Anne of Brittany 1477–1514 Duchess of Brittany
Anne of Brittany
Duchess of Brittany
Anne of Brittany led the duchy* of Brittany after her father, the duke, died in 1488. As the wife of two French kings, she also played a significant role in the political and cultural life of France during the early years of the Renaissance.
Located on the western edge of France, Brittany was considered a desirable property. As a result Anne, its ruler, attracted numerous suitors from the royal families of Europe. Fearing that Brittany might end up in the hands of a foreign power, the French king Charles VIII attacked. He took control of the region and married Anne in 1491. This led in time to the union of Brittany with France.
Charles died in 1498, and the following year Anne married his successor, Louis XII. During Louis's reign, Anne made great efforts to encourage the arts. She brought poets, painters, decorators, and translators to the court to enhance the image of the king. Her support for the artist Jean Bourdichon resulted in the famous 1508 illustrated manuscript Book of Hours.
Anne's daughter Claude became the wife of one French king, Francis I, and the mother of another, Henry II. Anne always remained loyal to Brittany and tried to preserve its autonomy*.
(See alsoFrance. )
- * duchy
territory ruled by a duke or duchess
- * autonomy