Marguerite de Valois 1553–1615. Queen of France.

Marguerite de Valois. Queen of France. Farthingale. Spanish court dress. Renaissance fashion. 16th century costumes.

Marguerite de Valois (1553 – 1615). Queen of France.

Marguerite de Valois 1553–1615. Queen of France.

“Modes et Costumes Historiques“. Drawing by Xavier Willemin. Edited and steel engraving by Hippolyte Louis Emile and Polidor Jean Charles Pauquet. Published by Cassell, Petter & Galpin London, 1864


Marguerite de Valois, daughter of Henri II of France, and first wife of Henri IV, the victor of Ivry, was born in 1553, divorced from Henri IV in 1598, and died in 1615. She is sometimes confounded with that other Margaret of Valois, the grandmother of Henri IV, who wrote the celebrated “Heptameron des Nouvelles,” modelled on Boccaccio’s “Decameron.” Before the assassination of Henri III by the Dominican monk Clement, an event which paved the way for the accession of Henry of Navarre to the throne of France as Henri IV, Marguerite was given in marriage, for state reasons, to the new monarch. Her married life was on the whole unhappy, Henri’s amours and his fondness for the children of his mistresses being a continual source of bitterness to her. She was fated to undergo hatred and suspicion at the hands of both Protestants and Catholics, due probably to the undecided attitude she took on the religious questions that vexed the time.

“The Memoirs of Marguerite de Valois” appeared first in 1628, thirteen years after the death of their witty and beautiful author. They contain many particulars of Marguerite’s life, many anecdotes hitherto unknown, and the secret history of the Court of France during the eventful
years comprised in the period 1565-82, including the massacre of Saint Bartholomew, the formation of the League, and the peace of Sens, and an account of the religious struggles which were then raging so bitterly. After the dissolution of her marriage with Henri IV, at which time she was forty-five years of age, she retired, whether under compulsion is not certain, to the castle of Usson, built on a mountain near the little town of that name in Auvergne, and the “Memoirs” appear to have been composed in that retreat, though little of this period of her life is known. Brantome, in his memoirs of his own time, has given us anecdotes of Marguerite during this quiet evening of her life, and, if we may believe him, the divorced queen’s hours were spent in great part in reading, poetry, and music. From what Brantome and Ronsard say concerning Marguerite’s personal appearance we gather that she was graceful in person and figure, happy in her choice of dress, and majestic in appearance. To personal charm she added wit and affability, and from a letter extant, addressed by her to Brantome, it seems that she bore herself in her enforced retreat with a spirit of genuine piety and resignation.

Source: The political, social, and literary history of France. Brought down to the middle of the year 1874. By the Rev. Dr. Cobham Brewer


