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Elisabeth of Valois ♔
History's Princess Elisabeth of Valois.png
Biographical Information
Real Name: Elisabeth of Valois
Title: Élisabeth de Valois

Queen of Spain
Elisabeth of France

Reign: 22 June 1559 –

3 October 1568

Predecessor: Mary Tudor of England
Successor: Archduchess Anna of Austria
Born: 2 April 1545
Death: 3 October 1568
Age: 23
Religion: Roman Catholic
House: House of Valois
Gender: Female Female.png
Parents: King Henry (Father)

Queen Catherine (Mother)

Husband: Philip II of Spain
Family: King Francis (Brother)

Princess Claude (Sister)
Prince Louis (Brother)
Prince Charles (Brother)
Prince Henry (Brother)
Princess Margaret (Sister)
Francis of Valois (Brother) Joanna of Valois (Sister)
Victoria of Valois (Sister)

Children: Isabella Clara Eugenia

Catherine Michelle

Affiliations: House of Habsburg
COD: After Childbirth
TV Character Information
First appearance: Pilot
Portrays: Queen Leeza
Portrayed by: Caoimhe O'Malley

Elisabeth of Valois was oldest daughter of King Henry II of France, was was married to Philip II of Spain. Their marriage was part of a treaty between their two countries, known as the Peace of Cateau-Cambrésis, due to the end of The Italian Wars.


Elisabeth was born in the Palace of Fontainebleau on 2 April 1545. Her childhood was spent in the Royal French nursery, where her father made her share her bedroom with her future sister-in-law, Mary, Queen of Scots, who was the same age. Even though Elisabeth had to give precedence to Mary (Mary was already a crowned Queen), they became good friends and stayed that way their entire lives.

Though historically, her younger sister Princess Margaret and Mary were prettier than she, Elisabeth was still considered, one of Catherine de' Medici more attractive daughters.

Queen of Spain

Elisabeth married King Philip of Spain, son of Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor. They originally married with a proxy wedding at Notre Dame before leaving France. The actual ceremony took place in Guadalajara, Spain, upon her arrival. The marriage was a result of the Peace of Cateau Cambrésis of 1559.

At her wedding she met the famous painter Sofonisba Anguissola and Ana de Mendoza, who would live with her the rest of her life. Elisabeth had been an amateur painter before, but Anguissola helped her improve her technique further.

Philip was completely enchanted by his 14-year-old bride, and within a short period of time had given up his mistress. Despite the significant age difference, Elisabeth was also quite pleased with her husband. Philip enjoyed hosting chivalric tournaments to entertain his wife. Elisabeth would play liege lady to the three young princes of the Spanish Court: Don Carlos, John of Austria, and Alexander Farnese, Duke of Parma.

Elisabeth relationship with her troubled stepson Don Carlos was warm and friendly. Despite reports of his progressively bizarre behavior, Carlos was always kind and gentle to Elisabeth. When it eventually became necessary for Philip to lock him away, Elisabeth cried for days. Prince Carlos died soon after. [1]

Later in life

Philip was very attached to Elisabeth, staying close by her side even when she was ill with smallpox. Elisabeth's first pregnancy in 1560 resulted in a stillborn son. Elisabeth's second pregnancy in 1564 ended with a miscarriage of twin girls. She later gave birth to Isabella Clara Eugenia of Spain on 12 August 1566, and then to Catherine Michelle of Spain on 10 October 1567. Elisabeth had another miscarriage on 3 October 1568, and died the same day, along with her newborn infant daughter.

After the death of Elisabeth, Catherine de' Medici offered her younger daughter Princess Margaret as a bride for Philip. Philip declined the offer because he thought it was against Biblical and Canon Law to marry the sister of a deceased wife. [1]

Though it should be noted, he asked to marry, Queen Elizabeth after her sister, who was his wife, Mary Tudor, Queen of England. died.


  • Elisabeth had 3 half-siblings from her father's mistresses, and 9 more siblings from her parent's marriage.
  • Described as being shy, timid and very much in awe of her formidable mother, Catherine de' Medici.
  • Princess Elisabeth was actually King Philip II's third wife, as his first two died of natural causes. She was 14 and he was 35 at the time of their marriage. They are both said to have been in a very happy marriage and it is noted through history on how Phillip would dote on her.
  • Originally betrothed to King Philip II's first son, Don Carlos who was closer to her age, but mentally unstable. It was changed to King Philip himself soon after.
  • Philip's second wife was his double first cousin once removed, Queen Mary Tudor of England.
  • Elisabeth and Philip's were of a distant relation, descended from their mutual ancestor Alfonso VII.
  • Queen Elisabeth and King Philip II's had five daughters. However, three died before, or during childbirth.
  • In letters to her mother, Elisabeth proclaimed herself to be fortunate to have married so charming a prince.
  • Both Queen Elisabeth and her younger brother King Charles IX died at age 23.

Family Tree

  • History's Valois Family Tree
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

  • History's Habsburg Family Tree
Isabella of Portugal
Charles V
Maria Manuela †
King Philip
Queen Elisabeth
Archduchess Maria
Princess Joanna
John of Austria
Don Carlos
Isabella Clara Eugenia
Catherine Michelle

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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 |