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Document Type

Article

Peer Reviewed

1

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Abstract

Louise of Savoy, mother of Francis I, and Catherine de Medici, mother of the last three reigning Valois kings—Francis II, Charles IX, and Henry III—were two sixteenth-century women whose maternity gave them access to power and provided the foundation for their claims to exercise it legitimately. While their contemporaries either accepted or contested those claims, some nineteenth-century critics vehemently rejected female rule, particularly by mothers. Modern scholars have left those nineteenth-century repudiations largely unquestioned.

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