How Catherine de Medici Made Gloves Laced with Poison Fashionable | Atlas Obscura

Source: How Catherine de Medici Made Gloves Laced with Poison Fashionable | Atlas Obscura

A pair of embroidered leather gloves from from c.1615. (Photo: Valerie McGlinchey/WikiCommons CC BY-SA 2.0 UK)

Throughout history, Catherine de Medici has been considered something of a sorceress, a 16th-century  French queen and banking heiress adroitly trained in the mixing of potions and capable of murder without a hint of remorse. One legend that has helped this reputation to endure is the story of Jeanne d’Albret, the Queen of Navarre.

France in the 1500s was a place of constant civil war between Catholics and Protestants. Jeanne d’Albret fiercely defended the Protestant cause in France and declared it the official religion of her kingdom, much to the displeasure of Catherine, a strict Catholic who was married to King Henry II of France. In an effort to unite the country, a marriage was arranged between d’Albret’s son, Henry, and Catherine’s daughter, the Princess Marguerite. What happened next has long baffled historians.

Correspondence from mother to son in the months leading up to…

Source: How Catherine de Medici Made Gloves Laced with Poison Fashionable | Atlas Obscura

French Cooking Terms in the Victorian Era | Geri Walton

Catherine de Medici

Catherine de Medici

In the Middle Ages, French food was similar to Moorish cuisine and it did not change until Catherine de Medici married Henry duc d’Orléans (who later became Henry II of France). When Catherine came to France in 1533, Italy was the leader in cuisine, and she brought with her numerous Italian chefs, who were busy creating many wonderful and unique Italian delicacies, such as macaroni, manicotti, and lasagna. Catherine’s fine cooks then introduced their culinary secrets to the French court and skilled culinary craftsmen soon began to emerge in France. By the 17th and 18th centuries, Haute Cuisine or “High Cuisine,” developed in France, along with the idea of “French cooking.”  Thus, France became known internationally as…

Source: French Cooking Terms in the Victorian Era | Geri Walton

The Early Life of Catherine De Medici

England keep my bones

The history of Catherine de Medici is one that is often written with a view to the persecutions of her son’s reign, and a consideration of her role in the massacre of the Huguenots, which took place in 1572. These issues, however, are a subject for another time, as today I wish to concentrate on the seemingly overlooked years of Catherine’s life – the years before her ascendancy, the years that arguably formed her, and made the woman who has been termed “the most powerful in sixteenth-century Europe”.

Catherine de Medici was born in Florence in 1519, at a time when her family, initially merchants, had risen to become its de facto rulers. Catherine’s great-uncle became Pope Leo X, who in turn made his nephew, Lorenzo de Medici (Catherine’s father), the Duke of Urbino. From the very beginning, Catherine’s life was one of complexities and confusion, as despite her father’s…

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