Once upon a time there were two Florentine queens that left their mark on Paris. In the newest La Vie Creative - Paris History Avec A Hemingway episode we talk all about one of them, Marie de Medicis from her childhood in Florence to her life in exile.
She was born on April 26, 1575 to Francois I de Medicis and Joan of Austria in the Pitti Palace in Florence. Joan of Austria would die by the time she was two years old and her father married his mistress Bianca Cappello, but the two would die ten year later hours apart. A touch of the Medicis poison and the urge to get ahead by another brother.
Marie now an orphan was raised by her uncle Ferdinand I, Grand Duke of Tuscany who took the throne. As a young girl there were many suitors looking to attach themselves to the Medicis fortune but they waited until Henri IV, king of France turned in his dancing card. Marie was 25 years old when the marriage was arranged, to not only join the two families but also eliminate the debt France had to the Medicis.
It was the second marriage for Henri IV who had first married the daughter of her distant cousin Catherine de Medicis, Marguerite de Valois. Unable to provide an heir to the king, a new more fertile wife was needed. On October 5, 1600 by proxy her uncle stood in for the groom at the ceremony and was followed by a lavish party lasting for days, without Henri IV.
Marie headed to France later in the month and on November 3, 1600 arrived in Marseilles thinking she was leaping into the arms of her new husband, but Henri wasn’t there. Continuing onto Lyon it would take until December 12 before Henri IV would set eyes on his new bride. A little over 9 months later, the heir, Louis XIII was born followed by five more children. Her role was complete but everything was about to quickly change.
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