Louise of Savoy (1476–1531)

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Louise of Savoy (1476–1531)

Duchess of Angoulême, mother of King Francis I, and regent of France who negotiated, with Margaret of Austria, the Peace of Cambrai. Name variations: Louise de Savoie. Regent of France (1515–1516, 1525–1526); born September 11, 1476, in the Châteaux de Pont-d'Ain in Savoy, now southwest France; died on September 22, 1531, at Grez-sur-Loing, south of Fontainebleau, France; buried on October 19, 1531, at Saint-Denis, Paris, beside the kings and queens of France, following her funeral at Notre-Dame de Paris on October 13, 1531; daughter of Philip II, count of Bresse, later duke of Savoy (d. 1497) and Margaret of Bourbon (d. 1483); married Charles of Orleans (1460–1496), count of Angoulême, on February 16, 1488, in the Châtelet at Paris; children: Margaret of Angoulême (1492–1549), queen of Navarre (r. 1527–1549); Francis I (1494–1547), king of France (r. 1515–1547).

Regent of France (June 1515–January 1516, and February 1525–July 1526); negotiated, with Margaret of Austria, the Peace of Cambrai, known as the "Ladies Peace" (1529); after the king's return to France, continued to serve as his chief adviser until her death (1531).

Louise of Savoy was a resolute, hardheaded, practical woman who rightly deserves to be remembered as a successful regent of France. The completion of the Peace of Cambrai in 1529, after weeks of patient negotiation with Margaret of Austria (1480–1530), provided a fitting end to her career. Throughout her life, she had sought to solve disputes by peaceful means, preferring to compromise and negotiate rather than to resort to arms and the weapons of war. Born in relative obscurity in her father's castle in Savoy, she became, via a marriage of convenience and a course of events that could not have been foreseen, the mother of a king of France who had such confidence in her ability and loyalty as to leave his country in her hands while he sought to increase his position and power by fighting in Italy. Even after his eventual return in 1526, she remained at his side as his chief adviser, her name still appeared on Letters Patent and State Acts, and she continued to treat on his behalf with the ambassadors of other European powers. Reports which survive from these courts bear witness to her success and reflect the respect she commanded and the high regard in which she was held. Her childhood experiences in the household of her aunt, the formidable Anne of Beaujeu (c. 1460–1522), taught her to keep her own counsel and to be ever watchful. She learned to hide her true feelings with a docile expression and a smile. It was excellent training for a woman who was to become a major player on the diplomatic stage of the early 16th century. Anne's advice to "never waste force on what you can achieve by guile" was taken to heart. The new art of diplomacy developed in the 16th century was tailor-made for Louise.

Although a devoted mother to both her children, it was her son, Francis (I), who was the mainspring of her life. He was her obsession; all her efforts were for him. He was at one and the same time her child and her master. She wrote of him as "my king, my lord, my Caesar, my son." From his birth, she dedicated her life to him and to preparing him for kingship.

No one challenged Louise in her position as regent. Her influence over Francis was acknowledged, accepted by all, resented by many. However, all the evidence indicates that her ambition was selfless and that, as regent, she gained and retained the confidence of many of the prominent men in France. Her endeavors were always for Francis and for his rights as king. She never took any decision or implemented any action without first consulting him and obtaining his consent, even when he was imprisoned in Spain and it meant a delay of several weeks. This was a ploy that could be used to effect if necessary, since he rarely contradicted her.

Louise of Savoy's critics have sought to denigrate her achievements with accusations of avarice and immorality. She was certainly careful with her income and practiced economy in her expenditure, but her money was always at the disposal of her son. At her death, the money for her funeral had to come from Francis as she herself had none. As for charges of immorality, the obsession that she had for her son was overwhelming and would have left little room for a lover; even her daughter Margaret of Angoulême stood a very poor second in Louise's list of priorities. The letters of this same daughter, whose reputation for integrity was renowned, are a better guide to Louise's conduct during and after the regency years than are the carping writings of Louise's discontented male contemporaries.

