This is the lovely Louise of Lorraine (1553 – 1601). She was Queen Consort of France from 1575 to 1589.

Her childhood sounds miserable as it is well documented that her father and stepmother (Nicholas, Duke of Mercoeur and Catherine de Lorraine-Aumale) did not care for Louise, which resulted in her being a very quiet and pious adult.

Henry III of France chose her as his wife, against his parents’ wishes. His first choice had been Marie de Cleves- but she died of a lung infection. Louise was not even considered as a good candidate for Queen, so it came as quite a shock to her family when Henry’s councillor arrived to deliver the news. They were married on February 15, 1575- two days after Henry’s coronation as King of Poland.

Louise eventually won over her mother-in-law, Catherine de’ Medici, with her calm and obedient personality (perfect for Catherine’s powerful son!)

She was devoted to her husband, however, the marryage was considereda failure because they were unable to have children. Sigh. Rumors spread that the two would divorce, but this did not happen. The pressure about killed her and their relationship but they stuck it out. She became thin and suffered from bouts of depression. Who wouldn’t?

Louise was always by Henry’s side and participated in ceremonies, parties, receptions, received ambassadors, and presided over the opening of parliament.

When Henry was assassinated in 1589, she fell into a deep depression. She wore mourning attire for the rest of her life. In France, the mourning color is white- so she was often called “the White Queen”.

Louise spent her final years fighting to clear her late husband’s name.