Marguerite d’Angoulême Biography


(Great Authors of World Literature, Critical Edition)

Marguerite de Navarre (mahr-gyew-reet duh nah-vahr), also known as Margaret of Angoulême or Marguerite d’Angoulême, was a French Renaissance princess who had great influence on politics, religion, and literature. She was the daughter of Charles d’Orléans, count of Angoulême, and Louise de Savoie. Her first marriage, in 1509, was to Charles IV, duke of Alençon, who died in 1525 after the French defeat at Pavia. When her brother Francis I acceded to the French throne in 1515, Marguerite was summoned to his court, where she not only enjoyed status as the king’s confidant and intermediary but also helped introduce the ideas of the Italian Renaissance to France. She actively administered the realm and acted as surrogate queen on many occasions. Therefore, it was Marguerite who, after Francis’s captivity by Charles V of Spain, negotiated the Treaty of Madrid (1526) to obtain her brother’s release.{$S[A]Margaret of Angoulême;Marguerite de Navarre}{$S[A]Angoulême, Margaret of;Marguerite de Navarre}{$S[A]Marguerite D’Angoulême;Marguerite de Navarre}{$S[A]D’Angoulême, Marguerite[DAngouleme, Marguerite];Marguerite de Navarre}

In 1527 Marguerite married Henri d’Albret, king of Navarre, and in 1528 she gave birth to her first and only surviving child, Jeanne d’Albret, the future mother of the first Bourbon king, Henry IV of France. As queen of Navarre, Marguerite continued to play a political role both in her husband’s extensive but futile endeavors to regain his Spanish lands and in French politics until 1547, when her brother Francis died and she withdrew to Navarre, where she died in 1549.

Marguerite’s second sphere of influence was the religious arena, which was then just beginning the struggle of the Reformation. As a deeply religious woman, she supported evangelical reform of the Catholic church from within. In 1521 Marguerite...

(The entire section is 768 words.)