It is true, however, that little is known of her private life. The demands of her role were such

that there was little time for her to indulge in contemplation or to express her thoughts in anything other than letters of official business. Her journal and a small collection of poems are exceptions. The former is a curious document compiled and completed by herself in 1522 from jottings she had made during earlier years. It is in no way a diary but rather a record of those events which she regarded as important. Louise was, as were many of her contemporaries, very superstitious and stated that the journal was to be used for astrological prognostications. Thus it records not only the date but the hour and minute these events occurred. The journal is, for the same reason, arranged monthly rather than chronologically, recalling all the events that took place in a particular month irrespective of the year, for example, in January her husband died (1496) and her son succeeded to the throne of France (1515). The events selected for the journal relate to herself, to her family, or to prominent persons whose fortunes were pertinent to Francis' success. There is very little about herself, except for her illnesses, and nothing at all about her daughter. Since it ends in 1522, there is no record by Louise herself of her thoughts and feelings during her second regency, or of the much debated Bourbon scandal or of the Semblançay affair. It does, however, bear witness to the depth of her affection for Francis and her hopes and fears for him.

Louise was well-educated, with a particular interest in books and learning, and took as her motto libris et liberis (for books and for children). She was a pious woman with orthodox religious beliefs, who was offended by outrages against holy shrines and relics. She had some sympathy for those who looked for reforms within the church, but she could never support any changes that might have undermined her son's authority as the absolute monarch.

The strain of official duties took its toll on her health, for, if Francis was happy and all was well, then so was Louise, but if he was ill or in trouble, she fell ill, often seriously. Throughout her life, she suffered from gout and allied kidney disorders which were to cause her death at the age of 55 years, but she never let her illnesses prevent her from serving her king and country or caring for her son and his children.

Louise of Savoy was born on September 11, 1476, in a gloomy castle in Pont-d'Ain in Savoy. She recorded the event in her own words: "I am informed … that I was born at Pont-d'Ain on 11 September 1476 five hours and 24 minutes after noon." She was the first child born of Philip II, count of Bresse, and Margaret of Bourbon . Philip was a younger son of the House of Savoy; his parents were Louis of Savoy and Anne of Lusignan . Although Savoy was a vast and splendid duchy, Philip had no lands of his own and had had to fend for himself. He had become a cruel, greedy, and often violent man. He was frequently away from home on business or, more probably, indulging himself in his favorite pastimes of women and sport. He succeeded to the dukedom of Savoy in 1496 and died a year later. Margaret of Bourbon, Louise's mother, was sister to Pierre de Beaujeu, who was married to Anne of Beaujeu, elder daughter of King Louis XI. Margaret of Bourbon was continually ailing and died of "ulceration of the lungs" when Louise was seven years old. Louise, therefore, had a lonely early childhood deprived of any real affection, with only her younger brother, Philibert (1478–1504), who later married Margaret of Austria, and her older half-brother, René, for company. But, although she may have been lonely and deprived, her kinship with the greater dynastic families of France ensured that she was not forgotten. At age two, she was betrothed by King Louis XI to Charles of Orleans, count of Angoulême, then aged 18 years, because Louis feared Charles was about to marry the heiress Mary of Burgundy (1457–1482). An alliance of Orléans with Burgundy would have constituted a serious threat to the French monarchy.

When her mother died in 1483, Louise was sent by her father to live in the household of her aunt and uncle, Pierre and Anne of Beaujeu. This meant living at the French court since, upon the death of Louis XI, the Beaujeus had been appointed joint guardians and regents during the minority of the young king Charles VIII. Anne of Beaujeu was a cold, calculating woman having a character much in common with that of her father, known as the "Spider King" because of his political machinations. Though she was named as joint regent with her husband, it was well understood that it was Anne who governed. She was, however, a woman of principle and high moral standards who did her duty by Louise even if she did not show her any affection. Louise did not suffer therefore from lack of moral guidance or for material comforts, for Anne saw that she was well trained and that she was dressed according to her status. Her father, true to character, continually failed to pay for her upkeep. Unloved and, for the most part, ignored, Louise learned those lessons that would serve her so well in the future. It was here too that she first met Margaret of Austria, who would marry her brother, Philibert, and with whom she would negotiate the Peace of Cambrai in 1529.

