Antoinette of Bourbon

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Antoinette of Bourbon
Duchess of Guise
Antoinette de Bourbon Limousin.jpg
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 de Bourbon, Duchess of Guise (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, and her son Francis committed the massacre at Wassy.


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 Beauveau, 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.

She recruited and sent masons, including Nicolas Roy, miners, and an armourer to her daughter Mary of Guise of Scotland.[2] She 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.[3] 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.[4]

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 Reneé, Abbess of St. Pierre.


She married Claude of Lorraine on 9 June 1513;[5] they had:



  1. ^ Ward, Prothero & Leathes 1911, p. vii.
  2. ^ Marguerite Wood, Balcarres Papers, vol. 1 (Edinburgh, 1923), pp. xix, 20, 33.
  3. ^ Carroll 2011, p. 7.
  4. ^ Carroll 2011, p. 12-13.
  5. ^ a b c d e f Carroll 2011, p. 311.
  6. ^ Wellman 2013, p. 236.
  7. ^ Carroll 2011, p. 57.
  8. ^ Neil D. Thompson and Charles M. Hansen, The Ancestry of Charles II, King of England (American Society of Genealogists, 2012).


  • Carroll, Stuart (2011). Martyrs and Murderers: The Guise Family and the Making of Europe. Oxford University 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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