Happy 499th birthday, Marie de Lorraine ! Here is a guest biography by Susan Abernethy. I’d like to precise that Marie’s father Claude wasn’t yet duke of Guise at the time of her birth, only a younger son to duke René II of Lorraine. The town of Bar was called just Bar, capital to the eponymous duchy. The Guise family got hold of real power only around 1559, when Marie had almost lost hers in Scotland. Seemingly details, these facts are important, as they help understand Marie’s position as first daughter of the Guise, the most powerful family of the second half of 16th century France.
Marie of Guise was born on November 22, 1515 in the castle of Bar-le-Duc in northeast France. Her father was Claude, Duke of Guise and her mother was Antoinette of Bourbon. The Guises were one of the most powerful families in France being very astute in politics and military concerns. They were to dominate Scottish and French affairs for fifty years. Marie was able to learn all the fundamentals of politics from her family.
Marie was an only child for four years but then many brothers and sisters came along. When she was eleven, she was sent to live with her grandmother, Philippa of Guelders at her home in Pont-à-Mousson where she was educated. She may have been destined for a convent but her uncle Antony, Duke of Lorraine, while visiting his mother, met Marie when she was about fourteen…
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