Release from the oppressive regime of the household of Anne of Beaujeu came on February 16, 1488, when Louise's marriage to Charles of Orleans, count of Angoulême, was celebrated in the Châtelet in Paris. Louise brought very little by way of land or money to the marriage. Her father donated 35,000 livres, but only after she had renounced any claim to her parents' estates. The king gave the couple the small lordship of Melle-in-Poitou as security for a promised 20,000 livres. Louise acquired as dowry the income from lands and castles of Châteauneuf-sur-Charente and Romorantin, near Bourges, which became her favorite residence.

Despite the disparity in their ages, the marriage was a reasonably happy one. Charles, although cousin to Louis of Orleans, later Louis XII, had no political aspirations; he was an easygoing, relatively weak man who demanded little of Louise. They lived in the castle of Cognac in the center of Charles' domain, together with Charles' two mistresses, Antoinette of Polignac and Jeanne Comte , and their children by Charles. Showing a maturity beyond her years, Louise befriended the women, leaving Jeanne to carry on managing the household and later to become the guardian of her own children, and making Antoinette her companion. They were to remain in Louise's household for the rest of their lives, moving with her to Amboise in 1500, despite the overt disapproval of such an unorthodox arrangement by, among others, the pious Anne of Brittany (c. 1477–1514), by that time the queen of France. The caring side of Louise's nature is demonstrated by the fact that she did so provide for her husband's mistresses and their illegitimate children, Madeleine and Jeanne of Polignac and Souverain Comte , and took pains to see that they were placed advantageously. Marriages were arranged for Jeanne with the lord of Aubin and for Souverain with the lord of Chailly; Madeleine became the abbess of Farmoutier.

The court at Cognac, though smaller then that at Paris, was just as glittering, and attracted many leading exponents of the arts. Charles was well known as a patron of painting and literature, and he had followed the example of his ancestors in building up a splendid library. Among those he encouraged was Robert Testard, a talented illuminator of manuscripts. Louise is depicted in some of his works, for example, in Echecs Amoureux which Testard illuminated for the count and his wife. In one particularly striking miniature, entitled La Musique, Louise is seen seated on a double-headed swan, a potent mother-symbol. Although her husband was unfaithful to her, this was a time of relative peace and happiness for Louise. She amused herself with music and books far away from the intrigues and stresses of court life. She gave birth to two children, Margaret, on April 11, 1492, and Francis, two years later, on September 12, 1494. This idyllic lifestyle came to an end in January 1496 when Charles died of pneumonia after a month of patient and tender nursing by Louise.

In his will, Charles appointed Louise tutor and guardian to the children, with all his goods and chattels going to them. The appointment was immediately challenged by Charles' nearest male relatives on the grounds that Louise, at 19, was under the minimum legal age for guardianship, which was 25. Louise opposed them by invoking a local custom of the Angoumois which fixed the age of guardianship at 14. The dispute was submitted to the high court and a compromise was reached. Louise was allowed to retain custody of the children, while Louis, the duke of Orléans, was appointed their honorary guardian. In effect, this meant that although she had won her first victory in the battle to have sole responsibility for her son, Louise could not transact any business without the duke's consent. More important, if she were to remarry, she would lose the custody of the children and their property. Louise did not remarry. The rest of her life was dedicated to her son.

