A Timeline of events in the life of Catherine de' Medici
- May 5, 1518 Lorenzo de Medici, Duke of Urbino marries Madeline de La Tour de Auvergne, Countess of Boulogne in a grand affair at the Chateau de Amboise.
- April 13, 1519 Less than a year after their fabulous wedding, Lorenzo & Madeline welcome their only child, a daughter: Caterina Maria Romula di Lorenzo de Medici in the Republic of Florence, Italy.
- April 28, 1519 Less than 2 weeks after giving birth Madeline dies from puerperal fever at the age of only 21.
- May 4, 1519 Less than a month after the death of his wife, Lorenzo is dead from syphilis when he is only 26. This leaves Catherine as an orphan when she is less than a month old, and in the care of her paternal grandmother & aunts.
- 1527 The Medici family is overthrown when siege is laid in Florence in an opposition to Pope Clement VI. 8 year old Catherine is taken hostage during this event and held captive in a series of convents.
- October 1529 Troops of Holy Roman Emperor Charles V lay siege to Florence, and voices call for Catherine to be chained to a wall naked, put in a basket hung on a wall so she can be fired upon, and even handed over to the soldiers for their sexual pleasure.
- August 12, 1530 Florence surrenders and 11 year old Catherine is rescued from captivity by Pope Clement.
- April-November 1530 King James V of Scotland sends the Duke of Albany to Rome to conclude a possible marriage contract between him and Catherine.
- Early 1533 King Francis I of France proposes a match between his son Prince Henry, Duke of Orleans and the "Little Duchess" Catherine. Pope Clement jumps at this offer.
- October 28, 1533 The wedding of Prince Henry, Duke of Orleans & Catherine de Medici, Duchess of Urbino is celebrated in the Église Saint-Ferréol les Augustins in Marseille. The wedding of the 14 year old couple is a grand affair with lots of gift giving, dancing & jousting to celebrate.
- 1536 17 year old Princess Catherine, Duchess of Orleans suddenly becomes the Dauphine of France when her brother in law dies from a fever at the age of 18. By now pressure is building on the young Princess as to when she and Henry will finally have a child.
- 1537 Catherine is humiliated in court when Philippa Duci who is one of her husband's mistresses gives birth to a daughter whom Henry publicly claims. Rumors begin to circulate that Henry will divorce Catherine due to her difficulty conceiving.
- 1538 Catherine watches painfully as her husband takes as his main mistress her 38 year old cousin Diane de Poitiers; who becomes a major intrusion in Catherine's life. During this time also, Henry and Catherine are trying remedies for getting pregnant and many of them are unpleasant and ineffective; so the couple seeks new advice.
- April 1543 23 year old Catherine finally receives the news she had long been praying for, when she discovers she is pregnant at last.
- January 19, 1544 11 years and 3 months after her wedding, and after literally trying every trick in the book for getting pregnant the 24 year old Princess finally gives birth to her first child a son: the Dauphin Francis. Unfortunately this happy event does little to improve her unhappy marriage and win her affection from her husband.
- July 1544 Thanks to consulting the Court Physician, the couple solves their problem, and Catherine learns she is pregnant for the second time.
- April 2, 1545 Catherine gives birth to her first daughter Princess Elisabeth of Valois.
- March 31, 1547 King Francis I dies leaving the 28 year old couple as the new King & Queen Consort of France.
- July 28, 1547 Henry is crowned King of France in the Reims Cathedral. Catherine is 5 months pregnant at this time.
- November 12, 1547 Another daughter, Princess Claude of Valois is born.
- February 3, 1549 Prince Louis, Duke of Orleans is born.
- June 10, 1549 Catherine is officially crowned Queen Consort of France in the Basilica of St. Denis. She is 30.
- June 27, 1550 Prince Charles Maximilian is born.
- October 24, 1550 Prince Louis dies from illness when he is 11 months old.
- September 19, 1551 Prince Edward Alexander is born
- May 14, 1553 Princess Margaret of Valois is born
- March 18, 1555 Prince Hercule Francois, Duke of Anjou is born (Name later changed to Francis in honor of his elder brother)
- June 24, 1556 the 37 year old Queen gives birth to a set of twin girls; Princess Joanna & Princess Victoria of Valois. When the Queen goes into labour, Joanna is to be born first but dies in utero, and the doctors must break one of her arms to get her out or else Catherine would have bled to death. Victoria is born next and survives.
- August 17, 1556 Princess Victoria of Valois dies when she is only 7 weeks old. This pregnancy nearly cost the Queen her life, and because of this the doctors strongly advised her not to try for more children. King Henry ceased to visit his wife's bedchambers when he learned of this and spent all of his time with Diane.