  1. Reigns of John and of Charles V. 1350 to 1380. (Medieval, Byzantine, Gothic)
  2. Reigns’ of Charles VI. and Charles VII. 1380 to 1461. (Medieval, Gothic, Burgundy)
  3. Reigns of Louis XI, Charles VIII, and Louis XII. 1461 to 1515 (Medieval, Burgundy, Renaissance)
  4. Reign of Francis I. 1515 to 1545. (Renaissance, Tudor)
  5. Reign of Henry II. 1547 to 1558. (Tudor, Renaissance)
  6. Reign of Francis II. 1559 to 1560. (Tudor, Renaissance)
  7. Reign of Charles IX. 1560 to 1574. (Tudor, Renaissance, Spanish court dress)
  8. Reign of Henri III. 1574 to 1589. (Renaissance, early Baroque, Spanish court dress, Tudor)
  9. Reigns of Henri IV. and Louis XIII. 1589 to 1643. (Renaissance, Baroque)
  10. Reign of Louis XIV. 1643 to 1715. (Baroque)
  11. Reign of Louis XV. 1715 to 1774. (Rococo)
  12. Reign of Louis XVI. 1774 to 1780. (Late Rococo)
  13. Reign of Louis XVI. 1780 to 1789. Le Pouf. Fashion in the Ancien Régime.
  14. The Reticulated Headdress. 15th century. Medieval Burgundy era.
  15. The Hennin. Headdress 15th century. Medieval Burgundy era.
  16. Costumes de Noblesse du 14ème siècle. Histoire de la mode médiévale.
  17. Noble anglaise. Mode féminine du Moyen Age. 13ème siècle. 13ème siècle.
  18. Gabrielle d’Estrées, mistress of the French King Henry IV. 16th century, Renaissance.
  19. Henri de Lorraine, duc de Guise. France 16th century. Huguenot wars.
  20. Madame de Pompadour. Her political power and general influence to Louis XV. Rococo era.
  21. 15th century medieval room interior. The history of Tobit. Historia Scholastica.
  22. The Corset and the Crinoline. Fashion history. From ancient until 19th c.
  23. Pictures and Royal Portraits Illustrative of English and Scottish History.
  24. Les Modes de la Renaissance de l’an 1461 à l’an 1574.
  25. Characters of The Commedia dell Arte. Italian Renaissance Theater.
  26. The Rise of Monachism. Monastic costumes history.
  27. On the history of costumes. Fashion gallery from ancient until the 19th century.
  28. King James I of England, son of Mary Stuart, Queen of Scots.
  29. The Gunpowder Plot. England history.
  30. Mary Queen of Scots England history.
  31. The character of Henry VIII. Tudor King of England.
  32. The reign of Elizabeth. The days of Queen Bess.
  33. Tudor Queen. The offer of the crown to Lady Jane Grey.
  34. Queen Mary, the daughter of Henry VIII.
  35. Sir Francis Drake. England history.
  36. The english boy king Edward VI. England history.
  37. Relics associated with Queen Elisabeth. England history.
Men-at-arms with lances. 16th century soldiers.
16th Century • Germany • Military • Nobility • Renaissance
De arte athletica • Knighthood • Renaissance fashion era
German knights, men-at-arms with lances, 16th century. Renaissance era, 16th century soldiers. H... Read more
Anne Boleyn. Queen of England.
16th Century • England • Nobility • Renaissance • Tudor
Character sketches • Portrait • Renaissance fashion era • The Court of Henry VIII • Tudor period
Anne Boleyn. Queen of England. Portrait of Hans Holbein the Younger. Anne Boleyn. Queen of Eng... Read more
Renaissance lace and embroidery. Les modes de la renaissance.
16th Century • Embroidery • France • French fashion history • Renaissance
Lace • Paul Louis de Giafferri • Renaissance fashion era
Renaissance lace and embroidery. 1. Yoke and embroidered bodice accented with jewels. 2. Lady o... Read more
A dinner party of Margaret of Austria.
1515 • 16th Century • Belgium • Court dress • Renaissance
Renaissance fashion era
Musicians accompany a dinner party of Margaret of Austria. Court etiquette during the Renaiss... Read more
Joan of Austria 1547-1578, Renaissance period.
16th Century • Court dress • Italy • Nobility • Renaissance
Renaissance fashion era
Joan of Austria 1547-1578, Renaissance period 16th century. Joan of Austria was an Archduchess of... Read more
Baroque costumes. Germany 16th century fashion.
1580 • 16th Century • Baroque • Germany • Headdresses • Renaissance
Baroque fashion • Beret • Crinoline • Renaissance fashion era • Spanish Fashion
Baroque era. German citizen in 1580. Late Renaissance, early baroque era. The clothing of the m... Read more
German and French renaissance fashion 1520.
1520 • 16th Century • France • Germany • Middle Ages • Nobility • Renaissance
Münchener Bilderbogen • Renaissance fashion era
German and French renaissance fashion 1520. First third of the 16th Century. Top row left to ... Read more
Baroness during the reign of Francis I, 16th century.
1530 • 16th Century • France • Nobility • Renaissance
Musée cosmopolite • Renaissance fashion era
Baroness during the reign of Francis I, 16th century. Renaissance fashion era. Source: Le Mus... Read more