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Christine of France
Portrait of Christine of France in mourning as Regent of Savoy
Duchess consort of Savoy
Tenure26 July 1630 – 7 October 1637
Born(1606-02-10)10 February 1606
Palais du Louvre, Paris, France
Died27 December 1663(1663-12-27) (aged 57)
Palazzo Madama, Turin, Savoy
(m. 1619; died 1637)​
Christine Marie de France
FatherHenry IV of France
MotherMarie de' Medici
SignatureChristine of France's signature

Christine Marie of France (10 February 1606 – 27 December 1663) was Duchess of Savoy from 26 July 1630 to 7 October 1637 as the consort of Duke Victor Amadeus I. She was the daughter of Henry IV of France and sister of Louis XIII. Following her husband's death in 1637, she acted as regent of Savoy between 1637 and 1648.

Daughter of France

Born in the Palais du Louvre in Paris, Christine was the third child and second daughter of King Henry IV of France and his second wife Marie de' Medici. As a daughter of the king, she was a Daughter of France. She was a younger sister of Louis XIII of France and Elisabeth of France and an older sister of Nicholas Henri, Duke of Orléans, Gaston, Duke of Orléans and Henrietta Maria of France. Christine was a sister-in-law of Philip IV of Spain through Elisabeth and of Charles I of England through Henrietta Maria. As a child, she was raised under the supervision of the royal governess Françoise de Montglat.

After the marriage of her older sister Elisabeth in 1615 to the future Philip IV of Spain, Christine took on the honorary title of Madame Royale, which indicated her status as the eldest and most senior unmarried daughter at the court of her father. After her marriage, the style went to her younger sister Henrietta Maria.

Princess of Piedmont

Christine married Victor Amadeus I, Duke of Savoy, on 10 February 1619 at the Louvre in Paris.[1] From 1619 till her husband's accession, she was known as the Princess of Piedmont. He was a son of Charles Emmanuel I, Duke of Savoy, and the Infanta Catherine Michelle of Spain. She was said to be volatile and frivolous. Educated at the French court, she introduced French culture to the court of Savoy. Her residences included the Palazzo Madama, which she had rebuilt, and she was also the driving force for the reconstruction of the Castello del Valentino as well as the additions to the Royal Palace of Turin. She would also later own Villa Abegg, the old residence of her brother-in-law Maurice of Savoy.

She did as much as she could to ensure that her court rivalled in splendour that of her sister Henrietta Maria, wife of Charles I of England. In spite of this, the two sisters maintained an avid correspondence throughout their life which showed their close relationship. She was a confidant to the exiled Queen Henrietta, who often wrote to her about her experiences during the English Civil War and her son's restoration. Christine encouraged her husband to claim his right to the rather empty title of King of Cyprus and Jerusalem, a 'kingdom' which led to him being tagged as 'a king without a crown'. She did not keep it a secret that she would rather have been a queen than a duchess, or that she also wanted to transform the minor Duchy of Savoy into a little France.

Duchess and Regent of Savoy

Victor Amadeus became Duke after the death of his father on 26 July 1630. When Christine's husband died in 1637, she was created regent in the name of her son Francis Hyacinth. At the death of Francis Hyacinth in 1638, her second son Charles Emmanuel II succeeded and Christine retained the regency.

Both Prince Maurice and his younger brother Prince Thomas of Savoy disputed the power of their sister-in-law and her French entourage. When the first heir Francis Hyacinth died in 1638, both brothers started the Piedmontese Civil War with Spanish support. The two parties were called "principisti" (supporters of the Princes) and "madamisti" (supporters of Madama Reale).

After four years of fighting, Christine was victorious, thanks to French military support. Not only did she keep the Duchy for her son, she also prevented France getting too much power in the Duchy. When peace was concluded in 1642, Maurice married his fourteen-year-old niece Louise Christine, abandoning the title of cardinal and asking dispensation from Pope Paul V. Maurice became governor of Nice. Christine of France stayed in firm control of the Duchy of Savoy until her son could follow in her footsteps; her formal regency ended in 1648, but she remained in charge at his invitation until her death.[2]

She lived an uninhibited private life and had relationships with the French Ambassador, Marini, her brother-in-law, Maurice, and Count Filippo d'Aglié, a handsome learned and courageous man who remained faithful to her all her life.

Her regency was terminated in 1648.

Later life

She encouraged her son Charles Emmanuel to marry her niece Françoise Madeleine d'Orléans, the youngest surviving daughter of Gaston, Duke of Orléans, her youngest brother. They married 3 Apr 1663.[2]

Christine died at the Palazzo Madama, Turin, on 27 Dec 1663[3] at the age of 57 and was buried at the Basilica of Sant'Andrea. She had outlived 4 of her seven children.