- April 24, 1558 The wedding of 14 year old Dauphin Francis & Mary, Queen of Scotland age 15 is celebrated at the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris. No children are born from this union.
- January 19, 1559 the wedding of 11 year old Princess Claude of Valois & Charles, Duke of Lorraine is celebrated. 9 children are born from this happy union.
- April 3-4, 1559 The Peace of Chateau-Cambrésis is signed and sealed with the marriage of Princess Elisabeth of Valois to King Phillip II of Spain.
- June 22, 1559 Phillip & Elisabeth's proxy wedding is celebrated. He is 32 and his bride is only 14. The happy couple have 5 children of whom 2 daughters survive infancy.
- June 10, 1559 Catherine becomes a widow at 40 when her husband the King dies from septicemia after he is fatally injured in a jousting accident by Gabriel Montgomery. This leaves her eldest son the Dauphin Francis king at the age of 15, with his recent bride Mary, Queen of Scotland as Queen Consort of France.
- September 21, 1559 Dauphin Francis is crowned King Francis II of France in the Reims Cathedral by his uncle Charles, Cardinal of Lorraine.
- November 1560 Francis' health begins to decline and he suffers a syncope.
- December 5, 1560 After only 17 months on the throne Francis is dead at the age of only 16 after suffering complications from an ear infection exacerbated by an abscess.
- December 21, 1560 After burying her son, Catherine is named Regent of France by the Privy Council.
- May 15, 1561 Catherine’s 10 year old son Charles is crowned as King Charles IX of France in the Reims Cathedral.
- October 3, 1568 Elisabeth, Queen Consort of Spain dies from complications of childbirth at the age of only 23.
- November 26, 1570 The wedding of King Charles and Archduchess Elisabeth of Austria is celebrated, the couple have 1 daughter: Princess Marie Elisabeth of Valois. Charles has an illegitimate son Charles de Valois, Duke de Angouleme by his mistress Marie Touchet.
- August 18, 1572 The wedding of Princess Margaret of Valois & Henry III of Navarre is celebrated to unite the Houses of Valois and Bourbon. No children result from this marriage.
- August 23-24, 1572 The infamous St. Bartholomew’s day Massacre takes place which was target assassinations & mob violence by the Catholics against the Huguenots during the religious wars of France. This massacre resulted from the Peace of Saint Germaine which ended the third religious war in France, those who were unhappy with the marriage of Margaret to Henry III, and the failed assassination of Admiral de Coligny on August 22, 1572. This event was ordered by King Charles IX and put a dark spot on Catherine’s reputation in France.
- May 30, 1574 Catherine loses another child after Charles dies at the age of only 23 from tuberculosis.
- February 13, 1575 22 year old Edward Alexander is crowned King Henry III of France following the death of his brother. He was initially King of Poland but abandoned this when he heard of Charles’ death.
- February 15, 1575 France celebrates the wedding of their new King to Princess Louise of Lorraine. No children result from this marriage.
- February 21, 1575 Claude, Duchess Consort of Lorraine dies following complications from childbirth at the age of 27.
- May 6, 1576 Catherine gives in to the Huguenot demands in the Edict of Beaulieu which her youngest son Francis Duke of Anjou forced on the French crown after he allied with Protestant princes against his brother’s crown.
- 1582-1585 Catherine cuts her daughter Margaret off, after she has: cheated on her husband, become broke, consistently run away, and begged for money. Margaret is banished from French Court by her brother after becoming an embarrassment and bringing scandal to her family, and she is cut from her mother's will and never sees her again.
- June 10, 1584 Francis dies from malaria at the age of only 29 after a failed intervention in the Low Countries during which his army had been massacred.
- 1578-1579 Catherine takes on the role of roving diplomat on behalf of her son Henry and embarked on an eighteen-month journey around the south of France to meet Huguenot leaders face to face to avoid war and enforce her son’s authority. Upon her return to Paris she is greeted with new found respect by the French who regard her as an “indefatigable princess, born to tame and govern a people as unruly as the French: they now recognize her merits, her concern for unity and are sorry not to have appreciated her sooner."
- January 5, 1589 Catherine de Medici, Queen Consort of France dies at the age of 69 from pleurisy. Those closest to her believed that her life had been shortened by the fact that her son Henry ordered the murder of the Duke of Guise. Catherine was laid to rest beside her husband Henry II, and several of their children in the Basilica of St. Denis in France.
- August 2, 1589 Just 8 months after his mother is buried Henry is murdered at the age of 37 by a friar named Jacques Clement.