RENEE OF FRANCE (1510-1575), second daughter of Louis XII. and Anne of Brittany, was born at Blois on the 25th of October 1510. After being betrothed successively to Gaston de Foix, Charles of Austria (the future emperor Charles V.), his brother Ferdinand, Henry VIII. of England, and the elector Joachim II. of Brandenburg, she married in 1528 Hercules of Este, son of the duke of Ferrara, who succeeded his father six years later. Renee's court became a rendezvous of men of letters and a refuge for the persecuted French Calvinists. She received Clement Marot and Calvin at her court, and finally embraced the reformed religion. Her husband, however, who viewed these proceedings with disfavour, banished her friends, took her children from her, threw her into prison,, and eventually made her abandon at any rate the outward forms of Calvinism. After his death in 1559, Renee returned to France and turned her duchy of Montargis into a centre of Protestant propaganda. During the wars of religion she was several times molested by the Catholic troops, and in 1562 her château was besieged by her son-in-law, the duke of Guise. She died at Montargis.
See B. Fontana, Renata di Francia (Rome, 1889 seq.); and E. Rodocanachi, Renee de France (Paris, 1896).
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