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Catherine de' Medici

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Catherine de' Medici
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Biographical Information
  • Queen Consort of France (formerly)
  • Dowager Queen Consort of France
  • Queen Mother
  • Catholicism
  • Alive
Relationship Information
Portrayed By
First Appearance
Last Appearance
This article is about the Reign character Catherine de' Medici you may be looking for the Historical figure Catherine de' Medici.
My dear, never give up a crown to anybody.
Catherine to Mary Stuart in Three Queens

Catherine de' Medici (Italian: Caterina de' Medici) is the Dowager Queen Consort of France. She is the widow of Henry II and the mother of ten children: FrancisCharles, Henry III, Elisabeth, Claude, twins: Emone and Henrietta, Clarissa, Margaret, and Louis. She is also the mother-in-law of Philip II and Mary Stuart, and the future mother-in-law of Madeleine. Earlier in the series, Catherine learned from Nostradamus that Mary will cause Francis' death and has plotted to get rid of her in order to protect her son. When both Mary and Francis found out that it was Catherine trying to ruin Mary's reputation or trying to have her killed, Mary refused to go down without a fight as Francis threatened his mother that she would lose him if he continued to go after his fiancé.

Finally when Henry decided to push up the wedding date, Catherine told Mary the truth of why she's been trying to get rid of her causing Mary to leave the French Court, seeing how Nostradamus prediction of Aylee never going home came true. However, Mary was soon found by the guards and was returned to the castle. Mary refused to marry Francis and decided to have Bash legitimized, for him to become the next King of France which led to Catherine's new nest of plotting.

As Catherine plans to have Bash killed, Henry finds out about her past affair with former lover, Richard Delacroix, and learns she had a illegitimate child with him. Catherine was soon to be beheaded for this. Catherine is soon reunited with her long lost daughter whom she thought was dead. Clarissa kidnaps Charles and Henry Jr. and plans to kill them due to her mother's rejection however, Mary saves the children only by killing Clarissa.

Later on, Nostradamus tells Catherine of new visions of Mary and Francis' future. Seeing how Clarissa was actually Catherine's firstborn not Francis, she helps Mary see what is truly in her heart as she must choose between Francis and Sebastian. Mary eventually chooses Francis and Catherine is spared from death. She has been giving Mary advice on trying to get pregnant.

Catherine is a member of the House of Medici by birth and House of Valois by marriage.

She is portrayed by Canadian actress Megan Follows.

Early LifeEdit

Catherine was born into the extremely wealthy Italian House of Medici in Florence. Her parents died of illness when she was young and she was a ward of Pope Clement VII, her first cousin, once removed.

When she was eight, the citizens of Florence rebelled against the Medici, storming the palace where Catherine lived. She was taken hostage and held in a convent for several years, eventually being threatened with rape as a way of spoiling her marriage value for her family. Together with the nuns, she prayed for salvation by the Pope's armies. Eventually she was rescued and embraced by Clement before being taken to Rome. At first, it is unclear if she was actually raped or not, but Mary later figures out that she was raped.[1]

At age fourteen, Catherine was married to Henry, the second son of the previous King of France. Apparently, Henry chose her over her cousin, Hortenza.[2] Catherine and Henry were initially in love, but Catherine was unaware that Henry was already, also in love with Diane de Poitiers. Over time, Catherine feared being repudiated because she had not produced an heir, so she consulted doctors and coerced Henry into taking different, unpleasant remedies.[3]

During this time, Catherine had an affair with Richard, and had a baby girl with him, who became the castle 'ghost', Clarissa. To avoid questions about the baby's distinguishing birthmark, she gave the baby to Nostradamus' father.[4] Some time later, she gave birth to Francis.

Throughout ReignEdit


History is written by survivors and I am surely that. - Catherine to Mary in Left Behind

Reign Episode 1 17-Liege Lord Promotional Photos 595 slogo (2)


Queen Catherine may seem quite horrible at times; however she would do anything for her children and she is fiercely loyal to those she loves. She even goes so far as to try and ruin Francis & Mary's relationship to save him from "death". Later, when she has the chance to escape France and flee to Italy, she instead stays to find and save her younger sons when they are kidnapped. But Catherine is also somewhat manipulative, and will do whatever it takes if there's something in it for her in the end. The Queen is also a master when it comes to poison as she has quite an extensive knowledge of it. Catherine is an unpredictable, strong, and interesting woman.

Physical AppearanceEdit

Main Article: Catherine de' Medici/Appearance
Catherine has strawberry blonde hair which she usually wears tied up in a variety of different buns. She has hazel eyes, fair skin and she is rather short. As the Queen of France in Season One, Catherine always wore a beautiful crown to match her beautiful expensive gowns of various colors & patterns which befitted her station as Queen. Her favorite color apparently is red.


Catherine 3

Henry and Catherine

Henry II: They were the King and Queen of France. They have nine children together: Francis, Louis, Elisabeth, Claude, Margaret, Henrietta, Emone, Charles, and Henry III. Although they were frequently plotting against each other, they did at times genuinely seem to care about one another. They declared their love to each other honestly while Henry was on his death bed. In Mercy, Henry visited his wife's chambers for an erotic romp. (See Henry and Catherine.)

