Catherine de Medici and the Protestant Reformationby Nancy Whitelaw
From the moment of her birth, Catherine de' Medici was immersed in the treacherous world of European politics. Orphaned as a newborn, she was entrusted to her uncle, Pope Clement VII, who arranged her marriage to the son of the French king. Sent to France at the age of fourteen, young Catherine found herself in a court divided by tensions within competing noble families. The accidental death of her husband Henry II left Catherine alone to try to control the throne for her children and to hold France together during the religious violence of the fifteenth century. When her efforts to end the long, bloody conflict between the Catholics and the Protestant Huguenots failed, she agreed to the horrific St. Bartholomew's Day Massacre, which led to the murder of tens of thousands of Protestants. Despite her devotion to her children and her adopted country, Catherine died the most hated woman in France. Catherine de' Medici and the Protestant Reformation reveals one of history's most controversial women to a new generation of readers.
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