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Bona of Savoy (c. 1450–c. 1505)

Bona of Savoy (c. 1450–c. 1505)

Duchess of Milan. Name variations: Bona di Savoia; Bona Sforza. Born around 1450 in Savoy; died around 1505 in Italy; daughter of Louis, duke of Savoy, andAnne of Lusignan ; sister ofCharlotte of Savoy (c. 1442–1483), queen of France; married Galeazzo Maria Sforza (1444–1476), 5th duke of Milan (r. 1466–1476); children: Gian Galeazzo Sforza (1469–1494), 6th duke of Milan (r. 1476–1479); Ermes (1470–after 1502);Bianca Maria Sforza (1472–1510), Holy Roman empress; andAnna Sforza (1473–1497); (stepchildren) Carlo (b. 1461);Caterina Sforza (c. 1462–1509);Chiara Sforza (b. around 1464); and Alessandro.

Born into the ducal house of Savoy, Bona of Savoy was betrothed to Galeazzo Maria Sforza, son of the duke of Milan, as part of a political alliance between the two families. By then, Galeazzo had sired four illegitimate children with Lucrezia Landriani : one of whom was Caterina Sforza . Bona married Galeazzo and moved to the Milanese court in 1468, two years after he succeeded as duke. Known to be a loving mother to her son Gian Galeazzo and daughters Bianca Maria and Anna, Bona was said to have loved her stepchildren as well.

She had been married for eight years when Galeazzo was brutally murdered in 1476 by political foes. Their young son Gian Galeazzo succeeded as duke, and Bona was named regent of Milan. Her few years of governing were moderately successful, given the chaotic and warlike condition of Italian politics at the time. In 1480, she met and fell in love with Antonio Tassino, who was beneath her socially, and the Milanese people disapproved of their relationship. Maintaining the connection eventually cost Bona much of the support of the Milanese which she had previously enjoyed. This rift between the duchess-regent and her subjects was exploited by the Italian noble Ludovic Sforza, "Il Moro," who used it to his advantage when he usurped Bona's position and declared himself duke of Milan in 1480. Forced to retire to France, Bona returned to Italy after some years to seek support for her reinstatement as duchess. Bona of Savoy died around 1505.

Laura York , Anza, California

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