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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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Marguerite De Valois

Marguerite De Valois

Scandalous Queen, Femme Savante

(p.275) 6 Marguerite De Valois
Queens and Mistresses of Renaissance France

Kathleen Wellman

Yale University Press

This chapter explores the reasons why Marguerite de Valois, daughter of Henry II and Catherine de Medici, was considered an unusual queen of France. Wife of Henry the IV, she was more popularly known as “Queen Margot,” and was one of the most maligned women in French history. Although Marguerite was an accomplished princess, political actor, and renowned intellectual, The Satiric Divorce, a pamphlet published in 1660, depicted an image of her which has prevailed for centuries—that of a woman of deranged, aberrant sexuality. This lurid account is the source of many stories told about Marguerite. It has had enduring credibility largely because it has been assumed for centuries that the distinguished humanist, historian, and Henry II's staunch Huguenot supporter Theodore Agrippa d'Aubigne was its author.

Keywords:   queen of France, Marguerite de Valois, Henry II, Catherine de Medici, Queen Margot, Satiric Divorce, aberrant sexuality, Huguenot supporter, Theodore Agrippa d'Aubigne

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