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Historical Figure
Elisabeth of Valois
History's Princess Elisabeth of Valois
Biographical Information
Title: Queen consort of Spain
Reign: 22 June 1559 –

3 October 1568

Predecessor: Mary Tudor
Successor: Anna of Austria
Born: 2 April 1545
Died: 3 October 1568
Burial: El Escorial, Spain
Religion: Roman Catholic
House: Valois
Relationship Information
TV Character Information
Portrays: Queen Leeza
Portrayed by: Caoimhe O'Malley (Season 1)

Anastasia Phillips (Season 4)

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 died.


  • Elisabeth had 3 half-siblings from her father's mistresses, and 9 more siblings from her parents' 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.
  • Elisabeth and Philip 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[]

Valois Family Tree[]

Francis I
Claude of France
Louise of France
Charlotte of France
Francis III
Henry II
Catherine de' Medici
Madeleine of Valois
Charles II
Margaret of Valois
Francis II
Elisabeth of Valois
Claude of Valois
Louis of Valois
Charles IX
Henry III
Margaret of Valois

Habsburg Family Tree[]

Isabella of Portugal
Charles V
Maria Manuela of Portugal
Philip II of Spain
Elisabeth of Valois
Maria of Austria
Joanna of Austria
John of Austria
Don Carlos of Spain
Isabella Clara Eugenia
Catherine Michaela of Spain

Related Pages[]

Historical Figure

Pages: Historical Events | Historical References | Historical Timeline |
Kings: Antoine of Navarre | Edward VI of England | Henry II of France | Henry VIII of England | James V of Scotland | Francis I of France | Francis II of France | Charles IX of France | Philip II of Spain | James VI and I of Scotland and England |
Queens: Catherine of Aragon | Catherine de' Medici | Mary, Queen of Scots | Anne Boleyn | Elizabeth I of England | Jane Grey | Mary I of England | Jeanne of Navarre | Elisabeth de Valois | Marie de Guise |
Princes: Louis of Condé | Don Carlos of Spain | Henry of France | Henry de Bourbon | Francis de Valois |
Princesses: Claude de Valois | Margaret de Valois | Catherine de Bourbon |
Noblemen: Robert Dudley | William Cecil | Henry Stuart | Matthew Lennox | Patrick Ruthven | James Stuart |
Noblewomen: Amy Dudley | Diane de Poitiers | Lucrezia de' Medici | Mary Beaton | Mary Boleyn | Mary Fleming | Mary Livingston | Mary Seton | Margaret Lennox |
Others: David Rizzio | John Knox | Nostradamus | Pope Clement VII |