Madeleine de Saint-Nectaire (fl. 1575)

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Madeleine de Saint-Nectaire (fl. 1575)

French soldier . Name variations: Comtesse de Miremont; Countess of Miremont. Flourished around 1575.

The leader of a company of 60 Huguenot cavaliers, Madeleine de Saint-Nectaire distinguished herself during the French civil wars by defending her château at Miremont, in the Limousin, against Catholic invasion. One of her most celebrated battles occurred in 1575, when the governor of the province laid siege to her château, attacking with 15,000 soldiers on foot and 50 on horseback. Madeleine rode out with her small force and defeated the governor. Finding that the enemy had retreated into her own fortress, she rode to a neighboring town, rallied a band of supporters and rode back to vanquish the intruders. Madeleine's renown was such that her enemy Henry IV once quipped: "If I were not King, I would like to be Mlle. de Saint-Nectaire!"