Isabella de Medici

I finished Isabella de Medici: The Glorious Life and Tragic End of a Renaissance Princess by Caroline P Murphy a couple of months ago but the book has stayed with me.

Ms. Murphy has written an outstanding biography. It is full of first hand sources, contemporary letters, historical facts, educated theory and historical speculation yet it never once reads as dry or pontificating.

I enjoyed the book immensely and will read it again for many reasons.

One – Isabella herself is a truly fascinating character.
Two – The Medici need to be investigated properly in order to gain any kind of perspective on them. Their reputation precedes them.
Three – I’ve been caught, like a few others, by a Google images search for Marie de Medici. Type in Marie de Medici and you will find this beautiful image…..

Only it is not Louis XIII’s mother. It is Leonora di Toledo de Medici, only daughter of Don Garzia di Toledo and Vittoria d’Ascanio Colonna and cousin to Isabella and her brother Francesco — who was Marie de Medici’s father.

Leonora and Isabella became close friends and both ended their lives at the hands of their husbands…one a Medici, one an Orsini.

Read the book. It is dark but enlightening.
Francesco eventually admits to his sister in law Leonora’s honour killing…
Although in the letter I had told you of Donna Eleonora’s accident, I have nevertheless to say to His Catholic Majesty that Lord Pietro our brother had taken her life himself because of the treason she had committed through behavior unbecoming to a lady…’
He also gave his tacit approval to Paolo Giordano I Orsini’s murder of the glorious Isabella.
Marie de Medici married Henri IV of France and gave birth to Louis XIII, thereby securing the throne of France.But her French subjects never forgot who she really was.


By Blood and By Birth – Always A Medici.

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