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Marie Louise Gonzaga de Nevers (known in Poland as Ludwika Maria; 18 August 1611 - 10 May 1667) was queen consort to two Polish kings: Władysław IV Vasa, and John II Casimir Vasa. She was born in Parismarker (or Neversmarker) to Charles I, Duke of Mantua, and Catherine of Guise.


After having spent her childhood with her mother, she was to have married Gaston, Duke of Orléans, in 1627, but King Louis XIII of France opposed the marriage and subsequently imprisoned her in the Vincennes fortressmarker and later in a convent.

The first proposal that she marry the King of Poland, Władysław IV Vasa, was made in 1634, but Władysław eventually married Cecilia Renata of Austria.

In 1640, Marie Louise met Władysław's brother, John Casimir, and started her literary salon in Paris.

Cecilia Renata died in 1644, and on 5 November 1645 Ludwika Maria married Władysław IV per procura (John Casimir representing his brother). She had to change her name from Marie Louise to Ludwika Maria in order for the marriage to take place, as in Poland the name Maria was at that time considered reserved for only Mary .

The proper wedding of Ludwika Maria and Władysław IV took place in Warsawmarker on 10 March 1646. Two years later, on 20 May 1648, Ludwika Maria was widowed by the death of Władysław IV. John Casimir was eventually elected the next King of Poland, and married her on 30 May 1649. She died in Warsawmarker on 10 May 1667 and was buried in Krakówmarker at Wawel Cathedralmarker. Jan Kazimierz abdicated the Polish throne a year later.

Ludwika Maria was an active and energetic woman, with ambitious economic and political plans. The Polish nobility were scandalized at the Queen's meddling into politics, nevertheless she played an instrumental role in repulsing the Swedish forces during the Deluge.

She also founded the first Polish newspaper, Merkuriusz Polski (The Polish Mercury, 1652), and the first Polish convent of the Order of the Visitation of Holy Mary (1654). She supported Tito Livio Burattini, an Italian polymath (one of the first Egyptologists), who also designed "flying machines". He lived in Poland since the early 1650s.



  1. Tito Livio Burattini (1617-1682)

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