Royal Anniversary: Death of Anne of France
November 14th, 1522
This month, I’ve chosen Anne of France as my historical royal of the month. This French Princess was born the eldest daughter of Louis XI and Charlotte of Savoy in April 1461 and went onto become one of the most powerful European figures in the late 15th century.
Anne is also known as Anne de Beaujeu as in November 1473, she married Pierre de Bourbon, Lord of Beaujeu, who later inherited the Duchies of Bourbon and Auvergne, and the Counties of Forez, l’Isle-en-Jordain, Clermont and La Marche.
In August 1483, Louis XI died and left express orders that Anne was to be appointed Regent of France during the minority of her younger brother, Charles VIII. Within hours, Anne and her husband seized control of both the King and government and retreated to the Chateau d’Amboise on the Loire with a large army. Anne’s assumption of the Regency did not go unchallenged – the Queen Mother, Charlotte of Savoy, felt slighted, as did two Princes of the Blood, Louis, Duke of Orléans and Charles, Count of Angoulême.
In 1485, the Princes of the Blood rebelled against Anne and joined forces with the Dukes of Brittany and Lorraine and other disgruntled French nobles. Anne herself did not lead the royal army, but did accompany the King and her husband where they subjugated the rebellion. By 1488, French troops had occupied Brittany, and the disgraced Duke was made to submit his duchy as a vassal of the King of France. Anne’s brother-in-law, the Duke of Orléans, was her prisoner, but as he was married to her sister Jeanne, he was later pardoned. Charles, Count of Angoulême was also pardoned, but forced to marry Pierre de Bourbon’s niece, Louise of Savoy, who was being raised and educated at Anne’s court. Pierre de Bourbon had also succeeded his brother as Duke of Bourbon and Auvergne and the other domains of the Bourbons.
In 1491, Charles VIII’s majority was declared and Anne’s regency ended, however she still held considerable influence. Charles did ignore his sister’s advice and married Anne, Duchess of Brittany ,who had succeeded her father to the duchy. Relations between the Regent and the new Queen Consort were reported to be frosty, so Anne of France took her court to the Château de Châtellerault, where she gave birth to her only surviving child, Suzanne de Bourbon, in May 1491. King Charles VIII appointed her as Regent during his Italian Wars, much to the fury of Queen Anne, who withdrew to her duchy in protest.
By 1498, Charles VIII was dead and was succeeded by his brother-in-law, the Duke of Orléans, now Louis XII. Pierre retired from the government and both he and Anne set about building up a strong power-base in the Bourbonnais for their daughter. Louis XII had his marriage to Jeanne of France annulled in 1498 and in January 1499 he married Anne, Duchess of Brittany, who was once again Queen Consort of France. Later that year despite much protest from the Queen, Louis XII appointed his former sister-in-law as Regent during his invasion of Italy.
Pierre II died in 1503 and he was succeeded in the Bourbonnais by his daughter, who married her cousin, Charles, Count of Montpensier, in May 1505. Sadly Suzanne herself died childless in May 152; her mother Anne’s last battle was with her husband’s niece, Louise of Savoy, now Regent of France and mother of the King. Louise, as a kinswoman of Suzanne, had laid claim to the Bourbon lands as the nearest living relative. Anne however wanted the lands to go to Suzanne’s husband Charles, who was also a Bourbon.
Anne did not live long enough to see the outcome, she died on November 14th, 1522 and her remains were buried beside her husband and daughter at the Priory of Souvigny. The following year, Louise of Savoy backed by the King, had a portion of the Bourbon estates confiscated, and by 1527, was in control of them all.Filed under French Royals, Historical Royals
Tagged Anne of France, Anniversary, Biography, Death.