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Christina of Denmark (1522 – 1590), was firstly Duchess-consort of Milan and then Duchess-consort of Lorraine.

Background

She was claimant to the thrones of Norway, Denmark and Sweden. She was the younger surviving daughter of Christian II of Denmark and Isabella of Austria, sister of Holy Roman Emperor Charles V. Christina was born in Nyborgmarker in central Denmark in 1522.

In 1538, German painter Hans Holbein arrived in Brussels to meet Christina. Holbein had been commissioned by Henry VIII of England to paint portraits of noble women who were considered suitable brides. Christina had been mentioned after the death of Jane Seymour in 1537. Upon Holbein's arrival, Christina sat for a portrait, wearing mourning clothes. The English ambassador was arranging for Henry VIII to see the Duchess's likeness in connection with plans to marry her. Christina, then only sixteen years old, made no secret of her opposition to marrying the English king, who by this time had a reputation around Europe for his mistreatment of his wives. She supposedly told the English ambassador that "If I had two heads, one should be at the King of England's disposal." Christina was also the grand-niece of Henry's first wife Catherine of Aragon through her mother.

After turning down Henry's proposal, in 1541 she married Francis, Duke of Bar. In an interesting twist of fate, this was the prince who had been betrothed to Anne of Cleves, who became the 4th wife of Henry VIII, after he was turned down by Christina. Francis succeeded his father as Duke of Lorraine in 1544 and died in 1545, leaving Christina as the regent of Lorraine. She died in 1590.

In late 1550s and in 1560s, adventurer Wilhelm von Grumbach and his allies, who occasionally included Peder Oxe, intrigued to dethrone her second cousin king Frederick II of Denmark in Christina's favor. Nothing substantial came out of these activities.

Her son was Charles III, Duke of Lorraine, namesake of her uncle the emperor. Her daughter, Renata of Lorraine, married William V, Duke of Bavaria, and it is through her that the current Danish, Norwegian and Swedish royal families are descended.

Marriages

In 1533 she married Francesco II Sforza, Duke of Milan, who died in 1535. She and Francesco had no issue.

In 1541, she married Francis I, Duke of Lorraine (who had been betrothed to Anne of Cleves), who died in 1544. She and Francis had issue.

Issue

By Francis I
Name Birth Death Notes
Charles 1543 1608 married Claude of Valois and had issue.
Renata 1544 1602 married William V, Duke of Bavaria and had issue.
Dorothea 1545 1621 married in 1575, Eric II, Duke of Calenberg and had no issue.


In art and media

She was portrayed by Sonya Cassidy in an episode of The Tudors.


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