Historical Figure
Princess Margaret
History's Princess Margaret
Biographical Information
Real Name: Margaret Valois
Title: Queen Margaret

Princess Margaret
Margaret of Valois
Marguerite de Valois

Reign: Queen Consort of France

August 1589 – December 1599
Queen Consort of Navarre
August 1572 – December 1599

Born: 14 May 1553
Death: 27 March 1615
Age: 61
Religion: Catholic
House: House of Valois

House of Bourbon (Marriage)

Gender: Female Female
Originally From: Château de Saint-Germain-en-Laye
Parents: King Henry (Father)

Queen Catherine (Mother)

Husband: Henry de Bourbon
Family: King Francis (Brother)

Queen Elisabeth (Sister)
Princess Claude (Sister)
Prince Louis (Brother)
Prince Charles IX (Brother)
Prince Henry III (Brother)
Francis of Valois (Brother)
Joanna of Valois (Sister)
Victoria of Valois (Sister)

Affiliations: Kingdom of France
Burial: Basilica of St Denis
TV Character Information
First appearance: All It Cost Her
Portrays: Princess Margaret
Portrayed by: Rebecca Liddiard

Princess Margaret was a French princess of the Valois dynasty who became Queen Consort of Navarre and later of France.

A daughter of King Henry II and Catherine de' Medici, Margaret was the sister of King Francis II. Her mother, and Queen Jeanne arranged for her to marry a distant cousin, King Henry de Bourbon, and she became Queen of Navarre. In 1589, after all her brothers had died leaving no sons, Margaret's husband, the senior-most agnatic heir to France, succeeded to the French throne, the first Bourbon King of France.


Margaret was born Marguerite de Valois on May 14, 1553, at the Royal Château de Saint-Germain-en-Laye, the seventh child and third daughter of King Henry II and Catherine de' Medici. Three of her brothers would become kings of France: King Francis II, King Charles IX, and King Henry III. Her sister, Princess Elisabeth, would become the third wife of King Philip II of Spain. In 1565, her mother Catherine met with Philip II's chief minister Duke of Alba at Bayonne in hopes of arranging a marriage between Margaret and Philip's son Don Carlos However, Alba refused any consideration of a dynastic marriage.

Margaret was secretly involved with Henry of Guise, the son of the late Duke of Guise. When Catherine found this out, she had her daughter brought from her bed. Catherine and the King then beat her and sent Henry of Guise from Court.


The marriage of the 19-year-old Margaret to King Henry de Bourbon, who had become King of Navarre upon the death of his mother, Queen Jeanne d'Albret. Took place on 18 August 1572 at Notre Dame cathedral in Paris. The groom, a Huguenot, had to remain outside the cathedral during the religious ceremony. It was hoped this union would reunite family ties. The Bourbons were part of the French Royal family and the closest relatives to the reigning Valois branch. Create harmony between Catholics and the Protestant Huguenots.

Just six days after the wedding, on St Bartholomew's Day, Roman Catholic factions instigated a targeted group of assassinations, followed by a wave of mob violence, both directed against the Huguenots. Traditionally believed to have been instigated by Catherine de' Medici, the marriage was an occasion on which many of the most wealthy and prominent Huguenots had gathered in largely Catholic Paris.

This event took place during the period 1562 to 1598, known as The French Wars of Religion, which consisted of factional disputes between the aristocratic houses of France, like the House of Bourbon and House of Guise.

After the St Bartholomew's Day massacreEdit

Margaret has been credited with saving the lives of several prominent Protestants, including her husband, during the massacre, by keeping them in her rooms and refusing to admit the assassins. King Henry de Bourbon had to feign conversion to Catholicism.

After more than three years of confinement at court, House of Bourbon escaped Paris in 1576, leaving his wife behind. Finally granted permission to return to her husband in Navarre, for the next three and a half years Margaret and her husband lived in Pau. Both openly kept other lovers, and they quarreled frequently.

Later in lifeEdit

After an illness in 1582, Queen Margaret returned to the court of her brother, King Henry III, in Paris. Her brother was soon scandalized by her reputation and behavior and forced her to leave the court, even claiming that she had borne a bastard child by Jacques de Harlay. After long negotiations, she was allowed to return to her husband's court in Navarre, but she received an icy reception.

Determined to overcome her difficulties, Queen Margaret masterminded a coup d'état and seized power over Agen, one of her appanages. She spent several months of fortifying the city, but the citizens of Agen revolted against her, and Queen Margaret fled to the castle of Carlat. In 1586, she was imprisoned first by her brother King Henry III and then by her husband King Henry de Bourbon in the castle of Usson, in Puy-de-Dôme, Auvergne, where she spent eighteen years first as a state prisoner under her brother then a prisoner in exile under her husband who divorced her.

During this time, Margaret wrote her memoirs consisting of a succession of stories relating to the affairs of her brothers King Charles IX and King Henry III with her former husband King Henry de Bourbon. The memoirs were published posthumously in 1628 and scandalized the population.

In 1589, King Henry de Bourbon, her husband, succeeded to the throne of France as King Henry IV. He was, however, not accepted by most of the Catholic population until he converted four years later. Henry continued to keep mistresses, most notably Gabrielle d'Estrées from 1591 to 1599, who bore him four children. Negotiations to annul the marriage were entered in 1592 and concluded in 1599 with an agreement that allowed Margaret to maintain the title of Queen.


She settled her household on the Left Bank of the Seine. Reconciled to her former husband and his second wife, Marie de' Medici, Queen Margaret returned to Paris and established herself as a mentor of the arts and benefactress of the poor. She often helped plan events at court and nurtured the children of King Henry de Bourbon and Marie.

Margaret died in her Hostel de la Reyne Margueritte, on 27 March 1615, and was buried in the funerary chapel of the Valois in the Basilica of St. Denis. Her casket has disappeared and it is not known whether it was removed and transferred when work was done at the chapel, or destroyed during the French Revolution.


Family TreeEdit

King Francis I
Claude of France
Duke Francis
King Henry II
Catherine de' Medici
Madeleine of Valois
King Francis II
Queen Elisabeth
King Philip II
Princess Claude
King Charles IV
King Henry III
Queen Margaret
Catherine Michelle
Duke Henry II
Christina of Lorraine
Marie Elisabeth

Historical Figure

Pages: Historical Events | Historical References | Historical Timeline |
Kings: King Antoine of Navarre | King Edward of England | King Henry II of France | King Henry VIII of England |
King James V of Scotland | King Francis I of France | King Francis II of France | King Charles IX of France |
King Philip II of Spain |
Queens: Queen Catherine of France | Queen Mary of Scotland | Queen Anne of England | Queen Elizabeth of England | Queen Jane of England | Queen Mary of England | Queen Jeanne of Navarre | Queen Elisabeth of Spain |
Princes: Prince of the Blood, Louis Condé | Price Don Carlos of Spain | Price Henry of France | Prince Henry de Bourbon | Duke Francis of France |
Princesses: Princess Claude of France | Catherine of Aragon | Princess Catherine de Bourbon |
Lords: Robert Dudley | William Cecil | Henry Darnley | Matthew Lennox | Patrick Ruthven
Ladies: Amy Dudley | Mary Boleyn | Mary Fleming | Mary Livingston | Mary Beaton | Mary Seton | Margaret Lennox |
Nobles: Diane de Poitiers | James Stuart | Marie de Guise | Lucrezia de' Medici |
Others: Nostradamus | John Knox | Pope Clement VII |

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