. 28 Feb 1518,   d. 10 Aug 1536, Turin, Capdrot, France Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 18 years)
     4. Henry II King of France,   b. 31 Mar 1519, St-Germain-en-Laye, Paris, France Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 10 Jul 1559, Paris, France Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 40 years)
     5. Madeleine or Magdalene of Valois,   b. 10 Aug 1520, St-Germain-en-Laye, Paris, France Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 07 Jul 1537, Edinburgh Castle Edinburgh, Midlothian, Scotland Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 16 years)
     6. Charles II of Valois Duke of Orleans,   b. 22 Jan 1522,   d. 09 Sep 1545  (Age 23 years)
     7. Margaret of France (Duchess of Berry),   b. 05 Jun 1523, St-Germain-en-Laye, Paris, France Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 15 Sep 1574, Turin, Capdrot, France Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 51 years)
    Last Modified 16 Feb 2009 
    Family ID F315  Group Sheet

  • Photos
    Claude of France
    Claude of France
    Personal Collection

  • Notes 
    • Claude of France (14 October 1499 ? 20 July 1524), Queen Consort of France and Duchess of Brittany in her own right, was the eldest daughter of Louis XII of France and Anne, Duchess of Brittany.

      As the first wife of Francis I of France, she was the mother of Henry II, and thus grandmother of the last three kings of the Valois line and also of Elisabeth, Queen consort of Spain; Claude, Duchess consort of Lorraine; and Marguerite, the Queen consort of Henry IV of France. She is also the maternal grandmother of Charles Emmanuel I, Duke of Savoy.

      Betrothals and marriage
      Because her mother, Anne, Duchess of Brittany, had no surviving sons, Claude became heiress to the Duchy of Brittany. The crown of France, however, could pass only to and through male heirs, according to Salic Law. In 1504, Anne, eager to keep Brittany separate from the French crown, effected the Treaty of Blois, which promised Claude's hand in marriage to the future Holy Roman Emperor Charles V with the promise of Brittany and the Duchy of Burgundy. The prospect of a reduced France surrounded on several sides was unacceptable to the Valois, and so the betrothal was soon canceled.

      The French nobles argued against a betrothal to a foreigner, urging Louis XII to marry Claude to her cousin François, Duke of Angoulême, "who is at least all French," and was also the heir-presumptive to the French crown. In 1506, the child was betrothed to François. In 1514, when her mother died, Claude became Duchess of Brittany; and on 18 May 1514, at Saint-Germain-en-Laye, she married François.

      Court life
      Claude, the pawn of so much dynastic maneuvering, was short in stature and afflicted with scoliosis, which gave her a hunched back. She was eclipsed at court by her mother-in-law, Louise of Savoy, and her sister-in-law, the literary Marguerite, Queen Consort of Navarre.

      When François became King in 1515, two of Claude's ladies-in-waiting were the English sisters Mary and Anne Boleyn. Mary became the king's mistress before returning home in about 1519. Anne served as Claude's official translator whenever there were English visitors, such as in 1520. Anne was also a temporary companion to Claude's younger sister, Renée. Anne Boleyn returned to England in 1521, where she eventually became the Queen Consort of Henry VIII.

      Claude's life was spent in an endless round of annual pregnancies. Her husband had many mistresses, but was usually relatively discreet. Claude imposed a strict moral code on her own household, which only a few chose to flout.

      Claude and Francis I had seven children:

      Louise, Princess of France (August 19, 1515 - September 21, 1517) - died young.
      Charlotte, Princess of France (October 23, 1516 - September 8, 1524) - died young.
      Francis, Dauphin of France (February 28, 1518 - August 10, 1536) - died young.
      Henry II, King of France (March 31, 1519 - July 10, 1559) - married Catherine de' Medici. Had issue.
      Madeleine, Princess of France (August 10, 1520 - July 2, 1537) - married James V of Scotland. No issue
      Charles of Valois, Duke of Orleans (January 22, 1522 - September 9, 1545) - Died young. Had no issue.
      Marguerite of France (June 5, 1523 - September 14, 1574) - married Emmanuel Philibert, Duke of Savoy in 1559. Had issue.

      Death and later events
      Claude died in 1524, when she was only twenty-four. She was initially succeeded as ruler of Brittany by her eldest son, the Dauphin François, who became Duke François III, with Claude's widower King François I as guardian. After the Dauphin's untimely death in 1536, Claude's second son, Henry, Duke of Orleans, became Dauphin and Duke of Brittany. He later became King of France as Henry II.

      Claude's widowed husband himself remarried several years after Claude's death, to Eleanor of Habsburg, the sister of Emperor Charles V. The atmosphere at court became considerably more debauched, and there were rumours that King François's death in 1547 was due to syphilis.

      "Reine Claude" plum
      Claude is remembered in a classic small plum, the size of a walnut, pale green with a glaucous bloom. It is still called "Reine Claude" (literally, "Queen Claude,") in France and is known in England as a "greengage."

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