Anne of Lusignan (b. before 1430)

Duchess of Savoy. Name variations: Anne de Lusignan; Anne of Cyprus. Born before 1430; possibly daughter of John II, king of Cyprus (r. 1432–1458); possibly half-sister of Charlotte of Lusignan (1442–1487); married Louis I, duke of Savoy (r. 1440–1465); children: Charlotte of Savoy (c. 1442–1483); Bona of Savoy (c. 1450–c. 1505); Agnes of Savoy (who married Francis, duc de Longueville); Margaret of Savoy (d. 1483, who married Pierre II, count of Saint-Pol); Marie of Savoy (who married Louis, constable of Saint-Pol); Philip II of Bresse, later duke of Savoy (d. 1497, who married Margaret of Bourbon and was the father of Louise of Savoy [1476–1531]); Amadée also known as Amadeus IX (d. 1472), duke of Savoy (r. 1465–1472); Jacques de Romont (d. 1486); Janus of Geneva (d. 1491), count of Geneva (r. 1441–1491); Louis of Geneva (d. 1482), count of Geneva.

The succession to the French crown was governed by the Salic Law, which excluded females. Thus, if a monarch died without a male heir, the succession passed to his nearest male relative. In 1496, at the time of the death of Charles of Angoulême, the French monarch was Charles VIII, a sickly man whose only son had died of smallpox the previous month. His heir was Louis of Orleans, second cousin and now honorary guardian of Francis. Louis was married to Jeanne de France (c. 1464–1505), younger daughter of Louis XI. She was a poor creature, childless, and variously described as either deformed or extremely ugly. Francis was at this time second in the line of succession. In April 1498, Charles VIII died suddenly after banging his head on a low beam. Louis of Orleans became King Louis XII of France and Francis the heir presumptive. In January 1499, Louis divorced Jeanne de France, citing her inability to bear children, and married Anne, the young duchess of Brittany, who at the age of 22 could be expected to produce a son. For the next 15 years, Louise's life was punctuated by periods of acute anxiety during Anne of Brittany's frequent pregnancies relieved by short periods of joy when the expected child was a daughter or a stillborn son. Her journal records one such birth, "Anne, queen of France, gave birth to a son on 21 January but he was unable to prevent the exultation of my Caesar, for he was stillborn." In any event, Louis and Anne were to produce only two living children, both daughters, Claude de France (born in 1499), and Renée of France (born in 1510). From 1512, Francis, having already been created the duke of Valois, was designated Monsieur le Dauphin.

Humility has kept me company and Patience has never abandoned me.

—Louise of Savoy

These years were not easy for Louise. Apart from the anxieties created by the queen's pregnancies, Louise had other battles to fight in her determination to have complete control of the upbringing of her son. In 1500, the king had ordered her to move her entire household to Amboise so that Francis would be nearer the royal court. At the same time, he had granted custody of Francis to Pierre de Rohan, seigneur of Gié, an appointment deeply resented by Louise, who had cause to distrust Gié. When Gié proposed a betrothal between Francis and the Princess Claude, Louise opposed him. Her opposition was soundly based, for, with Claude's pedigree, healthy sons could hardly be guaranteed and Louise desired only the best for Francis; and, moreover, if Anne of Brittany were to have a son, Francis, married to Claude, would not be in a position to make a more advantageous marriage elsewhere. Anne of Brittany, mother of Claude and acknowledged rival and enemy of Louise, was equally opposed to the match, but for different reasons. She wanted to preserve the independence of Brittany and favored an alliance between her daughter and Charles, the young grandson of Maximilian I, the Holy Roman emperor. However, despite her overt dislike of Louise, on her death in 1514, Anne entrusted Louise with the guardianship of Claude and the administration of her lands; presumably she realized that Claude could not be in safer hands than those of Louise.

Despite Louise's disapproval, the marriage of Francis and Claude took place on May 18, 1514, at Saint-Germain-sur-Laye. With the court still in mourning for the queen, the marriage was a somber occasion with the bride and groom dressed in black cloth. Louise did not attend. Claude and Francis were to be as happy as any royal couple. Their marriage lasted for ten years, during which Claude gave birth to eight children. Louise's fears had been unfounded since these included three sons. Two daughters, Louise and Charlotte, died in childhood; the rest lived to adulthood. Louise grew fond of her good-natured daughter-in-law, they traveled together, and Louise and her daughter Margaret of Angoulême took care of Claude during her pregnancies and illnesses and looked after the grandchildren. Claude de France died in 1524, as quietly as she had lived, shortly after Francis had departed for Italy. Louise is said to have collapsed on hearing the news.

