Charlotte of Savoy (c. 1442–1483)

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Charlotte of Savoy (c. 1442–1483)

Queen of France. Name variations: Charlotte d'Savoie. Born in 1442 (some sources cite 1439, 1440 or 1445); died on December 1, 1483 (some sources cite 1515); daughter of Louis I, prince of Piedmont and duke of Savoy, and Anne of Lusignan ; sister of Bona of Savoy (c. 1450–c. 1505); became second wife of Louis XI (1423–1483), king of France (r. 1461–1483), in March 1451; children: Joachim (b. 1459, died at age four months); Anne of Beaujeu (c. 1460–1522); Francis (1466–1466); Charles VIII (1470–1498), king of France (r. 1483–1498); Francis (1473–1473); Jeanne de France (c. 1464–1505).

In March 1451, 28-year-old Louis (XI), then dauphin of France, married nine-year-old Charlotte of Savoy against his father's wishes. His father Charles VII, king of France, promptly deprived his son of his pension and confiscated his French lands. The king was also furious with Charlotte's father, the duke of Savoy, for entering into this marriage conspiracy, and threatened an invasion if the duke did not repudiate the 28-year-old dauphin. In the middle of this tempest, the English landed at Guienne, and father and son were forced to make up, at least temporarily. The marriage, however, was not consummated until 1457.

It was considered an agreeable union, despite the fact that Louis was rarely in the company of his wife. The patient and submissive Charlotte led a secluded existence with her children and her ladies-in-waiting at the royal castle in Amboise, on the Loire. Wrote Philippe de Commynes, Charlotte "was not one of those women in whom a man would take great pleasure but in all a very good lady." Despite a few dalliances, Louis was more faithful to Charlotte than was the norm for princes of his day. Louis died on August 30, 1483; Charlotte died three months later, on December 1.

Previously, in 1436, a 13-year-old Louis had married the charming Scottish princess and poet Margaret of Scotland (1425–1445), daughter of James I and Joan Beaufort . It is said that her marriage to Louis was so wretched that when she died at age 20, her parting words were: "Oh! fie on life! Speak to me no more of it."