Throughout history, there have been many famous French queens whose stories have been shared around the world. Today we’re going to meet some of the most interesting characters in French history, discovering what made each of their lives so unique.
List of famous French queens
The most well-known French queens are:
- Eleanor of Aquitaine
- Blanche of Castile
- Isabella of France
- Margaret of Provence
- Anne of Brittany
- Catherine de Medici
- Marguerite of Valois
- Mary Queen of Scots
- Anne of Austria
- Maria Theresa of Spain
- Catherine of Valois
- Mary of Guise
- Marie Thérèse of France
Marie-Antoinette was the final Queen of France before the French Revolution took place. As the youngest daughter of Emperor Francis I and Empress Maria Theresa, she was born an Archduchess of Austria. She was known for being overthrown by revolutionaries and came to her untimely death by guillotine after the abolition of France’s monarchy.
Eleanor of Aquitaine
As the wife of King Louis VII, Eleanor of Aquitaine was the Queen of France from 1137 until 1152. She also became the Queen of England following this time, when she married King Henry II. Eleanor of Aquitaine lived a long and interesting life, and is still regarded as one of the most powerful figures of her time.
Blanche of Castile
After her marriage to Louis VIII, Blanche of Castile became the Queen of France. During her son’s reign, she took the place as regent when Louis IX was a minor from 1226 to 1234 and again during a period of absence which stretched from 1248 to 1252.
Isabella of France
Isabella of France was often referred to as the She-Wolf of France but was actually a Queen of England following her marriage to King Edward II. She was the only surviving daughter of Joan I of Navarre and Philip IV of France, and has a reputation of being one of the most notorious women in the whole of English history. The invasion of England that she led resulted in her husband and the king having the first abdication in England.
Margaret of Provence
By marriage to King Louis IX, Margaret of Provence found herself as Queen of France at the young age of 13 in 1234. She was crowned the day following her marriage, but she had a troubled marriage and life on the throne. After her husband’s death, she remained very politically active and continued to establish a name for herself for the rest of her life.
Anne of Brittany
Anne of Brittany was Queen of France from 1491 to 1498 and then again from 1499 until her death in 1514. She was also the Duchess of Brittany from 1488 until her death. During her life, she was the richest woman in Europe, and married two kings in a row, making her the only person to have held the position of Queen of France twice.
Catherine de Medici
Born into the Medici family, Catherine de Medici was Queen of France from 1547 to 1559 as a result of her marriage to King Henry II. As she was born into a wealthy family, she started life as an Italian noblewoman before becoming the mother to future French kings Charles IX, Henry III, and Francis II.
Marguerite of Valois
Following her marriage to Henry III of Navarre, Marguerite of Valois became the Queen of France. She was also a French princess as part of the Valois dynasty, then taking the title of Queen of Navarre following her marriage. During her life, she was also known for her work as a poet and a leader within the fashion world.
Mary Queen of Scots
Sometimes also known as Mary Stuart or Mary I of Scotland, Mary Queen of Scots was the Queen of Scotland from 1542 until she was forced to abdicate in 1566. When she was just six days old her father, James V, died, leaving her as the only surviving legitimate child to take the throne.
Anne of Austria
Born an infanta of Spain, upon her marriage to King Louis XIII, Anne of Austria became the Queen of France from 1615 until his death in 1643. During her life, she also held the position of the Queen of Navarre, until this kingdom was annexed in 1620.
Maria Theresa of Spain
As the daughter of Queen Elisabeth and King Philip IV, Maria Theresa of Spain was born an infanta of both Spain and Portugal. Her marriage to King Louis XIV saw her become the Queen of France. Maria Theresa of Spain also held ties with other European countries during her life, and was an Archduchess of Austria through Spain’s branch of the House of Habsburg.
Catherine of Valois
From 1420 to 1422, Catherine of Valois was the Queen Consort of England. While she was the daughter of Charles VI of France, she married Henry V of England. They had their son, Henry VI of England together, who became the heir to the throne.
Mary of Guise
Mary of Guise, who is sometimes referred to as Mary of Lorraine, was a noblewoman from the House of Guise. This was a branch of the House of Lorraine, meaning she was born into one of the country’s most powerful families of the time. She was a strong and intelligent leader, leaving her mark on politics in France for years to come.
Marie Thérèse of France
As the eldest child of King Louis XVI and Queen Marie Antoinette of France, Marie Thérèse of France had a short reign as the Queen of France back in 1830. During her life, she married her cousin, Louis Antoine, Duke of Angoulême, and was the only child in her family who was lucky enough to live into their adult years.
French Queens – Conclusion
There are so many fascinating stories to uncover within French history, many of which center around these famous French queens. By taking a trip back in time, you can learn a lot about the country’s past and how it came to be the way it is today.
All of these women were strong and powerful leaders in their own unique ways, which is why they are so well remembered even hundreds of years after their deaths. We encourage you to continue learning and reading more about their stories if you are fascinated by French history, as they all certainly left a huge mark on their home country.