13 October 1499 – Birth of Queen Claude of France

Claude_de_France_(1499-1524)On 13th October 1499, Claude of France, wife of Francis I, was born in Romorantin-Lanthenay. She was the eldest daughter of Louis XII of France and Anne of Brittany. Salic law prevented Claude from acceding to the throne of France on the death of her father in January 1515, but her husband and cousin, Francis, Duke of Angoulême, inherited the throne and so Claude became Queen Consort instead.

Claude was Queen from January 1515 until her death in July 1524. One of her ladies was Anne Boleyn, who served her from 1515 until late 1521. You can read more about Anne Boleyn and her time serving Queen Claude in the following articles:

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8 thoughts on “13 October 1499 – Birth of Queen Claude of France”
  1. one of the ladies to the left looks a bit like mary queen of scots but i supose they all looked similer then i wonder if anne had stayed in france what would have become of her .

    1. Mary, Queen of Scots was born in 1542 so that definitely isn’t her.

      I always wonder that as well, about Anne but if she had, there never would have been Queen Elizabeth. Imagine how much different history would be!

  2. She seems such a sweet young lady, who did her duty with acceptance and never complaining. All those babies in such a short life time, she must have been worn out bless her.. Is it true she died of syphilis, given to her by her very promiscuous husband?

    Did you know there is a plum named after her, “Reine Claude” means Queen Claude, in Britain it is know as the Green-gage plum, a very old fashioned fruit, I have just planted one.

  3. I always feel sorry for this cultured lady of virtue Queen Claude as she is often described in terms that make her sound deformed or ugly and I have not come across any real evidence of this. She seems to have been a charming lady who was very cultured and virtuous and I suppose to her scandelous husband who cheated on her left right and centre she was dull and he did not want her court to attract attention away from his. In France they almost seem to have not just had seperate households but seperate palaces, seperate courts and only came together for public appearences and the duty of heir production. Claude’s court was totally the opposite of that of Francis and had a different purpose and so it is natural that it would be seen in terms alien to those who were totally won over by the sexual and flamboyant attractions of that of Francis I’s Court.

    I think therefore more needs to be done to study the life and culture of Queen Claude and other ladies like her, who were virtuous and instructed the ladies at her court and schools to be clever, but Godly and lead good holy lives. If Anne went to Claude school then she must have picked some of this up, but I doubt that she took the severe virtue that Claude practised totally to heart as she was too hot headed for this. Anne was also present at the main French court and this was very different: gaiety, fun, dancing, tornaments, feasts and flirtations. Anne was very flirtateous by nature and I do not believe that she would have taken everything taught at Claude’s school and court with a serious nature. I think she found a way to mix and match them both and to take the best of both worlds; thus making her the girl that stood out. I would love to know more about Queen Claude and her devoution to learning and virtue and what if any influence she had on the more general growth of learning amongst royal and gentle women of her day.

    1. I prefer to think of Anne as having strong independent views and confidence, rather than being hot headed. And I also think she would have had a high reverence and admiration of Claude with the moral conduct she expected of her Ladies, did Anne herself not expect a strict code of conduct of her ladies when she was Queen!?.
      She witnessed a Queen who was used as a ‘brood mare’ with very little respect, if any, from her husband. She witnessed a Queen who had a strength of character and duty, that helped her rise above her ‘lot’ with great dignity.

      Just because Anne was a vivacious young woman who enjoyed the court life style and the art of ‘courtly love’, does not suggest that she was flippant towards the teachings given by Claude. I actually think it gave her a good moral basis which she used in her courtship with Henry, she wasn’t going to be used and cast aside ruined, by any man. She used what she had learnt wisely, but also enjoyed what life had to offer too
      This suggests to me that what Anne took in great earnest her life experiences with Claude, and at the French court.

  4. It is interesting to wonder what might of happend if Anne had stayed in France.It’s possible she might have made a good marriage and had a family.Perhasp she still would have spent time at the french court,and maybe Hnery the Eigth would have found another woman to divorce Catherine over.But maybe she was fated to return to England.
    On Wikepedia ,in regards to Queen Claude, they make mention of her possibly having scoliousus(maybe spelling it wrong). Now I had never heard of that, and maybe they were confusing her with St.Joan of Valois,also known as St.Joan of France. She was married to Claude’s father Louis XII. It was said that she had a hump back or some sort of physical deformity. Louis had that marriage annuled, so that he could marry Anne of Brittany,Claude’s mother,who had been married to Joan’s brother,Charles VIII.
    Louis wanted Brittany to belong to France,so when Charles died,he siezed his oppurtunity. Louis’s divorce of joan was something of a scandal.

    Joan after the annulment, went on to found the Order of the Annociation of Mary.
    The order still exists as both cloistered nuns, and active religious who work in Belgium,etc.They have no convents in England or America. St.Joan was canozied in 1950.
    It’s possible that Claude had some contact with her pious cousin, who encouraged her devotion and strict morality as well as the influences of her mother Anne. of Brittany.

    1. Richard III had this complaint (scoliosis) by all accounts, his spine was noticeable curved when his remains were found.
      Everything I have always read on Claude, which isn’t an awful lot really, always mention her being short of stature and having a hump on her back, whether the prominence of her deformity has been exaggerated through time is a possibility, look how Shakespeare’s Richard III character was shown, his hump was very prominent, and this image has stuck ever since….
      But some of the other paintings I have seen of her I thing she was a pretty young lady, seems she had quite an unhappy time of it, considering she was born into a very privileged life style, poor girl.

  5. I have read a little more about Claude and it seems that she had the same problem with her back as Richard III, but as we have seen with his skeleton it did not make him deformed or ugly so I am still skeptical that she was either of these and it is only the ambassador that we have as testimony for this. He does of course go on to say that she was charming and whitty and that she was a patron of the arts. She appears to have been engaging and also have a nice nature. If she did not then why would Francis sleep with her every night: this is not necessary to have children on a regular basis. He obviously was a phalanderer and he had many mistresses, but always came home to the wife. He was upset when she died and he clearly missed her and her company. The lady is underestimated and undersold about her person and intelligence and I think someone should do a biography about her. I would do this myself but I am not good with languages. My French is crap. I can read some Medieveal and classical Latin of course but that is not good enough to write a biography from a scholars point of view. Any hints?
    I do have a wide range of academic contacts, but I am not a biographer by nature.

    There is one thing that I would love to know and Claire may have a reference for this that points to a definative answer.

    In Wiki article which I do not give much credence, and in others that I do it is mentioned more than once that Anne may have; and even stronger than that in Wikipedia that she was a translator for Queen Claude at the Field of the Cloth of Gold. I have a source book of this event and this is not claimed at all. I am inclined to dismiss such a claim but not without looking at all possible sources and any offered proof. I have also read that Queen Claude and Queen Catherine conversed merrily and well together. There is not a mention of a translator. Of course either lady could speak French or may-be they spoke in Spanish or even conversed in Latin. If they were at ease together it seems that an interpretor was not present.

    Question therefore: is there a source or evidence to support to the academic need for satisfaction that Anne Boleyn was an interpretor for Queen Claude at this event as Anne to me seems to be not of the correct rank. Even had she been fond of Anne which is indicated in some articles, Claude did things correctly and would have chosen a Lady of high noble birth and rank as her interpretor if in fact a woman of this time would have such a role. Would it not also have been a man?

    Thank you in advance for any insight you may have on this anomolie of academia.


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