Aftermath and legacy

Françoise Madeleine died in January 1664 and her son later married another cousin, Marie Jeanne of Savoy.[4] Marie Jeanne would give birth to Victor Amadeus II of Sardinia who would later marry another French Princess (and member of the House of Orléans) Anne Marie d'Orléans. 17 years after her death, in 1680, her granddaughter Victoria of Bavaria via her third daughter Princess Henriette Adelaide of Savoy, would marry her older brother's grandson Louis de France known as 'the Fat' and Monseigneur. Christine thus became a direct ancestress of the Spanish branch of the House of Bourbon via Victoria's second son Philip V of Spain.[5]

In 2010, it was revealed on NBC's Who Do You Think You Are? that one of her descendants is model/actress Brooke Shields.[6] Princess Michael of Kent, born Baroness Marie Christine, is also a descendant by Christine's son, Charles Emmanuel.[7]


  1. Stillborn son (1621)
  2. Prince Louis Amadeus of Savoy (1622–1628)
  3. Princess Luisa Christina of Savoy (27 July 1629 – 14 May 1692) married Prince Maurice of Savoy with no issue.
  4. Francis Hyacinth, Duke of Savoy (14 September 1632 – 4 October 1638), Duke of Savoy
  5. Charles Emmanuel II, Duke of Savoy (20 June 1634 – 12 June 1675) married Françoise Madeleine d'Orléans and had no issue; secondly married Marie Jeanne of Savoy and had issue.
  6. Princess Margaret Yolande of Savoy (15 November 1635 – 29 April 1663) married Ranuccio II Farnese, Duke of Parma, and died in childbirth.
  7. Princess Henriette Adelaide Maria of Savoy (6 November 1636 – 18 March 1676) married Ferdinand Maria, Elector of Bavaria, and had issue.
  8. Princess Catherine Beatrice of Savoy (6 November 1636 – 26 August 1637) died in infancy.



  1. ^ Parrott 1997, p. 36.
  2. ^ a b Oresko 2004, p. 20.
  3. ^ Oresko 2004, p. 21.
  4. ^ Oresko 2004, p. 21-23.
  5. ^ Oresko 2004, p. 18.
  6. ^ Participant: Brooke Shields; Director: Harvey Lilley; Executive Producer: Lucy Carter (4 July 2010). "Brooke Shields". Who Do You Think You Are? – USA. Episode 2. United Kingdom. BBC. BBC One. Back in New York, Brooke sets out on the trail of her very different paternal ancestry, the family of her paternal grandmother, the glamour heiress Marina Torlonia. Her journey takes her to Rome where she discovers that as bankers to the Vatican, the Torlonia family became one of the wealthiest and most influential families in 19th-century Italy. But it doesn't end there – on the trail of yet another illustrious ancestor, the mysteriously titled 'Madame Royale', Brooke heads to Paris and the very heart of French nobility.
  7. ^ Princess Michael of Kent. The Serpent and the Moon: Two Rivals for the Love of a Renaissance King, Simon and Schuster, Sep 13, 2005. Index. Princess Michael Descent Chart
  8. ^ Robert Knecht, Renaissance France, genealogies; Baumgartner, genealogical tables.


  • Oresko, Robert (2004). "Maria Giovanna Battista of Savoy-Nemours (1644–1724): daughter, consort, and Regent of Savoy". In Campbell Orr, Clarissa (ed.). Queenship in Europe 1660–1815: The Role of the Consort. Cambridge University Press. pp. 16–55. ISBN 0-521-81422-7.
  • Parrott, David (1997). "The Mantuan Succession, 1627–31: A Sovereignty Dispute in Early Modern Europe". The English Historical Review. CXII, Issue 445, February (445). Oxford Academic: 20–65. doi:10.1093/ehr/CXII.445.20.

2 Annotations

First Reading

george gomori  •  Link

Christine Bourbon, Duchess of Savoy is mentioned in Pepys's diary under January 1664 when the English Court is mourning her death.The exact date of her death is however not clear from the text- can we find it out?

Kevin Peter  •  Link

Christine-Marie of Bourbon (February 10, 1606 - December 27, 1663) was the Regent of Savoy who ruled in the name of her son, Charles Emmanuel, between 1637 and 1663.

She was the daughter of Henry IV of France, and sister of Louis XIII of France. Christine-Marie married Victor Amadeus, the son of Duke of Savoy, in 1619. In 1630, Victor Amadeus became Duke of Savoy, but upon his death in 1637, Christine-Marie became regent in the name of her young son.

During her regency, she had to fight a civil war started by two brothers of her late husband who were attempting to claim the Duchy for themselves. Thanks to French military support, she emerged victorious. Her son, after becoming an adult, was uninterested in ruling, so let Christine-Marie continue acting as regent until her death.

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Chart showing the number of references in each month of the diary’s entries.