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Margaret of Savoy (1523–1574)

Margaret of Savoy (1523–1574)

Duchess of Savoy . Name variations: Margaret of France; Marguerite de France or Marguerite de Savoie; Marguerite of Berry, duchess of Berry. Reigned from 1550 to 1574. Born in 1523; daughter of Francis I, king of France (r. 1515–1547), and Claude de France (1499–1524); sister of Henry II, king of France (r. 1547–1559); sister-in-law of Catherine de Medici ; married Emmanuel Philibert (1528–1580), 10th duke of Savoy (r. 1553–1580), in June 1559; children: Charles Emmanuel I (1562–1630), duke of Savoy (r. 1580–1630).

Called the Minerva, or the Pallas, of France, Margaret of Savoy wrote verses and was a patron of the young school of poets led by Pierre de Ronsard. Cherished by her brother, Henry II, king of France, Margaret was offered the Piedmont as her dowry in marriage to the duke of Savoy. "All that we had conquered and held in Piedmont was given back in one hour," wrote Saint-Beuve, "the greater part of France and Piedmont murmured and said it was too much." Even so, he wrote, she was so beloved in France and "in the lands and countries of her husband that when she died tears flowed from the eyes of all, both great and small."

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