Anne of Brittany's death had appeared to leave the way open for Francis' accession to the French monarchy. Louis had declared in his grief that he would shortly follow his wife to the grave, but suddenly in August 1514 he announced his betrothal to Mary Tudor (1496–1533), the younger sister of King Henry VIII of England. They were married in October but by the end of the year Louis was dead. Louise's son was now the king of France.

One of the first acts of the new king was to make his mother, now nearing 40 years of age, duchess of Angoulême and grant her the revenue from the duchies of Angoulême and Anjou, the counties of Maine and Beaufort-en-Vallée, and the barony of Amboise. Louise gave thanks to "Divine Mercy, by which I am amply compensated for all the adversities and annoyances which came to me in my early years and in the flower of my youth." Her hand can be detected in the first appointments made by the new king. For the most part, he confirmed the positions of those in office under Louis XII, thus ensuring a continuity of government. The new appointments went to men who had proved their worth and whose loyalty could be relied upon. These men were to fulfill their promise and Louise's trust in them. She could be said to have chosen well with skill and foresight, for most of them were still in office at her death. The notable exception was Charles, duke of Bourbon, who was appointed constable of France. This important military appointment was for life, and its holder had the right to command the army in the absence of the king. The appointment was just and well deserved as he was noble, brave and a gallant leader, but his pride and ambition led him to betray his king and his country.

Already a man of means, Charles of Bourbon inherited the considerable wealth and lands of his wife, Suzanne of Bourbon , daughter of Anne of Beaujeu, on her death in 1521. These holdings were increased a few months later when Anne of Beaujeu herself died and also left all her wealth to him. His total holdings now constituted a dominion within France which threatened its sovereignty. As early as 1519, Louise and Francis had reason to question Bourbon's loyalty when it became known to them that Bourbon was in secret communication with Spain and even planned a marriage alliance with Charles V's sister, Eleanor of Portugal (1498–1558). Francis and Louise took immediate action to curb Bourbon by confiscating part of his lands. Francis claimed the territory that should revert to the crown in appanage, and Louise claimed, as next of kin, that part that was due to her mother, Margaret of Bourbon. Unfortunately, Francis granted these lands to his mother before the matter was referred to the court, which gave rise to accusations of cupidity against the queen-mother. Bourbon's subsequent treasonable behavior can be said to have justified the actions taken by the king, but Bourbon's supporters believed his treason came as a result of his treatment by the king and his mother and they said so loud and clear.

Even before 1515, when Francis' reign began, France had been engaged in war against the Italian states. Gradually all Western Europe became embroiled in a bitter struggle that lasted until the Peace of Cambrai in 1529 brought a lull in the hostilities. Francis' eagerness to go to war meant a constant supply of money was essential, for war was expensive. The demands it made for money and resources occupied Louise for the rest of her official life. Although she hated war and all it entailed, she was powerless to stop Francis from continuing to fight or to convince him that compromise and negotiation could be equally effective. She raised the money needed, sent him off with a heavy heart, celebrated his victories and gave thanks for his safe return. For his part, Francis would only leave his country in his mother's hands. In 1524, when she was ill, he postponed his departure until she had recovered.

Money was needed too when Francis became a contender for the title of Holy Roman emperor after the death of Maximilian I in 1519. When the title went to the Habsburg Charles V, Maximilian's grandson, Europe became the battleground for a Habsburg-Valois struggle which culminated in France's defeat and Francis' capture by the Imperial forces at the battle of Pavia, in northern Italy, in February 1525.

Louise was now on her own. Distraught at the imprisonment of her son, she faced the challenges of her new role with determination and courage. She had three main tasks: to defend the monarch-less and demoralized France against invasion, to uphold the authority of the crown against the opposition posed by the Parlement of Paris, and to secure the release of her son. That she succeeded in all three is a measure of her skill and character.

