Anne of Austria

Anne of Austria

: "For the queen consort of Sigismund III of Poland, see Anna of Austria (1573-1598)": "For the queen consort of Philip II of Spain, see Anna of Austria (1549-1580): "For other women named Anne of Austria, see Anna of Austria (disambiguation)

Infobox French Royalty|majesty|consort
name =Anne of Austria
title =Queen consort of France and Navarre

caption =Anne of Austria by Peter Paul Rubens, c. 1577-1640
reign =November 24, 1615 - May 14, 1643
spouse =Louis XIII
issue =Louis XIV
Philippe I, Duke of Orléans
royal house =House of Habsburg
titles ="HMCM" The Dowager Queen of France
"HMCM" The Queen of France
"HRH" Infanta Anne of Spain
father =Philip III of Spain
mother =Margaret of Austria
date of birth =birth date|1601|9|22|mf=y
place of birth =Valladolid, Spain
date of death =death date and age|1666|1|20|1601|9|22|mf=y
place of death =|

Anne of Austria (September 22, 1601 - January 20, 1666) was Queen Consort of France and Navarre and regent for her son, Louis XIV of France. During her regency (1643–1651) Cardinal Mazarin served as France's chief minister.

Early life

Anne was born in Valladolid, Spain and baptised Ana Maria Mauricia, as the daughter of Habsburg parents, Philip III, king of Spain, and Margaret of Austria. She bore the titles of infanta of Spain and of Portugal, archduchess of Austria, princess of Burgundy and of the Low Countries.

Anne was betrothed at the age of ten, and on November 24, 1615, at Burgos she was married by proxy to King Louis XIII of France (1601-1643), part of the Bourbon Dynasty, a purely political match. On the same day, at Bordeaux, Elisabeth of Bourbon, sister of Louis XIII married, also by proxy, the infante Philip, brother of Anne, destined to become Philip IV of Spain.

These marriages followed a tradition of cementing military and political alliances between the Catholic powers of France and Spain through royal marriages. The tradition went back to the marriage of King Philip II of Spain with the French princess, Elisabeth of Valois, the daughter of King Henry II of France, in 1559 as part of the Peace of Cateau-Cambrésis. The two princesses were exchanged on the Isle of Pheasants in the river Bidassoa that divides France and Spain, near Hendaye.

Life in France


The marriage began badly, with the fourteen-year-old couple forced to consummate the marriage, to forestall any possibility of future annulment. Although installed with all propriety in her own suite of apartments in the Louvre, Anne was ignored. Louis' mother, Marie de' Medici, continued to conduct herself as Queen of France, without any deference to her daughter-in-law, while the timid and private young king appeared profoundly uninterested. As a Spaniard, among her entourage of high-born Spanish ladies-in-waiting, Anne was out of the mainstream of French culture; she continued to live according to Spanish etiquette and failed to improve her stilted French.

In 1617, Louis conspired with Charles d'Albert, duc de Luynes to dispense with the influence of his mother in a virtual palace "coup d'état", having her favorite Concino Concini assassinated on April 26 of that year. During the years he was in the ascendancy, the duc de Luynes attempted to remedy the formal distance between Louis and his queen. He sent away the Spanish ladies and replaced them with French ones, notably the princesse de Conti and Marie de Rohan-Montbazon, his wife, and organized court events that would bring the couple together under amiable circumstances. Anne began to dress in the French manner, and in 1619 Luynes pressed the King to bed his Queen: some affection developed, to the point where it was noted that Louis was distracted during a serious illness of the Queen.

A series of miscarriages disenchanted the King and served to chill their relations. On 14 March 1622, while playing with her ladies, Anne fell on a staircase and suffered her second miscarriage, for which Louis blamed her and was angry with Mme de Luynes for having encouraged the Queen in what was seen as negligence. Henceforth, the King had less tolerance for the influence the duchesse de Luynes had over Anne, and the situation deteriorated after the death of Luynes (December 1621). The King's attention was monopolized by his war against the Protestants, while the Queen defended the remarriage of her inseparable companion, center of all court intrigue, to her lover, the "duc de Chevreuse", in 1622.

