Feature Article #1

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Thanks for resting your eyeballs here for a moment.(They are resting, right?) If you rest them a little longer, you may learn some interesting,(hopefully)entertaining, and, yes, ocassionally BIZARRE things about French Country life. (more…)

| June 24th, 2009 | Continued

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French Country Travel Life Double Queen – Part Three

Time to get out your hankies as the French Country Travel Life Double Queen – Part Three takes center stage. (earlier, but not fantastically happy events may be found in PART  ONE and PART TWO.)

As my faithful will recall from previous spine tingling, on-the-edge-of-your-seat installments, Anne now seemed to be between the proverbial “rock and a hard place.”

Obliged to marry a King who was already married. However, like most Women of intelligence, Anne had a plan. It, like her previous decision to marry Charles, was a classic “no brainer.”

She agreed to marry Louis  12, if he could get his current marriage (to her former husbands sister no less!) annulled. Now, Today annulements are as common as experts on the internet. But in Anne’s time,( heavy Catholic vibes ) it was anything but a “slam dunk.”

Basically you needed to have a Pope in yer pocket. So – obviously Anne was banking on “no annulement = free, white and (already)21.”

But, when you’re a King, you don’t hang out the locals at the pub. And, sadly for Anne, Louis 12 DID have a Pope in his pocket.  Alexander 6, who dissolved Louis’ marriage.

So, never one to cry in her beer, Anne accepted her fate.(another good decision)  And, not letting Royal grass grow under her feet, Anne put on her travellin’ shoes….and headed back to her home turf(Brittany) to chill out and press the local flesh.

Marriage number three for the French Country Travel Life Double Queen went down on January 8, 1499, with her new husband (wisely) confirming her right to to the title “Duchess of Brittany.” And, the resulting power to issue decisions in her name.

This was a biggie for Anne, as her “raison d’etre” was always to keep Brittany independant. To make sure it stayed “in the family, in true “arranged marriages be us” fashion, Anne hooked her daughter Claude up with Charles of Austria. To beef up the French connection in the Franco-Italian war.

But when hubby Louis got the vibe that no male heir would be forthcoming from his lovely queen, he broke off the marriage and arranged his own royal love fest.  Hitching  Claude up with the heir to the French Throne, Francis of Angouleme. This, as you would expect, did not get Anne’s seal of approval.

But, sadly, time, and luck were both running out for Anne. In spite of her relatively young age, she had been pregnant a total of 14 times by two Kings.(even I can do the math here) Only three Children survived. Only Two made it to adulthood.

Renee, who by marriage became the Duchess of Chartes, after marrying the Duke of Ferrara. And Claude, who inherited her Mother’s title of Duchess of Brittany, and became Queen of France by her marriage to Francis.

Which meant, you guessed it, Brittany became a French possession.

Anne died at the Château de Blois on 9 January 1514 of a kidney-stone attack.

Her funeral, which was to set the standard for all Royal funerals to follow, lasted 40 days.

By her request, her heart was placed in a gold reliquary(a $10 word for “relic container”)



For my french scholars, here is the inscription:

En ce petit vaisseau
De fin or pur et munde
Repose ung plus grand cueur
Que oncque dame eut au munde
Anne fut le nom delle
En France deux fois royne
Duchesse des Bretons
Royale et Souveraine.

For everyone else:

 “In this little vessel of fine gold, pure and clean, rests a heart greater than any lady in the world ever had. Anne was her name, twice queen in France, Duchess of the Bretons, royal and sovereign.”


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French Country Travel Life Double Queen – Part Two




DA BG’s faithful, who’ve read PART ONE of the fantabulous Story of the  French Country Travel Life Double Queen will remember that she made the wise (and possibly only decision) to marry the guy that had just conquered her country. He being Charles 8.

This union, for all it’s elaborate pomp and ceremony (and isn’t that the best kind?) was not a bed of roses for the young Queen.

Speaking of beds, she brought two with her as she was “installed” in the Kingly chateau of Langeais. Underscoring the fact that King and Queen in those days, were  pretty much that era’s Rock Hudson and Doris Day.

And, as you would expect, said King was often away on noble missions of conquering, capturing and enslaving. Which meant that even if one or both Royal personages were, shall we say – “hot to trot”….it just wasn’t in the cards.

What was in the cards for Anne – as, again you might expect, was producing a male heir. A princely one, who would someday become a kingly one. Thus ensuring that conquering, capturing and enslaving could continue.

Sadly, in this Royal Duty, Anne gets a big “F” in the heir-producing sweepstakes.

Of  her four children, only one lived. And only for three years. Felled by a virulent virus prevalent then. To which children were particularly susceptible. Measles.

When Charles died in 1498, Anne was 21 years old. And legally obliged, by the terms of her marriage contract with Charles, to marry the New King, Louis 12. One small roadblock. Louis was already married.

Did this leave Anne “free, white and (obviously) 21?”

Actually, no one word answer possible. but the exotic stranger from the faraway lands will tell ya all about it in Part Three of the French Country Travel Life Double Queen.

Until then…..THIS may be of interest.


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French Country Travel Life Double Queen




The French Country Travel Life Double Queen is a unique slice of French History. Which, as you may remember from THIS POST pretty much takes the cake(with the cherry on top) in the  Historical Uniqueness Sweepstakes.

The Queen in question was able to accomplish something no other lady of her day was able to do. Become Queen of France, twice. And, unusual (and unique) as that historical milestone was, she did it in the usual way. Marrying two Kings. (Seperately, bien sur.)

The lady’s name was Anne de Bretange. And our riverting drama begins when Anne, at the tender age of 14, marries King Charles 8. (can you say: “King’s have more fun?”)

As you’ll recall from “expanding your empire 101″ the quickest way to..well…expand you empire, was to have a female of your family – or your cousin’s/uncle’s family…or barring that….your gardener’s family…marry someone noble with lotsa land.

The preferences in order of star rating being a duke, a prince, and, at the top o’ da ladder – a King.

So – no flies on Anne de Bretange!

While not implying that love did not bloom in Anne’s union with Charles, the “arranged marriage” concept was pretty much the “business as usual” m.o. of (royal, and wannabe royal) matrimony back in the day.

However, Anne’s situation was somewhat, DA BG doth say,(again) “Unique.”

Anne became the Duchess of Brittany(Bretagne) following the death of her Father, Francis, who fell from his horse.

This resulted in a second war between France and Brittany. So, Job no. one for Anne was obviously to marry someone (preferably anti-French) who could help hold her Duchy(the territority of Brittany) together.

Maximillian the first of Austria was recruited. Anne’s marriage to him(by proxy…which means they probably never slept in the same bed) wasn’t received positively by the French. As you can well imagine.

More blue meanies: Anne’s presumed allies were too busy with their own wars to lend a sword or two.

The French, led by Charles 7 were banging on the gate.The turning point came when Anne, having received no aid from Hubby Max. saw her captial of Rennes fall into French Hands.

Those of Charles 8, to be precise.

Anne became engaged to Charles there. Despite the howls from the Austrians – because she was already “married” to Max. – and because Charles was supposed to hook up with Max’s Daughter, Margaret.

“tant pis” (too bad) for the Austrians.

Charles and Anne were married in the Chateau de Langais on December 6, 1491

Part Two of  French Country Travel Life Double Queen - next time.

’til then.you might enjoy this slice of “Anne-o-rama”


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