Suzanne of Bourbon (1491–1521)

Duchess of Bourbon. Name variations: Susanne of Bourbon, Susanne de Bourbonne. Reigned as duchess of Bourbon or Bourbonnais from 1503 to 1521; born on May 10, 1491; died on April 28, 1521; daughter of Anne of Beaujeu (c. 1460–1522) and Pierre II de Bourbon, lord of Beaujeu; married Charles II, count of Montpensier and later duke of Bourbon (constable of France), on May 10, 1505; children: three sons who died young. A painting of Suzanne of Bourbon is in the Robert Lehman Collection, Metropolitan Museum of Art.

The defense of France was her first priority. She set up her headquarters at Lyons, forming a council which included representatives from the parlements of Paris, Rouen, and Bordeaux, a move that diluted the opposition. By anticipating taxes and curbing the expenditure of the royal household, the economy of the country was improved. The Paris Parlement was persuaded to take responsibility for provisioning the northern garrison towns. A force was equipped at Louise's own expense and based at Lyons. Louise opened negotiations with England, through Cardinal Wolsey, and successfully mediated with him the Treaty of the More which broke the Spanish-English alliance and secured the safety of northern France. Realizing the need for bargaining power with Spain, she initiated negotiations with the Turks in hopes that a threat from the east would distract Charles V, while at the same time she encouraged dissent between Italy and Spain. Her aim was to isolate Spain from its allies in an effort to force the country to agree to terms for Francis' release.

The Parlement of Paris was already in dispute with the king before his capture at Pavia. The basis of their complaints was the Concordat of Bologna agreed in 1516 between Francis and Pope Leo X, whereby the king had sole responsibility for ecclesiastical appointments, so increasing his power over Parlement. Louise, showing more tact than her son, invited them to submit a list of their grievances or remonstrances. The list criticized many of the decisions taken by Francis, especially against heresy. Louise accepted the remonstrances, continued to govern as before, and they were never referred to again. A point had been made. She did take some action, however, against heresy, agreeing to the setting up of a special commission to try such cases.

Louise of Savoy never forgot her son in his captivity in Spain. She was in daily correspondence with Francis, keeping him informed, asking for his consent to the actions she was implementing, and reassuring herself as to his health. When he fell ill and his life was thought to be in danger, she despatched her daughter to Madrid in her stead to offer comfort and cures. At the same time, she continued the negotiations with his Spanish captors that led to the signing of the Treaty of Madrid and the release of the French king. The conditions were severe. Among other demands, France was to relinquish Burgundy, which it had no intention of doing, and Francis' two elder sons, aged eight and seven years, were to be held as hostages. Louise, now a chronically sick woman, accompanied the children on the six-week journey to Bayonne and witnessed the exchange of grandsons for son.

Francis' return made little difference to the role Louise played. She continued to advise and to negotiate with foreign dignitaries. As usual the main problem was a lack of finance. Louise was reported to have complained that they were always being cheated by the financiers. The truth was that the monarchy was in the power of the bankers. It was Francis' desire to break this stranglehold that led to further vilification of Louise, this time in connection with the Count of Semblançay, the treasury minister, a clever man whose methods did not bear close investigation. Louise had relied on his expertise to raise the money needed for Francis' wars in Italy. In 1521, after the defeat at Milan, he had laid the blame for missing funds on Louise, though it seems highly unlikely that she would have appropriated money meant for her son. When, in 1527, Semblançay was arrested on Francis' orders and tried on charges of embezzlement and fraud, there was no mention of this missing money but the suspicion of greed stayed with Louise. The trial was in effect the first of many such trials and the beginning of a process designed to cleanse France's fiscal system.

Louise had continued to be on amicable terms with her sister-in-law, Margaret of Austria, despite the fact that they were effectively on opposite sides. Margaret, as aunt to Charles V and acting as his regent in the Netherlands, naturally took the Spanish side. She had, however, interceded with Charles on Louise's behalf and had been instrumental in securing the French king's release by persuading Charles to agree to the terms of the Madrid Treaty. Now both women saw the wisdom and advantage of a break in hostilities. Since the situation was a delicate one, the initial overtures were made in secret through envoys under the guise of agreeing on trade routes. The two women, both experienced in politics and business, finally met at Cambrai in July 1529. After nearly six weeks of intense talks, the treaty was signed on August 5. Francis and Charles accepted it as a fait accompli, but their allies, especially England, were far from pleased.