Louis turned now to Cardinal Richelieu as his advisor; Richelieu's foreign policy of struggle against the Habsburgs, who surrounded France on two fronts, inevitably created tension between himself and Anne, who remained childless for another sixteen years, while Louis depended ever more on Richelieu, who was his first minister from 1624.

Under the influence of la Chevreuse, the Queen let herself be drawn into political opposition to Richelieu and became embroiled in several intrigues against his policies. Vague rumors of betrayal circulated in the court, notably her supposed involvement with the conspiracies of the comte de Chalais that La Chevreuse organized in 1626, then of the king's treacherous lover, Cinq-Mars, who had been introduced by Richelieu.

In 1635, France declared war on Spain, placing the Queen in an untenable position. Her secret correspondence with her brother Philip IV of Spain passed beyond the requirements of sisterly affection. In August 1637, Anne was suspected, with enough cause that Richelieu forced her to sign covenants regarding her correspondence, which was henceforth open to inspection. The duchesse de Chevreuse was exiled and close watch was kept on the Queen.

Birth of an Heir

Surprisingly, in such a climate of distrust, the Queen was soon pregnant once more, a circumstance that contemporary gossip attributed to a single stormy night that prevented Louis from travelling to Saint-Maur and obliged him to spend the night with the queen [ In fact the couple spent the week of 23 to 30 November 1637 together at Saint-Germain-en-Laye, the presumed time of the conception of the Dauphin Louis Dieudonné] . The Dauphin Louis Dieudonné was born on 5 September, 1638, securing the Bourbon line.

The birth soon afterwards of a second son failed to reestablish confidence between the royal couple. It was at Saint-Germain-en-Laye that Anne gave birth to her second son; Philippe de France, duc d'Anjou and later the founder of the modern House of Orléans.

Richelieu made Louis a gift of his palatial hôtel, the "Palais Cardinal", north of the Louvre in 1636, but the King never took possession: Anne fled the Louvre to install herself there with her two small sons, and remained as Regent (hence the name Palais-Royal the structure still carries) Louis tried to prevent Anne from obtaining the regency after his death, which came in 1643, not long after that of Richelieu.

Regent of France

Anne was named regent upon her husband's death. With the aid of Pierre Séguier, she had the Parlement de Paris break the will of the late king, which would have limited her powers. Their four-year-old son was crowned King Louis XIV of France. Anne assumed the regency but to general surprise entrusted the government to the chief minister, Jules Cardinal Mazarin, who was a protegé of Richelieu and figured among the council of the regency. Mazarin left the hôtel Tuboeuf to take up residence at the Palais Royal near Queen Anne. Before long he was believed to be her lover, and, it was hinted, even her husband.


Later life

With Mazarin's support, Anne overcame the revolt of aristocrats, led by Louis II de Bourbon, Prince de Condé, that became known as the Fronde. In 1651, when her son Louis XIV officially came of age, her regency legally ended. However, she kept much power and influence over her son until the death of Mazarin. In 1659, the war with Spain ended with the Treaty of the Pyrenees. The following year, peace was cemented by the marriage of the young King to Anne's niece, the Spanish Habsburg princess Maria Theresa of Spain.

In 1661, on the death of Mazarin, Anne, always a principal patron of the Compagnie du Saint-Sacrament. It was in that year that an heir to the throne was born, her first grandchild Louis de France. Many children would follow but all would die apart from Louis. Some time after, Anne retired to the Compagnie's convent of Val-de-Grâce where she later died of breast cancer. Her lady-in-waiting, Madame de Motteville wrote the story of the queen's life in her "Mémoires d'Anne d'Autriche." Many view her as a brilliant and cunning woman and she is one of the central figures in Alexandre Dumas, père's novel, "The Three Musketeers".




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