Medici, Claudia de (1604–1648)

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Medici, Claudia de (1604–1648)

Princess of Urbino and regent of Austrian Tyrol . Name variations: Claude de' Medici; Claudia of Tuscany; Claudia della Rovere; archduchess of Austrian Tyrol. Born on June 4, 1604, in Florence; died on December 25, 1648, in Innsbruck; daughter of Ferdinand I de Medici (1549–1609), grand duke of Tuscany (r. 1587–1609), and Christine of Lorraine (c. 1571–1637); married Federigo della Rovere, hereditary prince of Urbino, in 1620; married Leopold V (1586–1632), archduke of Austrian Tyrol or Tirol, in 1625; children: (first marriage) Vittoria de Medici (d.1694); (second marriage) two sons and two daughters, including Ferdinand Karl or Ferdinand Charles, archduke of Austrian Tyrol (b. 1626, who married his first cousin Anna de Medici ); Isabella Clara (1629–1685);Sigmund Franz (1630–1665), archduke of Austrian Tyrol; Maria Leopoldine (1632–1649).

At age 16, the year of her brother Cosimo II's death in 1620, Claudia de Medici was married to Federigo della Rovere, hereditary prince of Urbino, a boy two years her junior. Federigo, the only son of the duke of Urbino, was said to have been immoderate and died of "his excesses" before he was 18. Claudia returned to Florence with her baby daughter, Vittoria (de Medici) , in her arms; Vittoria would be the sole heir of her grandfather, the aging duke of Urbino.

In 1625, leaving her daughter in the care of her sister Maddalena de Medici , who was a nun at the convent of Crocetta, 21-year-old Claudia married Leopold V, archduke of Austrian Tyrol. Leopold was the brother of Claudia's sister-in-law Maria Magdalena of Austria as well as the brother of Holy Roman emperor Ferdinand II. For the rest of her life, Claudia resided at Schloss Amras, a modest villa in comparison to her former Tuscan home, which overlooked Innsbruck. She had two sons and two daughters with her second husband, and when he died in 1632 she was made regent of Tyrol for her eldest son Ferdinand Karl. Claudia ruled as regent from 1632 to 1646, and ruled well. She "not only greatly improved the administration and resources of Tyrol," writes G.F. Young, "but also by her wisdom and watchful care over the defences of the country she saved it from being drawn into the Thirty Years' War in which all the rest of the German empire was involved." Hanging in the museum at Innsbruck is a portrait of Claudia de Medici presiding at a meeting at Landstag during the crisis. Another portrait by Sustermans which hangs in the Uffizi Gallery depicts her at age 30. Claudia de Medici died in 1648 after having relinquished the government of Tyrol to her son Ferdinand Karl in 1646.


Young, Col. G.F. The Medici. NY: Modern Library, 1930.

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Medici, Claudia de (1604–1648)

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