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Louise of Savoy

Educated and Influential Woman

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Louise of Savoy

Louise of Savoy with her firm hand on the tiller of the kingdom of France

Getty Images / Hulton Archive

About Louise of Savoy:

Known for: her influence on her son, Francis I of France, including serving as his regent; her role in the education of her daughter, Marguerite of Navarre; her part in negotiating the Treaty of Cambrai
Dates: September 11, 1476 - September 22, 1531
Among her titles: Duchess of Angoulême
Also known as: Louise De Savoie

Family Connections:

  • Father: Philip II the Landless, Duke of Savoy
  • Mother: Marguerite de Bourbon
  • Husband: Charles de Valois-Orléans, comte d'Angoulême
  • Children:

More About Louise of Savoy:

The parents of Louise of Savoy died when she was very young, and she was raised by Anne of Beaujeu, a daugher of Louis XI. Louise was betrothed at a young age to the Count of Angoulême, and they married when she was 11.

Marguerite of Navarre, daughter of Louise of Savoy and Philip I of Savoy, was educated by her mother in languages and the arts. Marguerite became Queen of Navarre and was an influential patroness of education and a writer. Marguerite was the mother of Huguenot leader Jeanne d'Albret.

Francis, the son of Louise and Philip, became King of France, and Louise and her daughter Marguerite became influential advisers to Francis as well as serving as his hostesses. Francis named Louise the Duchess of Angoulême when he succeeded to the throne.

He also named Louise as his regent in 1515-16 when he was absent during Italian wars. In 1522, she was accused of diverting war funds to her own treasury; she denied any part in the scandal. In 1525-26 when Francis again went to fight the Italian wars, she was his regent. She, with her daughter Marguerite of Navarre, arranged an alliance with Henry VIII of England, in which Henry broke his alliance with Francis' war opponent, the Holy Roman Emperor Charles V.

Louise and Marguerite then negotiated Francis' release from Spanish captivity, and negotiated the Treaty of Cambrai (called "The Ladies Peace") with Margaret of Austria, aunt of Charles V, who had once been Louise's sister-in-law.

Louise of Savoy died after becoming chilled while watching a comet in 1531.

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