Catherine de’ Medici (1519-89) was a redoubtable woman. Orphaned a month after her birth, when her mother died of puerperal fever and her father of syphilis a week later, she was brought up by her grandmother, a haughty Roman aristocrat. The election of her cousin as pope made her a valuable pawn on the marriage market and at the age of fourteen she was betrothed to the second son of Francis I of France. But her future changed abruptly less than three years later when the dauphin died very suddenly, catapulting her into the limelight as queen in waiting.
This is the story of the making of that queen: how she survived the contempt of the French court, notoriously a venomous hive of gossip and intrigue; how she was forced to endure her husband’s very public preference for another woman; and, finally, the extraordinary dilemmas she faced after his death as she fought to keep the kingdom intact for their sons in a country torn apart by the wars of religion.
Mary Hollingsworth has a B.Sc. in business studies and a Ph.D. in art history. Her doctoral thesis dealt with the role of the architect in Italian Renaissance building projects and led to research on the role of the patron in the development of Renaissance art and architecture, a subject she taught to undergraduates and postgraduates, and published in two books (see below).
Her subsequent work on the papers of Cardinal Ippolito d’Este considerably broadened her horizons, and expertise, well beyond the confines of art history into the everyday world of Renaissance Europe. She has publ...
More about Mary Hollingsworth