The Loire Valley: Part Deux

You know already that all was not well in the French Renaissance.  It's true that castles like this were being converted from their military function to a function of pomp and circumstance.  Yet France was at the same time torn by the Wars of Religion.  You know that, like Anne and Charles VIII, François loved Italy.  Along with bringing Leonardo here, he also had his son Henri II de Valois marry one of the most powerful of Italian princess: Catherine de Médicis.  Now in our little passion play, Katherine Molinari gets that role (go figure).  In any case, it seemed for a while that Francois and his son Henri had a chance to manage the situation.  The worst was about to happen.  In 1559, Henri II was killed by his best friend in a sporting accident.  His eldest son, François II, was about 15 years old and quite sickly.  He did have a marvelous young wife, though -- Mary Stewart, also known as Mary Queen of Scotts.  Under the influence of his mother Catherine de Médicis, François decided to teach the Protestants a lesson.  He meet with a large delegation in this beautiful castle.  As soon as the doors closed behind him, he had them arrested.  Some we beheaded, some were hanged, some were through in to the river.   It is said that in celebration Catherine, François and Mary Stewart had a special picnic in this terrace, which overlooked a castle decorated with Protestant heads on poles and bodies hanging from the walls all around.



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This page last updated on 2005-06-21 7:32:02 AM.