The Tudor Society

9 January – A queen twice over!

On this day in Tudor history, 9th January 1514, Anne of Brittany, Queen Consort of King Louis XII of France, died at Château Blois in France. Her corpse was buried in the Cathedral Basilica of Saint-Denis and her heart was buried at Nantes.

Anne of Brittany was the mother of Queen Claude of France, the wife of a Holy Roman Emperor AND two Kings of France, and had been betrothed to one of the Princes in the Tower. A very interesting lady!

And then there's the story of her stolen heart!

Find out more in today's talk.

Also on this day in Tudor history, 9th January 1539, the executions of Henry Pole and Henry Courtenay for their alleged roles in the Exeter Conspiracy. Find out more in last year's video:

Also on this day in history:


On this day in Tudor history, 9th January 1514, Anne of Brittany, wife of King Louis XII of France, died at Chateau Blois in the Loire Valley in France. She was buried in the Cathedral Basilica of Saint-Denis, although her heart was buried in the tomb of her parents in Nantes Cathedral, according to instructions she left in her will.

Following her death, her husband, Louis XII, remarried, marrying Mary Tudor, sister of King Henry VIII, in October 1514. It was a shortlived marriage as Louis died on New Year’s Day 1515.

Here are some facts about Anne, who was crowned Queen of France not once, but twice!:

• Anne was born in Nantes in January 1477 and was the eldest child of Duke Francis II of Brittany and his second wife Margaret of Foix.
• Anne became Duchess of Brittany at the age of 11, in 1478, following the death of her father.
• Anne was betrothed to several men: Edward V, one of the Princes in the Tower; Maximilian I, Holy Roman Emperor; Alain I of Albret; Louis, Duke of Orléans; John of Chalon, Prince of Orange; and Edward Stafford, 3rd Duke of Buckingham.
• In 1490, Anne was married by proxy to Maximilian I, Holy Roman Emperor, but the contract was dissolved and Anne married Charles VIII of France in December 1491, becoming Queen of France. She was crowned at Saint-Denis in February 1492.
• Although Anne spent much of her second marriage pregnant, no child survived and Charles died in April 1498. Her marriage contract bound her to marry Charles’s successor if he died without a surviving heir, but the new king, Louis XII was married. However, his marriage to Joan of France was annulled and Louis and Anne married in January 1499. She was crowned Queen of France again in November 1504 at Saint-Denis.
• Anne spent a lot of the marriage pregnant, again, but only two daughters survived, Claude and Renée. Claude became Queen of France when she married her father’s successor, Francis I, and Renée became Duchess of Ferrara.
• It is thought that a kidney stone attack was to blame for Anne’s death on this day in 1514, but she’d been pregnant at least 16 times, so her body must have been so exhausted. Her husband, Louis XII was devastated by her death and was recorded as weeping for 8 days.
• Anne’s body lay in state at Blois for several days before being put in a coffin. Her coffin was processed to the church in Blois, and after masses were said by three bishops, it was then processed to Saint-Denis, with stops at Orléans, Etampes and Notre Dame.
• If you visit Saint-Denis today, you can see the beautiful joint tomb of Louis XII and Anne of Brittany.
• As I said, Anne’s heart was buried in Nantes, in her parents’ tomb, but during the French Revolution, the gold casket containing her heart was removed when the tomb was broken into. Fortunately, it was recovered, but was again stolen in 2018 when thieves broke into a museum in Nantes. Just a week or so later, police arrested two men who led them to a buried haul of goods which included the gold casket containing Anne’s heart – phew!

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