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There are many famous figures in history who have remained in the memory of people for a long time because of some of their unsolved mysteries. And the further they go deeper into history from us, the more mysterious they seem. Let's try to lift a little the veil of secrecy over the story of Heinrich Valois and Diane de Poitiers.
Henry II of Valois
Henry of Valois, the future king of France, was born on March 31, 1519. His childhood was overshadowed by a very unpleasant situation: his father Francis I lost in the battle with the Spanish king and was taken prisoner. To pay off captivity and be able to collect the required amount, the king offered to leave his two sons, seven-year-old Henry and eight-year-old Francis, with the Spaniards. Francis I was returned home, and the princes spent 4 years in captivity. According to some reports, they were treated like princes. Others were starved and beaten. In any case, the captivity made an unpleasant and lasting impression on the children.
One way or another, but according to rumors, Henry forever harbored a grudge against his father. By the way, Diane de Poitiers was among the escorting princes to a foreign land. Then a celebration was held on the occasion of the return of the princes and the new marriage of the king. And on this holiday, the young prince again saw the beautiful Diana and fell in love at first sight. The prince was 12 years old, at that time practically a young man, because the age of 13 was considered the age of majority for the French kings! But the beauty, according to the concepts of that time, was already middle-aged, about 30 years old. But her beauty was able to outshine many.
Diane de Poitiers
Diane de Poitiers was born on September 3, 1499 or January 9, 1500. When she was 13 or 15 years old, she was married off to Louis de Brese, a friend and the same age as her father. The husband was old, gloomy and laconic. But Diana became a faithful wife to him and gave birth to two daughters. Nevertheless, when Diana appeared at the court, the court dandies perked up: everyone thought that the young beauty would certainly choose a lover. But Diana rejected all claims, including King Francis I. Only once did she allow herself to ask the king for mercy for her father, who took part in the rebellion.
King Francis could not refuse such a beautiful petitioner, and the rebel was pardoned. At the age of 31, Diana became a widow and put on mourning, black and white colors that she did not remove until her death. Perhaps these colors were just very good for her. And her beauty remained unfading, which irritated and amazed the envious courtiers a lot. The favorite of Francis I, the Duchess d'Etamp, being 10 years younger, hated Diana, but could not do anything with her, the beauty of her rival and the young prince's love for her served as faithful protection.
At the age of 14, Henry had to get married. The notorious Catherine de Medici became his wife. The bride adored the handsome groom, but he remained indifferent to her. Which is not surprising: Catherine was never a beauty, fat, clumsy, with bulging eyes. And Henry still loved Diana, who was still beautiful, for which she was nicknamed Diana the hunter and the witch. Some historians believe that for 5 years, from the moment of his return from captivity to the death of his older brother, Henry had only platonic feelings for Diana. Who knows, but in those days, platonic love was not held in high esteem.
Other researchers believe that the romance began even before the wedding of Henry and Catherine, or immediately after. Maybe you are right. Also, some historians write that Catherine was not only aware of her husband's novel, but also spied on them. However, it was in those years almost in the order of things. Of course, this did not bring her joy. The Queen loved her husband all her life and tried in every possible way to attract his attention, but the only thing she succeeded in was giving birth to 10 children. And then, in truth, not right away.
But the birth of children did not change Henry's attitude to either his wife or his mistress. Heinrich continued to wear the colors of Diana, and the DH monogram - Diana / Heinrich, showered her with jewelry, gifts and tokens. By the way, many of these monograms have survived to this day in many royal castles in France. Parting even for a short time, the king wrote numerous passionate letters to his beloved and consulted with her on all issues. Even at the coronation, Diana de Poitiers was in the foreground, and Catherine de Medici was somewhere in the second.
Queen Catherine hated her rival, but was silent and pretended that everything was in order. Outwardly, they always remained on friendly terms, Diane de Poitiers even raised royal children. They even say that Henry more than once thought about divorce, but he was dissuaded by Diane de Poitiers. Everything changed in an instant. On June 30, 1559, the king participated in a knightly tournament, which was then in the order of things. But by accident, a piece of a spear went deep into his eye. Heinrich was carried away from the field, bloodied.
For several days, doctors tried to save him. At the request of the chief surgeon, the corpses of the executed were brought to him, and he modeled the wound, stabbing a stick in their eyes, in order to understand how to treat the king. According to other sources, the test subjects were required alive, which is more logical. Considering the mores of that time, this version cannot be dismissed either. But medicine was powerless. King Henry is dead. Historians believe that the famous physician and mystic Nostradamus predicted misfortune:
The queen was inconsolable, but grief did not prevent her from taking away everything presented to the former favorite. Fortunately, revenge did not go further, and Diana retired to her estate.
The riddle of Diane de Poitiers
Surprisingly, beauty did not leave Diana even in old age. And this was in an era when women, even from the upper classes, wither by 30!
The beauty herself said that the secret of her youth is simple: she did not use cosmetics, took cold baths in the morning, and then made long horseback riding trips before breakfast. She led, as they would say now, a healthy lifestyle.
Although this is perhaps not enough to preserve eternal youth. But the famous beauty took her secret with her to the grave. Diana died on April 26, 1566.
And another interesting story about how Ludwig II of Bavaria was declared insane for his hobbies.