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Catherine and Henry
Real Names: Catherine de' Medici

Henry de Valois

Status: Over, ended in Henry's death

Married couple

Length of Relationship:

24 years


Kingdom of Italy
Kingdom of France
House of Valois
House of Medici

First Appearance: Pilot
Last Appearance: Slaughter of Innocence

Banished (As a ghost)


"Return to your hell and leave me to mine!"
Catherine to Henry


Early History[]

Pope Clement VII arranged the marriage of Catherine de' Medici to the second son of the French king, Prince Henry. The marriage took place in France when they were both 14 years old. Catherine and Henry were very much in love, even though he had been seeing another woman before their marriage, Catherine was surprised when Diane de Poitiers continued to stay in Henry's life. Diane got pregnant first and delivered a baby boy. However, Catherine was soon pregnant, and gave birth to Francis, named after Henry's older brother. Soon Catherine was pregnant with a second child, Elizabeth.

Two years later, Henry's father died, and Henry became the new King of France, making Prince Francis the new heir to the throne. Years passed, and Catherine and Henry had several more children.

Season 1[]

By the summer of 1557 when the first season is set, Catherine and Henry's marriage deteriorated completely. While the two put up a facade of strength, they barely talk to each other. [1]

But everything changes in the fall of 1557. Eager to keep Mary Stuart, Queen of Scotland an ally in the hope of one day taking England, Henry agrees to legitimise Sebastian so that he and Mary may wed and rule France one day. By reverting the line of succession to Sebastian, Henry would strip Francis and the rest of his and Catherine's children of their right to rule. Not only that, he would also finally be able to do away with Catherine and marry his long-time mistress, Diane de Poitiers. [2]

Naturally, Catherine protests against it, but Henry's mind has already been made up. He decides to send her to a convent, but when he realises that the Medici queen has a far reach, he insteads locks her in The Tower to be guarded day and night, at least until he returns from Rome. [2]

Under considerable pressure from the Medici family, the Pope refuses to see Henry. Since he is unable to get an annulment, he returns to French court with the aim of killing Catherine on the grounds of adultery instead. He has a long line of witnesses, each more unassailable than the last, with the inclusion of Richard Delacroix, his childhood friend and ally. However, Catherine and Henry soon reconcile and the king rethinks his decision to have his wife beheaded. [3]

While Catherine focuses on discrediting Sebastian by digging up dirt on his Pagan past, Mary and Sebastian plot Catherine's demise in return, using her past as their weapon. As they learn, Catherine secretly had a love child, Clarissa, with Richard Delacroix. When Henry finds out, Richard is executed and any hope of a settlement between Catherine and Henry is crushed. [3]

Catherine is soon to be beheaded, when the exiled Francis returns to court in order to talk his father out of killing his mother. Nostradamus also returns, with a vision that changes everything once again. He had a vision of a life in which Francis and Mary are happily wed and Francis is alive. Once he tells Catherine, she tells Francis, and he sets out to get Mary back. [4]

French court is full of joy at Mary and Francis' Wedding, and even Henry is forgiving. Now that the line of succession has returned to Francis, he has no reason to get rid of Catherine. Their relationship is pacified for now. [4]

A few months later, just as Mary and Francis return from their honeymoon, Henry begins showing signs of madness. When the Archduke and Archduchess of Bohemia come to court to resolve a minor conflict, Henry takes a liking to the Archduchess, and she to him. But as they're making out, he accidentally throws her out of a window. By doing so, he opens the door to the possibility of war with Bohemia. [5]

Luckily, war is avoided, and the incident taken care of, but it wouldn't be the last. [5] Just a few days later, Catherine hears from Lady Kenna, Henry's mistress, that he strangled a prostitute. Then a servant not long after. Catherine asks Henry to have a physician check on him, but he argues that kings don't get ill. [6]

When a servant named Penelope is titled Queen of the Bean, she beguiles the king to the point that she secures herself a spot at the king's side for longer than just a day. She even manipulates him into turning against Catherine, so that she is safe from Catherine's wrath and attempts to poison her. [7]

As Henry begins neglecting his state duties and paying more attention to Penelope, Catherine takes over. She does her best to ensure that Henry's madness is kept under wraps, because she knows the scandal that would ensue if it got out. [8]

But that doesn't mean she accepts the role that Penelope plays in her every day life. At one point, she calls life with the girl "untenable" and devises a plan to get rid of Penelope in a way that won't anger Henry. She enlists Kenna's help in executing the plan and in return promises her a grand reward. [9]

It works and Henry casts Penelope out of his life forever. [9] Catherine continues ruling on Henry's behalf, keeping generals on her side in case the mercurial king spontaneously decides to invade England. But Henry later summons Catherine and Francis and tells them that he found out a while ago. He hired new generals, loyal only to him, and already sent men to England. [10]

By spring of 1558, the campaign to retake Calais proves victorious for the French, thanks to the aid of the Duke of Guise's army. The French army returns home, undefeated but depleted. From what it seems, Henry's thirst for England is sated by the victory as he vows to celebrate the men who played a key role in winning, called the "Heroes of Calais". [11]

But in private, he has already begun mobilizing his forces to invade England. When Catherine finds out via her network of spied called The Flying Squad, she informs Francis and Mary and the three brainstorm their next move. Francis is confident he can talk his father out of doing what will inevitably end in needless bloodshed, and while Mary and Catherine say they give him time, they secretly begin plotting to kill the king. [11]

Catherine calls off the poisoning attempt at the last minute, but there is already another plot afoot to assassinate the king, one which increases his paranoia to new highs and endears him to the Duke of Guise, whom he views as his saviour for warning him about the attempt on his life. [11]

