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Queens and Mistresses of Renaissance France$
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Kathleen Wellman

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780300178852

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: October 2013

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300178852.001.0001

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Anne of Brittany

Anne of Brittany

The Limits and Prospects of a Queen

(p.59) 2 Anne of Brittany
Queens and Mistresses of Renaissance France

Kathleen Wellman

Yale University Press

This chapter juxtaposes the cases of Agnes Sorel, a famous mistress, and Anne of Brittany, a prominent queen, and considers who had more choices or autonomy and what made one or the other effective. Anne of Brittany was twice crowned queen of France by virtue of her marriage to two successive kings. Although Anne was queen, a position assumed to give a woman more power and authority than a mistress, the situation is not exactly clear. The queens who had reigned before her did not offer especially inspiring examples of political engagement, or of effective political or cultural influence. During the fifteenth century, the marriage negotiated for a prospective queen largely defined her future—particularly, the convention, protocol, and obligation that defined her life. However, the official status that came with being queen also provided access to funds and great potential to effect change.

Keywords:   political engagement, Anne of Brittany, cultural influence, fifteenth century, queen of France

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