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Catherine de' Medici
Catherine S3
Biographical Information
  • Queen Consort of France (formerly)
  • Queen Dowager of France (currently)
  • Queen Mother (currently)
  • Regent of France (formerly)
  • 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.
Have you ever seen two dogs fight over a bone? They will tear each other limb from limb.
Catherine in Blood in the Water

Catherine de' Medici (Italian: Caterina de' Medici), Queen Dowager of France, is one of the main characters of the series. She is the widow of Henry II and the mother of ten children: FrancisCharles, Henry III, Elisabeth, Claude, twins: Emone and Henrietta,Louis, Margaret, and Clarissa. She is also the mother-in-law of Philip II and Mary Stuart.

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 had 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 planned to have Bash killed, Henry found out about her past affair with former lover, Viscount Richard Delacroix, and learned she had a illegitimate child with him. Catherine was soon to be beheaded for the act. Catherine was soon reunited with her long lost daughter whom she thought was dead. Clarissa kidnapped Charles and Henry Jr. and planned to kill them due to her mother's rejection. However, Mary saved the children only by killing Clarissa. Later on, Nostradamus told Catherine of new visions of Mary and Francis' future. Seeing how Clarissa was actually Catherine's firstborn not Francis, she helped Mary see what is truly in her heart as she had to choose between Francis and Sebastian. Mary eventually chose Francis and Catherine was spared from death. She had been giving Mary advice on trying to get pregnant.

After the death of Henry, Catherine turned her attention to helping Francis keep his throne secure and dealing with the nobles. Catherine was also began to be haunted by her twin daughters, Emone and Henrietta as well as her husband, Henry. This eventually led to finding her daughters true murderer, Diane and the truth about what caused Henry's madness, he was poisoned. When Catherine found out of Mary's affair with Louis Condé, she did whatever it took to destroy her for her betrayal against Francis. She also had a sexual relationship with Narcisse which ended as he betrayed her and led to her being exiled from France and teaming up with Mary's greatest enemy, Elizabeth.

Time after teaming up with Elizabeth, Catherine was captured and brought back to France being held prisoner and branded a traitor. Eventually, she was able to reconcile with her children and promising Francis that she would become Queen Regent after his death in order to help Charles who would become the next king. Later on, she was reunited with Nostradamus and learned that the prophecy was coming back into play. She was later informed by Bash that Francis has died. Catherine comforted Mary while putting aside her own grief and the two became closer than ever. Catherine was eventually put into a heated battle against Narcisse for the Regency which she eventually won.

Catherine is a member of the House of Medici by birth and the 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 could give one the impression at times that she is a horrible woman, given her manipulative nature, and how she would resort to any measures to achieve her goals. She also has an extensive knowledge of poison, and is a mistress of it.

However, she is fiercely loyal to those she loves, and she would do anything for her children. Though she tried everything she could to ruin the relationship between Francis and Mary, her motivation was pure in the sense that she was trying to save her son from death. Later on, when she has the chance to escape France and flee to Italy, she stayed instead to find and rescue her younger sons when they were kidnapped. 

Queen Catherine is an unpredictable, complex, and fascinating woman: no one would know for sure what to expect from her, and though her actions could be interpreted as cold and cruel, no one could question or doubt her love and devotion to her children. Her tumultuous and ultimately bittersweet relationship with Mary was also a testament to the fact that she does have senses of compassion and decency, but was forced to restrain them when she needed to in order to pursue what she deemed best for her children and her country.

See Catherine's Victims here

Physical AppearanceEdit

Main Article: Catherine de' Medici/Appearance
Catherine has long 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. In Season One as Queen of France, Catherine wore beautiful gowns of various colors and patterns along with matching crowns and jewelry which befitted her station as Queen. In Seasons Two, Three, and presently in Season Four as Queen Mother, and Queen Dowager Catherine still wears beautiful clothes and jewelry which while a bit more low key color wise fit her current status at French Court. Queen Catherine's favorite color apparently is red.




  • 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 which was 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 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.
  • 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's maternal grandmother was a member of the House of Bourbon
  • Historically, Catherine was originally considered to be a bride for King James V of Scotland (father of Mary, Queen of Scotland)
  • Historically, Catherine was Queen Consort of France for just over 12 years.
  • Historically, 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 the broken lance inscribed in Latin with the words "From this come my tears and my pain". She never remarried.
  • 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.
  • Catherine was never able to rule France as a Monarch due to the Salic Law which restricted succession to men.
  • Historically, 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.
  • Historically, 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 high treason punishable by death.
  • 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 Louis III, Cardinal 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.
    • She designed the gardens at the Chateau Chenonceau
  • In Banished, she murdered Diane in revenge for killing her twins, Henrietta and Emone, framing her daughter Claude, and ruining her marriage to Henry.
    • No one at French Court knows that Diane is dead or that that Catherine is responsible.
  • 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.
  • As of the season two finale, Queen Catherine has been stripped of her: title, home, income etc. by her son Francis because she was behind the kidnapping of her grandson and Lola; which she planned so that Francis would think Conde had murdered his son and kill him as a result.
    • Catherine has now gone to England to meet with Queen Elizabeth I in order to get revenge on their mutual enemy: Mary, Queen of Scotland.
  • Catherine has now returned to French Court, and was recently released from prison. She reconciled with her son Francis before he died.
    • She is now fighting with Mary's help to become Regent, and secure the throne for her son Charles
  • Catherine banished Don Carlos from the French court for trying to entrap Mary into marriage, then kill her.
  • Historically, Marie Antoinette was a direct descendent of Catherine through her daughter Claude.



Catherine de' Medici has a photo gallery.

See AlsoEdit

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