Duchesse de Bourbon, 1528-31†
Regent of France, 1515-16, 1525-26
At the age of twelve, Louise was married to Charles of Valois, count of
Angoulême. The accession of Louis XII, who was childless, made Louise's
son, Francis of Angoulême, the heir-presumptive to the throne of France.
Louise brought her children to the court, and received Amboise as her
residence. From then on, she lived in fear lest Louis should have a son.
In consequence there was a secret rivalry between her and the queen,
Anne of Brittany, but finally, her son became king in 1515 after Louis
XII's death. From her son, Louise received the county of Angoulême
(which was erected into a duchy), the duchy of Anjou, and the counties
of Maine and Beaufort. She was then given the title of 'Madame'.
From 1515 to her death, she took the chief share in the government, and
was appointed regent during her son's two expeditions to Italy.
The part she played as the king's mother has been variously judged, but
Louise certainly had a clear head, practical good sense and tenacity. In
the critical situation after the battle of Pavia of 1525, she proved
herself equal to the emergency, maintained order in the kingdom, and
manoeuvred very skilfully to detach Henry VIII of England from the
imperial alliance. But she appears to have been passionate, exceedingly
rapacious and ever careful of her own interest. In her malignant
disputes with the constable de Bourbon on the question of his wife’s
succession, she goaded him to extreme measures, and her rapacity showed
itself also in her dealings with the superintendent of finances, J. de
Beaune, baron de Samblançay, who diverted the money intended for the
French soldiers in Italy into the coffers of the queen, and suffered
death in consequence. In 1529, she negotiated the Treaty of Cambrai
with Margaret of Austria.
When Louise died, Francis reunited to the crown her domains, which
comprised the Bourbonnais, Beaujolais, Auvergne, la Marche, Angoumois,
Maine and Anjou.
Place of birth: Pont d'Ain, France
Place of death: Grez, near Fontainebleau
Place of burial: death: Church of the Abbey of Saint-Denis