Margaret Of Valois, queen of France, born at Sr. Germain, May 14, 1553, died in Paris, March 27, 1615. She was the daughter of Henry II. and of Catharine de' Medici, and was famous for beauty, talents, and profligacy. The third duke of Guise, Henri de Lorraine, would have married her, although aware of her vices; but she desired a crown, and agreed to become the wife of Sebastian of Portugal, a union which was prevented by the influence of Spain. In August, 1572, she was married to the king of Navarre, afterward IIenrv IV. of France. Her mother, just before the massacre of St. Bartholomew, sought her consent to have her marriage with a heretic annulled, but this Margaret refused. There was no attachment between her and her husband, and she hated his religion. A short time after he left Paris in 1570 she was permitted to join him in Beam, where she remained five years, tolerating his infidelities, though he would not tolerate her religion. In 1581, on the invitation of her mother, she returned to the French court. There the profligacy of her life drew upon her the condemnation of her brother, Henry III., who compelled her to return to her husband, by whom she was received with bitter reproaches. She fled from him, and took up her residence at Agen, whence she made war on him as a heretic.
That place being taken in 1585, she vainly sought another asylum, and was seized and imprisoned in the fortress of Usson; blither arts made her mistress of the place, from which she drove the governor, and held it for 20 years. She became queen of France in 1589, on the death of Henry III.; but her husband, even after his triumph in 1594, refused to restore her to freedom until she should renounce her rank, to which she would not consent until after the death of his mistress, Gabrielle d Fstrces. They were divorced in 1599, but she did not recover her liberty until some years later. She visited the court in 1605, where she did homage to her suc-cessor, Maria de' Medici. The remaining 10 years of her life were passed in Paris or its vicinity. Almost to her last days she led a vicious life; but at length she fell into hypochondria, and was terrified at the approach of death. She founded the convent of the Petits Augustins in Paris, and instructed the children of the choir in music. Her Memoires (latest ed., Paris, I860), written by herself, are valuable because of the details they contain of the last days of the line of Valois.