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Christine Marie of France ( ), (10 February 1606 – 27 December 1663) was Duchess consort of Savoy and later regent of the Duchy of Savoy between 1637 and 1663.

Biography

Christine Marie de France was born in at the Palais du Louvremarker in Parismarker, she was the third child and second daughter of King Henry IV of France and his second wife, the Italian Marie de' Medici. As a daughter of the king, she was a Fille de France.

She was a younger sister of Louis XIII of France and Elisabeth of France. She was also an older sister of Nicholas Henri, Duke of Orléans, Gaston, Duke of Orléans and Henrietta Maria of France. Christine was a sister-in-law of Philip IV of Spain through Élisabeth and of Charles I of England through Henrietta Maria.

After the marriage of her older sister Elisabeth in 1615 to the future Philip IV of Spain, Christine took on the honorary title of Madame Royale indicating her status as the eldest and most senior unmarried daughter at the court of her father. After her marriage, the style went to her younger sister, the beautiful Henrietta Maria of France.

She married Victor Amadeus I, Duke of Savoy, on 10 February 1619 at the Louvre in the capital. He was a son of Charles Emmanuel I, Duke of Savoy and Infanta Catherine Michelle of Spain. Caterina Micaela was in turn a daughter of Philip II of Spain and Elisabeth of Valois. Elisabeth was a daughter of Henry II of France and Catherine de' Medici.

She was said to be volatile and frivolous. Educated at the French court, she introduced French culture to the court of Savoy; she later lived at the Palazzo Madamamarker which she had rebuilt. She was also the driving force for the reconstruction of the Castello del Valentinomarker as well as the additions to the Royal Palace of Turinmarker. She would also later own Vigno di Madama Reale, old residence of her brother in law Maurice of Savoy.

She did as much as she could to ensure that her court rivalled in splendour that of her sister Henrietta Maria, wife of Charles I of England. The sisters would have some what of a rivalry. Christine Marie encouraged her husband to claim his right to the rather empty title of King of Cyprus and Jerusalem, a 'kingdom' which led to him being tagged as 'a king without a crown'. She did not keep it a secret that she would be a Queen rather than a Sovereign Duchess; she also wanted to transform the minor Duchy of Savoy into a little France.

Victor Amadeus became Duke after the death of his father in 26 July 1630.

Christine Marie of France, a strong, confident woman assumed the Regency for her two sons, Francis Hyacinth and Charles Emmanuel II. Both Prince Maurice and his younger brother Prince Thomas of Savoy disputed the power of their sister-in-law, and her French entourage. When the first heir Francis Hyacinth died in 1638, both brothers started the Piedmontese Civil War, with Spanish support. The two parties were called "principisti" (supporters of the Princes) and "madamisti" (supporters of Madama Reale). Christine Marie was notorious as much for her capricious rule as for her many lovers, a trait from her father Henry VI who was famed for his many lovers also.

After four years of fighting, Christine Marie was victorious, thanks to French military support.Not only did she keep the Duchy for her son, she also prevented France getting too much power in the Duchy. When peace was concluded in 1642 , Maurice married his fourteen-year old niece Louise Christine, abandoning the title of cardinal and asking dispensation from Pope Paul V. Maurice became governor of Nicemarker. Christine Marie of France stayed in firm control of the Duchy of Savoy, until her son could follow in her footsteps.

She lived an uninhibited private life and had relationships with the French Ambassador, Marini, her brother-in-law, Maurizio, and Count Filippo d'Aglié, a handsome learned and courageous man who remained faithful to her all her life.

On 4 March, 1663 she saw her son Charles Emmanuel marry her niece Françoise Madeleine d'Orléans in a proxy wedding. Françoise Madeleine was the youngest surviving daughter of Gaston, Duke of Orléans, her youngest brother.

She died at the Palazzo Madama, Turin in 1663 at the age of 57 and was buried at the Basilica of Sant'Andreamarker. She had outlived 4 of her seven children.

After Death

Françoise Madeleine died in 1664 and her son later married another cousin, Marie Jeanne of Savoy. Marie Jeanne would give birth to Victor Amadeus II of Sardinia who would later marry another French Princess (and member of the House of Orléans) Anne Marie d'Orléans.

17 years after her death, in 1680, her granddaughter Victoria of Bavaria via her third daughter Princess Henriette Adelaide of Savoy, would marry her older brother's grandson Louis de France known as 'the Fat' and Monseigneur. Christine Marie thus became a direct ancestress of the Spanish branch of the House of Bourbon via Victoria's second son Philip V of Spain.

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