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Richard and Catherine

Richard Delacroix: Richard was Catherine lover while she was married to Henry, Clarissa was born from this affair before Francis was born. Richard eventually left court by Catherine "exiling" him so no one would suspect their relationship. When in reality they still loved each other. Richard then returned to court seemingly to help Henry prove Catherine guilty, when he in fact wanted to help her. She said she would always love him best and he her. (See Catherine and Richard.)

Liam: Catherine met Liam in Liege Lord. He was a Scotsman that she had a brief one night stand with and he did not realize that he was flirting with the true Queen of France. In the Queen's bedroom, he realizes who she truly is when he notices that she knows where everything is and that the robe she puts on fits her perfectly. Liam was also involved in the slaughter of the 12 Scottish men at the brothel.

Francis: Catherine and Francis have a loving mother and son relationship, and deeply care and love each other. Catherine has always protected and loved her son even when the two came to disagree. (See Catherine and Francis.)

Elisabeth: Elisabeth of Valois (Queen of Spain) is Catherine's eldest daughter whose wedding was celebrated in the Pilot. We haven't seen a personal relationship between mother and daughter yet.

Claude: Princess Claude of Valois is Catherine's daughter. She is the 4th child born to her marriage. Princess Claude appeared for the first time in The Prince of the Blood and the reckless, rambunctious princess thinks she was sent away because she incurred her mother's ire when in fact Catherine sent her away because she feared for her daughter's life. The Princess was believed to be responsible for the deaths of her twin sisters Emone and Henrietta; however she has recently been cleared of all blame. (See "Catherine and Claude".)

Charles: Prince Charles is Catherine's son. She is seen arranging his upcoming marriage in Snakes in the Garden and in Royal Blood when Charles and his little brother Henry III are kidnapped the Queen stops at nothing to find them though she is condemned to death.

Henry III: Henry III is Catherine's youngest son. Not too much has been seen between mother and son except in Royal Blood when him and his brother Charles are kidnapped by their illegitimate sister, and Catherine resolves that she will not rest until she finds her boys.

Emone and Henrietta: Emone and Henrietta are Catherine's twin daughters who died by suffocation as babies. Their ghosts first appeared to Catherine in "The Lamb and the Slaughter", their identity was revealed in The Prince of the Blood, and the story behind their deaths was shown through flashback in Terror of the Faithful. The twins feel that their mother didn't protect them hence why they are haunting her. It was revealed in Mercy that not only did Catherine know that Claude suffocated the twins in their sleep, but she also lied about it; which has earned her the twins' ire. Recently Catherine made peace with her twins and bid them goodbye. (See "Catherine, Emone and Henrietta")

Clarissa: Clarissa is Queen Catherine's illegitimate daughter and firstborn child from her affair with Richard. In Inquisition, she goes through Catherine's things and discovers that she is Catherine's daughter. As Clarissa saves her mother from the poison, Catherine sees her face and immediately rejects her. Clarissa hurt by her mother's rejection, kidnaps Charles and Henry III and holds them hostage in the woods. She threatens to kill them both until Mary saves them by killing Clarissa. In Drawn and Quartered Catherine discovered that Clarissa may be alive.

Queen Catherine's room2

Catherine and Mary

Mary Stuart: Mary is Queen Catherine's daughter in law as the wife of her son Francis. As a child Mary came to live at French Court and was raised with Catherine's children, however when the English began to threaten her Catherine sent her to the convent to be safe until it was time for her to marry Francis. When Mary returns to court the Queen finds out from Nostradamus that Mary's presence will cost her Francis. Catherine and Mary actually come together in Fated when the castle is taken hostage and both admit that they would go to hell for Francis, because of their love for him. After the wedding Queen Catherine and Mary seem to find common ground at times. Though they have respect for each other they also tend to be at odds. (See Mary and Catherine.)

Francesca de' Medici: Catherine's cousin who showed up in Inquisition, to assist her with her defense after they learn that Catherine has been accused of adultery. It's Francesca who gives her the poison pellet after she is convicted and imprisoned. 

Pietro de' Medici: Another one of Catherine's cousins who showed up to help dispute the adultery charges against the Queen in Inquisition.

Cortenza de' Medici: Catherine's cousin who was apparently a suitable bride for Henry however he chose Catherine over her. In Higher Ground, Catherine is kidnapped and Cortenza refuses to pay the ransom for her safe return. She also threatens Mary as well as Catherine's lady, Beatrice. When a furious Catherine demands the head of who is responsible for her kidnapping, Mary has Cortenza executed and her head delivered to the Queen's chambers. 

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Catherine and Nostradamus

Nostradamus: is Catherine's close friend and the Court Seer upon whom she relies heavily for his counsel. Their relationship is based on the visions that he has concerning Francis which fuel a lot of the Queen's decisions to protect him; however this comes to a head in "The Consummation" when Nostradamus reveals that his visions have changed. (See Catherine and Nostradamus.)