Under the terms of the treaty, France retained Burgundy, the chief source of contention between the two countries, the young princes were to be ransomed for two million gold écus de soleil, and the marriage of Francis and Charles' sister Eleanor of Portugal was to take place. Raising the ransom took much longer than expected and her grandchildren suffered considerably, causing Louise much anguish. She appealed once more to Margaret of Austria for help and so managed to get the conditions of their imprisonment improved. Francis appealed for money from the clergy, who responded, and the nobility, who did not. Margaret of Angoulême, Francis' sister, pawned her jewels, and Henry VIII sent Francis a magnificent jewel containing a relic of the True Cross as a contribution. At last in July 1530, nearly 12 months after the Peace of Cambrai, and three years after the start of their imprisonment, Francis set off for Bayonne to meet his sons and his bride. Louise, now much weaker, followed at a slower pace, finally stopping at Bordeaux when her infirmity overcame her.

The royal family was complete once more, but Louise's health forced her to retire from public life. She never recovered her former strength and died, after months of suffering, on September 22, 1531, at Grez-sur-Loing, having left Paris, where the plague was raging. When she lay dying, devotedly and tenderly nursed by her daughter, her son was conspicuous by his absence. Although he provided for a lavish funeral and wrote an emotional epitaph for her, he himself did not attend. He could not bear the idea and then the reality of his loss.

The break in hostilities brought about by the Treaty of Cambrai lasted for seven years, allowing France time to replenish and strengthen itself. The country became united and prosperous, and Francis' authority grew; Louise of Savoy's work had survived her, and her farsighted policies had borne fruit.


Brewer, J.S., ed. Letters and Papers of the Reign of Henry VIII. P.R.O., 1867 (Kraus Reprint, 1965).

Freeman, J.F. "Louise of Savoy: a case of Maternal Opportunism," in Sixteenth Century Journal. Vol. 3, 1972, pp. 77–99.

Henri-Bordeaux, Paule. Louise de Savoie: Régente et "Roi" de France. Paris: PLON, 1954.

Knecht, R.J. Francis I. Cambridge University Press, 1982.

Mayer, D.M. The Great Regent Louise of Savoy 1476–1531. London, 1966.

suggested reading:

Griffiths, S. "Louise of Savoy and Reform of the Church," in Sixteenth Century Journal. Vol. 10. Fall 1979, pp. 29–36.

Hackett, F. Francis I. 1934.

Jacquart, J. François Ier. Fayard, 1981.

Jacqueton, G. La Politique extérieure de Louise de Savoie. Paris: 1892.

Maulde La Clavière, M.A.R. Louise de Savoie et François 1erTrente Ans de Jeunesse 1485–1515. Paris, 1895.

Paris, P. Ëtudes sur François 1er. 2 vols. Paris, 1855.

for louise's journal:

Buchon, J.A.C., ed. Choix de chroniques et mémoires sur l'histoire de France. Vol. IX. Paris, 1836.

Guichenon, S., ed. "Journal de Louise de Savoie," in Histoire de la Maison de Savoie. Vol. II. Lyons, 1660, pp. 457–464.

Petitot, C., ed. Collection complête des mémoires relatifs â l'histoire de France. Vol. XVI. Paris, 1819–20.


Louise de Savoie, Duchesse d'Angoulême from a miniature in a Book of Hours belonging to Catherine de Medici .

"La Musique à Cognac" by Robert Testard in Echecs Amoureux.


Terracotta bust in le départment des sculptures du moyen âge, de la renaíssance et de temps modernes in the Louvre, Paris.

Margaret E. Lynch , M.A., Lancaster, England

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Louise of Savoy (1476–1531)

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Louise of Savoy (1476–1531)