Claude of France: Wikis


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Duchess of Brittany
Reign 9 January 1514 – 20 July 1524
Predecessor Anne
Successor Francis III
Queen consort of France
Tenure 1 January 1515 – 20 July 1524
Spouse Francis I of France
Charlotte of Valois
Francis III, Duke of Brittany
Henry II of France
Madeleine, Queen of Scots
Charles, Duke of Orléans
Margaret, Duchess of Savoy
House Valois-Orléans
Father Louis XII of France
Mother Anne, Duchess of Brittany
Born 14 October 1499(1499-10-14)
Died 20 July 1524 (aged 24)

Claude of France (French: Claude de France, 14 October 1499 – 20 July 1524) was a princess and queen consort of France and ruling Duchess of Brittany, was the eldest daughter of Louis XII of France and Anne, Duchess of Brittany.

As the first spouse of Francis I of France, she was the mother of Henry II, and thus grandmother of the last three kings of the Valois line and also of Elisabeth, Queen consort of Spain; Claude, Duchess consort of Lorraine; and Margaret, the Queen consort of Henry IV of France. She is also the maternal grandmother of Charles Emmanuel I, Duke of Savoy.


Betrothals and marriage

Because her mother, Anne, Duchess of Brittany, had no surviving sons, Claude became heiress to the Duchy of Brittany. The crown of France, however, could pass only to and through male heirs, according to Salic Law. In 1504, Anne, eager to keep Brittany separate from the French crown, effected the Treaty of Blois, which promised Claude's hand in marriage to the future Holy Roman Emperor Charles V with the promise of Brittany and the Duchy of Burgundy. The prospect of a reduced France surrounded on several sides was unacceptable to the Valois, and so the betrothal was soon canceled.

The French nobles argued against a betrothal to a foreigner, urging Louis XII to marry Claude to her cousin Francis, Duke of Angoulême, "who is at least all French", and was also the heir-presumptive to the French crown. In 1506, the child was betrothed to Francis. In 1514, when her mother died, Claude became Duchess of Brittany; and on 18 May 1514, at Saint-Germain-en-Laye, she married Francis.

Court life

Claude, the pawn of so much dynastic maneuvering, was short in stature and afflicted with scoliosis, which gave her a hunched back. She was eclipsed at court by her mother-in-law, Louise of Savoy, and her sister-in-law, the literary Marguerite, Queen consort of Navarre.

When Francis became King in 1515, two of Claude's ladies-in-waiting were the English sisters Mary and Anne Boleyn, and another was Diane de Poitiers. Mary became the king's mistress before returning home in about 1519. Anne served as Claude's official translator whenever there were English visitors, such as in 1520. Anne was also a temporary companion to Claude's younger sister, Renée. Anne Boleyn returned to England in 1521, where she eventually became the Queen Consort of Henry VIII. Diane de Poitiers was a principal inspiration of the School of Fontainebleau of the French Renaissance, and became the lifelong mistress of Francis's son and successor, Henry II.

Claude's life was spent in an endless round of annual pregnancies. Her husband had many mistresses, but was usually relatively discreet. Claude imposed a strict moral code on her own household, which only a few chose to flout.


Claude of France with her daughters: at the front, Charlotte (left) and Louise (right), both of whom died young; right and behind, Madeleine, Queen consort of Scotland; left and behind, Marguerite, Duchess consort of Savoy
French Monarchy-
Capetian Dynasty, House of Valois
(Valois-Orléans branch)
Blason France moderne.svg

Louis XII
   Claude of France         
   Renée of France         

Claude and Francis I had seven children:

Death and later events

Claude died in 1524, when she was only twenty-four. She was initially succeeded as ruler of Brittany by her eldest son, the Dauphin Francis, who became Duke Francis III, with Claude's widower King Francis I as guardian. After the Dauphin's death in 1536, Claude's second son, Henry, Duke of Orleans, became Dauphin and Duke of Brittany. He later became King of France as Henry II.

Claude's widowed husband himself remarried several years after Claude's death, to Eleanor of Habsburg, the sister of Emperor Charles V. The atmosphere at court became considerably more debauched, and there were rumours that King Francis's death in 1547 was due to syphilis.

Queen Claude was named after St. Claude, a saint her mother had invoked during a pilgrimage so she could give birth to a living child.

"Reine Claude" plum

Claude is remembered in a classic small plum, the size of a walnut, pale green with a glaucous bloom. It is still called "Reine Claude" (literally, "Queen Claude") in France and is known in England as a "greengage".


French nobility
Preceded by
Duchess of Brittany
Succeeded by
Francis III
French royalty
Preceded by
Mary of England
Queen consort of France
1 January 1515–20 July 1524
Succeeded by
Eleanor of Habsburg

Simple English

Claude of France (October 14, 1499July 20, 1524) was the daughter of Louis XII of France and Anne of Brittany. Claude had no brothers, but was not allowed to be the Queen of France in her own right after her father died because of the Salic Law. Instead she became the Queen consort of France by marrying the next King of France, Francis I of France.

Henry II of France was Claude's son.

After she got married Claude spent the rest of her life having babies. She died when she was only 24.


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