The Flying Squad: are a group of noble ladies who serve Queen Catherine. These young women are seen as ladies in waiting; however they mostly spy for the Queen and report back to her. Catherine made it clear that her flying squad are her friends and she doesn't trust any of them.

Sebastian: is Catherine's stepson as well as the illegitimate son of her husband. The Queen really doesn't have an issue with Bash until he is named heir to the French throne over her son, Francis, which occurs when Mary decides to wed Bash instead in order to save Francis from death. Catherine tries many times to get rid of Bash by revealing his pagan background and by ordering attempts on his life, as Bash being named heir also robs her younger sons, Charles and Henry III, of their right to the French Crown. After Henry's death; however with Francis as King, Bash is named the King's Deputy so Catherine no longer sees him as a threat. Bash has developed sort of a friendship with Catherine, after he saved her life.

Diane de Poitiers: Diane is the favorite mistress of Catherine's husband, King Henry, as well as Sebastian's mother. Catherine does not like Diane too much as this affair has been going on since she and Henry have been married. Catherine tries to get rid of Diane by telling Henry about her secret plot to have Bash legitimized, by revealing that she is a pagan, and by blackmailing her into leaving or else risk Henry knowing her secret. In Banished, it was discovered that Diane was responsible for the deaths of Catherine's twins, and she was later murdered by the Queen because of this.



  • Catherine is a feminine given name. It derives from the Greek name Αικατερινη (Aikaterine). The etymology is debated: it could derive from the earlier Greek name ‘Εκατερινη (Hekaterine), which came from ‘εκατερος (hekateros) "each of the two"; it could derive from the name of the goddess HECATE; it could be related to Greek αικια (aikia) "torture"; or it could be from a Coptic name meaning "my consecration of your name". In the early Christian era it became associated with Greek καθαρος (katharos) "pure", and the Latin spelling was changed from Katerina to Katharina to reflect this.


  • Her full name was Caterina Maria Romula di Lorenzo de' Medici.
  • One of the biggest benefits to Catherine's marriage negotiations with Henry was her maternal heritage: her mother Madeleine, was from the House of La Tour d'Auvergne one of the most prominent and ancient French Noble Families.
  • Pope Clement VII was responsible for the match between Catherine and the then Prince Henry, Duke of Orleans; which he called "The greatest match in the world"
  • Catherine was quite wealthy as a child; not only from the Medici, but also from the inheritance she received from the maternal side of her family. When Catherine and Henry married her inheritance passed to the French Crown.
  • The House of Medici was a powerful Italian family in the 15th century.
  • Historically Catherine was crowned Queen less than 2 years after her husband had been crowned King, owing to the extreme cost of funding a coronation and the subsequent festivities required to celebrate.
  • Historically Catherine was originally considered to be a bride for King James V of Scotland (father of Mary, Queen of Scots)
  • Historically Catherine was Queen Consort of France for just over 12 years.
  • Catherine was never able to rule France as a Monarch due to the Salic Law which restricted succession to men.
  • Diane de Poitiers (Her husband's mistress) and Catherine were actually cousins.
  • In the show, Catherine has a bastard daughter Clarissa but historically there is no evidence of her.
  • In reality, Catherine began falling in love with Henry when she met him, and fell more in love after they married and it is highly unlikely she ever had an affair due to the fact that for Queens adultery was treason punishable by death.
  • Catherine was so crushed by Henry's death, that she wore black mourning for the rest of her life and as her emblem kept a piece of broken lance inscribed in Latin with the words "From this come my tears and my pain".
  • Historically Catherine is often seen as having been a distant, if indulgent, mother when her children were young, because their care was actually overseen by Diane de Poitiers who employed the governess. There is debate as to why, but it may be to do with the way royal children were raised at the time and also due to Henry's reliance on, and love for, Diane.
  • As cruel as she seems she would do anything for her children, and she is fiercely loyal to those she loves.
  • Catherine served as official regent for her son Charles IX whilst he was a child, and later Henry III whilst he was coming back from Poland where he'd been elected King.
  • She died at the age of 69 years.
    • Historically it's believed that knowing of her son's involvement in the death of the Duke of Guise contributed to her illness and eventual death.
  • Catherine was a huge patron of the arts, and created many projects while Queen and after Henry's death, especially ballet.
  • In Banished, she murdered Diane in revenge for killing her twins, Henrietta and Emone, framing her daughter Claude, and ruining her marriage to Henry II.
  • In Royal Blood, it is shown she and Henry have another daughter called Claude.
  • As of The Consummation, she no longer relies so heavily on Nostradamus or his prophecies.
  • The story of Catherine's imprisonment by Florence is historically true. She spent several years held in a convent when Florence rebelled against the Medici. The leaders of Florence even discussed having her raped so she would lose political value as a marriage pawn, or having her killed by lowering her over the walls in a basket where she would be fired upon. Neither thing happened as she was ultimately deemed too valuable.



Catherine de' Medici has a photo gallery.

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