Henry's madness reaches a fever pitch when he summons everyone to the courtyard in the middle of the night to watch as he runs his sword through an innocent man. The slaughter sends a message to Francis, Mary, and Catherine that Henry is irredeemable and must be stripped of power. The three decide to stage a coup, but before the plan can be executed, Henry is gravely wounded at a jousting tournament. [12]

Henry lay on his deathbed as Catherine declares that she will always love him. Henry, however, takes the opportunity to talk about Diane and his concern over her. He requests that Diane and Catherine be friends, before asking to talk to Francis alone. [12]

Season 2[]

Henry briefly returns when Catherine starts showing signs of madness. [13] He comes back as a loving and doting husband to Catherine, as well as a present father to their deceased twin daughters, Henriette and Emone. Catherine repeatedly questions whether he is real, but he always deflects and simply asks her to be a greater part of their world. He also soothes her conscience when she feels guilty about poisoning Claude, as he believes she deserves it for killing Henriette and Emone when she was young. [14]

As Catherine's relationship with her living children, especially Claude, deteriorates, she immerses herself more into the fantasy of a loving family with Henry and their twin daughters. But Sebastian, along with Claude, investigate the death of the baby twin daughters, they discover that they were killed not by Claude, but by a former nanny and a jealous Diane de Poitiers, who each played their own respective role. [15]

While the nanny was on shift, she was coerced into sex by the king, leaving the nursery unguarded. Diane took advantage of that and opened a window, letting the cold air in and leaving the twins to freeze to death. Although she is slow to piece it together, once she does, Catherine takes a bold stance against everyone involved. [15]

She realises that Henry was never the kind and caring husband and father that she always hoped him to be, and although she thought she was doing what was best for their family by turning a blind eye to Henry's philandering, their children paid dearly for it. Catherine banishes Henry from her life for good and sends the twins away as well, but gently. Then, she proceeds to take Diane's life with her own bare hands. [15]


Historical Notes[]

  • Prince Henry and Catherine de' Medici were married when they were both 14. However, at the time, Henry was a Duke and second in-line next to his brother, while Catherine was a noble woman.
  • Henry and Catherine had 10 children together, 7 of whom made it to adulthood.
  • Henry became King after he was married when he was 28 and ruled for 12 years.
  • Henry had 3 illegitimate children from different mistresses, and none by Diane de Poitiers.
  • Catherine and Diane de Poitiers were cousins. Diane encouraged Henry to share Catherine's bed more often to produce children.
  • Catherine does receive Château de Chenonceau but not until after King Henry's death in 1559.
  • King Henry was accidentally killed by Lord Montgomery is a jousting competition.
  • The show killed Henry off a year early. He died in 1559, not 1558.


Queen Catherine: There are those that say too many alliances make a king look weak.
King Henry: Then why did we sell our daughter to Spain?! [1]

Prince Francis: She had skinny legs, a missing front tooth, and strong opinions.
King Henry: I'm sure the adult tooth has come in. The opinions you can ignore. Isn't that right, Catherine? [1]

Queen Mary: Elizabeth is Henry VII's daughter.
King Henry: Yes, by Anne Boleyn. Her parents' marriage was never recognized by the Catholic Church. She's illegitimate, her claim is weak at best. In God's eyes, she doesn't even exist!
Queen Catherine: How convenient God has this opinion. As Elizabeth happens to be Protestant. [19]

(Catherine about Henry to Diane)
Queen Catherine: Henry's fondness for anyone is eclipsed by his love of power. [19]

Queen Catherine: I grow weary of your threats.
King Henry: I grew weary of you a decade ago. [2]

King Henry: My hands are tied.
Queen Catherine: Who ties the hands of the King, other than a select, lusty few? [3]

King Henry: I would not have killed you! Or put you aside! I was in love with you. Could you not have trusted me?
Queen Catherine: Trust you? You're killing me now! [3]

Queen Catherine: I was always taught that love was a delusion. That people love what you can give them. [3]

Queen Catherine: Don't try to school a professional, Henry. [5]

King Henry: She deserved a better end.
Queen Catherine: Don't we all. [5]

Queen Catherine: As my husband would attest, I'm not a judgmental person... Henry?
King Henry: She's really not. [5]

King Henry: It was a lesson each woman understood in her last moment. About who is King, and who is not. [6]

(A tied up Henry on all fours on the floor waiting for Penelope to come back)
King Henry: I will not be so demeaned by a woman!
Queen Catherine: Yes, I can see that. [9]

King Henry: My God, I've missed the way you mix garlic with arsenic. [14]

King Henry: I have always loved you. And the children!
Queen Catherine: When it was convenient. When it didn't keep you from your indulgences that you craved! [15]

Queen Catherine: I let you back in my bed again and again because I loved you. I taught you that it was all right! [15]

Queen Catherine: Return to your hell and leave me to mine! [15]

(Catherine when she found she had contracted syphilis from Henry)
Queen Catherine: Oh, that is so like him! A last gift so I'll never forget him or his whores. [17]


Season One
Pilot Snakes in the Garden Kissed Hearts and Minds A Chill in the Air Chosen Left Behind Fated For King and Country Sacrifice Inquisition
Royal Blood Consummation Dirty Laundry The Darkness Monsters Liege Lord No Exit Toy Soldiers Higher Ground Long Live the King Slaughter of Innocence
Season Two
The Plague Drawn and Quartered Coronation The Lamb and the Slaughter Blood for Blood Three Queens The Prince of the Blood Terror of the Faithful Acts of War Mercy Getaway
Banished Sins of the Past The End of Mourning Forbidden Tasting Revenge Tempting Fate Reversal of Fortune Abandoned Fugitive The Siege Burn