Antoinette of Bourbon

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Antoinette of Bourbon
Duchess of Guise
Portrait by Léonard Limousin
Born25 December 1494
Chateau de Ham, Somme department, Picardy, France
Died22 January 1583(1583-01-22) (aged 88)
Chateau de Joinville
(m. 1513; died 1550)
Antoinette de Bourbon
FatherFrançois, Count of Vendôme
MotherMarie de Luxembourg

Antoinette of Bourbon (25 December 1494 – 22 January 1583), was a French noblewoman of the House of Bourbon. She was the wife of Claude of Lorraine, Duke of Guise.


Antoinette de Bourbon was born on 25 December 1494 at the Chateau de Ham, in the Somme department, Picardy, France. She was the child of Francis, Count of Vendôme and Marie de Luxembourg.[1] Her paternal grandparents were John VIII, Count of Vendôme and Isabelle de Beauvau, and her maternal grandparents were Peter II, Count of Saint-Pol, and Margaret of Savoy.

Antoinette was described as having been a remarkable woman, combining a strong sense of family pride with a wry sense of humour. She exhibited considerable administrative talent at domestic economy as well as in the running of the vast Guise dominions surrounding their chateau of Joinville.

Antoinette exerted a powerful influence on the childhood of her granddaughter Mary, Queen of Scots, during the latter's thirteen-year sojourn in France, and was one of her principal advisors. Antoinette acted as proxy for her daughter, Mary of Guise, during the betrothal ceremony of the Queen of Scots and the Dauphin Francis in 1558.

Antoinette and her family have been described as "ultra-Catholic"; in 1533 Antoinette oversaw the burning of a Protestant man caught preaching in the town of Wassy.[2] Her son Francis, Duke of Guise was held to be responsible for the anti-Protestant Massacre of Wassy on 1 March 1562 which was one of the early atrocities in the French Wars of Religion.[3]

Antoinette de Bourbon died on 22 January 1583 at the Chateau de Joinville. She was eighty-eight years of age, having outlived all of her children except her daughter Renée, Abbess of St. Pierre.


She married Claude of Lorraine on 9 June 1513;[4] they had:


  1. ^ Ward, Prothero & Leathes 1911, p. vii.
  2. ^ Carroll 2011, p. 7.
  3. ^ Carroll 2011, p. 12-13.
  4. ^ a b c d e f Carroll 2011, p. 311.
  5. ^ Potter 1995, p. 373.
  6. ^ Wellman 2013, p. 236.
  7. ^ Carroll 2011, p. 57.


  • Carroll, Stuart (2011). Martyrs and Murderers: The Guise Family and the Making of Europe. Oxford University Press.
  • Potter, David (1995). A History of France, 1460–1560: The Emergence of a Nation State. St. Martin's Press.
  • Ward, A.W.; Prothero, G.W.; Leathes, Stanley, eds. (1911). The Cambridge Modern History. Cambridge University Press.
  • Wellman, Kathleen (2013). Queens and Mistresses of Renaissance France. Yale University Press.

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