Renaissance Women: Margaret of Austria
When last we sawAnne Boleyn,ourelegant & intrepid guidefor these Renaissance ramblings, it was 1513 and she was heading to the court of Margaret of Austria to begin her European education(see Anne Boleyn: The French Connection).Modern-day references to Margaret are often brief andmade in passing to denote her relationships with others. Frequently appearing in thebiographies of others; often tagged as "Aunt of" or"Sister in law of"; Margaret has a fascinating story all of her own.
Born in 1480 to Mary of Burgundy and Maximilian of Austria, Margaret of Austriacertainly had a lot of high-powered family connections (both through blood and through marriage) given that her mother was the Duchess of Burgundy in her own right, her father was the elected Holy Roman Emperorand her parents were the co-sovereigns of the Low Countries.
In 1482, when Margaret was only two years of age, hermother diedas the result ofa riding accident. This tragic turn of events accelerated Margaret'sentryinto the political arena and she was soon betrothedto Charles (the current dauphin of France andsoon-to-beCharles VIII) in a deal to end the conflict between Burgundy and France.
As part of this arrangement, a three-year-old Margaret was sent to the French royal court at Amboiseto be raised as the future queen of France. Her education was supervised by Anne of France, her fianc's sister,who was acting as his regent during his minority.Anne, one of the most powerful women ofher time, was both a ruler and an educator of the aristocracy's children, a model that Margaret herself would later emulate.
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