Anne of Brittany
Anne of Brittany (January 25, 1477 – January 9, 1514) was also known as Anna of Brittany and Anne de Bretagne. She was born in Nantes, France on January 25, 1477 and was the daughter of Francis II, Duke of Brittany and Margaret of Foix .
Charles VIII, King of France, fearful of Brittany falling under foreign control, invaded Brittany in 1491 and forced Anne to break her marriage and marry him on 6 December, causing Brittany to come under French control.
A law was created which forced Anne, in the event of her having no issue with Charles, to marry the next heir to the throne.
Anne had four children by Charles VIII. However none survived childhood, and when Charles died in an accident in 1498, he therefore had no direct male heir to proceed him. This meant that the throne went to his cousin, Louis XII, who was the next in line to the throne. On January 8, 1499, Anne married him.
She had two surviving daughters by Louis XII:
- Claude of France (1499 -1524) became her heir and also Queen Consort of Francis I.
- Renee of France (1510 - 1575) married the Duke of Ferrara and became the Duchess of Chantres .
Anne was her parents' only child who survived childhood and her marriage was therefore of immense political importance. When her father died after falling from a horse on September 9, 1488, Anne became the Duchess of Brittany. This caused an enormous disruption in the internal politics of Brittany because Anne was then only eleven years old and still single, which meant that several Breton fractions were able to struggle for control of the duchy.
Anne was a highly intelligent woman and spent most of her time completing the administration of Brittany, as well as guarding its autonomy. This was futile in the end, however, as the duchy was eventually fully merged with the French crown by her daughter Claude.
Anne was also a patron of the arts and enjoyed music. She commissed a book of French manuscipts, known as the Book of Hours. She also institued the queen's maids of honour at the court.
Anne died on January 9, 1514 in the Chateau de Blois. Her death signified the end of the independence of the duchy of Brittany from the French throne, and from 1514 the title was only conferred on French princes.
|Dukes of Brittany||
Claude of France