Elisabeth of Valois (1545-1568) was a Princess of France and the Queen Consort of Spain (1559-1568).
Early life & Childhood Edit
Elisabeth of Valois was born on April 2, 1545 at the Château de Fontainebleau, the eldest daughter & 2nd child of King Henry II of France & his Queen Catherine de Medici. Her childhood was spent in the French royal nursery, where her father insisted she share her bedroom with her future sister-in-law, Mary, Queen of Scotland, who was about the same age.
Family Relationships Edit
Even though Elisabeth had to give precedence to Mary (since Mary was already a crowned queen), the two would remain close friends for the rest of their lives. While it is acknowledged that her sister Margaret and her future sister-in-law Mary were prettier than she, she was one of Catherine's attractive daughters.
Elisabeth was also described as being shy, timid and very much in awe of her formidable mother; although there is also evidence that Catherine was tender and loving toward Elisabeth. This was certainly evident in her letters to Elisabeth which were quite frequent and a great comfort to the young Queen when she left home. In 1565 mother and daughter were reunited for a brief time and very much enjoyed each other's company...it was to be the last time Catherine saw her beloved daughter.
The Royal Wedding Edit
Philip II of Spain, son of Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor, and Isabella of Portugal married Princess Elisabeth by proxy On June 22, 1559 at the Notre Dame Cathedral. However their actual wedding ceremony took place in Guadalajara, Spain, upon her arrival on February 2, 1560. The marriage was a result of the Peace of Cateau Cambrésis (1559). Elisabeth was Phillip's 3rd wife as his first two wives including Mary I of England were deceased. At her wedding she met the famous painter Sofonisba Anguissola and Ana de Mendoza, who would live with her the rest of her life. Elisabeth had been an amateur painter before, but Anguissola helped her improve her technique further.
A happy couple Edit
Philip was completely enchanted by his 14-year-old bride, and within a short period of time had given up his mistress, and the two enjoyed a very happy marriage despite the significant age difference. Elisabeth was also quite pleased with her husband, and in letters to her mother the young Queen wrote that she felt quite fortunate to have married a charming Prince, and Philip enjoyed hosting chivalric tournaments to entertain his wife. Elisabeth would play liege lady to the three young princes of the Spanish Court: Carlos, Prince of Asturias, John of Austria (illegitimate son of Charles V), and Alexander Farnese, Duke of Parma (son of Charles V's illegitimate daughter Margaret).
Babies & early death Edit
Philip was very attached to Elisabeth, staying close by her side even when she was ill with smallpox. Elisabeth's first pregnancy in 1560 resulted in a stillborn son. Elisabeth's second pregnancy in 1564 ended with a miscarriage of twin girls. She later gave birth to Infanta Isabella Clara Eugenia of Spain on August 12, 1566, and then to Isabella's younger sister Princess Catherine Michelle of Spain on October 10, 1567. Elisabeth had another miscarriage on October 3, 1568, and died the same day, along with her newborn infant daughter. She was 23 years old.
Heartbroken King Edit
Phillip was heartbroken by the death of his Queen as he was deeply in love with her. He mourned her for almost a year before even considering another bride.