Catherine de Medici (1519-1589)
Catherine de Medici (April 13, 1519 - January 5, 1589) became a power in world politics after the death of her husband, King of France Henry II. She was finally able to wrestle power away from those close to Henry and she later went on to manage the Kingdom as regent while her sons were too young to truly wield power. She was able to maintain power often by scrupulous deeds and her use of poisonon her rivals is well documented.
Catherine de' Medici, 13 April 1519 – 5 January 1589), daughter of Lorenzo II de' Medici and of Madeleine de La Tour d'Auvergne, was an Italian noblewoman who was Queen consort of France from 1547 until 1559, as the wife of King Henry II of France.
In 1533, at the age of fourteen, Caterina married Henry, second son of King Francis I and Queen Claude of France. Under the gallicised version of her name, Catherine de Médicis, she was Queen consort of France as the wife of King Henry II of France from 1547 to 1559. Throughout his reign, Henry excluded Catherine from participating in state affairs and instead showered favours on his chief mistress, Diane de Poitiers, who wielded much influence over him. Henry's death thrust Catherine into the political arena as mother of the frail fifteen-year-old King Francis II. When he died in 1560, she became regent on behalf of her ten-year-old son King Charles IX and was granted sweeping powers. After Charles died in 1574, Catherine played a key role in the reign of her third son, Henry III. He dispensed with her advice only in the last months of her life. According to one of her biographers Mark Strage, Catherine was the most powerful woman in sixteenth-century Europe.