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 Diane de Poitiers.......Mistress of King Henry II 
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Post Re: Lets Pretend We have a Time Machine for 24 hours
I like Diane de Poitiers as well. I’m not sure of the particulars but after Francis died, I believe Diane used her influence to have Anne dismissed from Court. Ironic, because Diane received similar treatment from Catherine de Medici when Henry II died and Catherine booted Diane out of Chenonceau and took it for herself. I’ve read that Catherine de Medici was so jealous of Diane that she had a hole bored through her own floor to peer into the room below, in order to spy on her husband and Diane to see what Diane was doing to keep Henry’s affection. It is to Diane’s credit that she encouraged him to sleep with his wife and heirs were born. Princess Michael of Kent wrote a book a few years ago about these two women called The Serpent and the Moon. Also, a couple years ago I remember reading an article saying that Diane de Poitiers remains had been exhumed and levels of gold were found in her hair. It was concluded that she may have been drinking gold as an elixir of youth and it may have played a role in her death.


Thu Dec 29, 2011 10:45 pm
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Post Re: Lets Pretend We have a Time Machine for 24 hours
About the gold and the hole pierced in the floor - I read it as well. I also read that Catherine took part in a conspiration against Diane, so as to disfigure her (by cutting her nose) but she eventually declined to do so. Obvisouly, the two women could not stand each others. There is a famous anecdote : once Catherine was reading a book, Diane de Poitiers feigned to take some interest and kindly asked what the book was about, Catherine snapped "It is a book about the History of France, it highlights how your kings have always been under the thumbs of their whores" (sorry for the bad translation) :lol:


I find Diane absolutely mesmerising as a woman, but at the same time, she strikes me as rather ruthless person. As far as I know, she took an active part in the crackdown upon the Protestants, and personnally profited from it. She was linked with the Guise and the Catholic extremists. Catherine was far more moderate, at least at the beginning, before the situation veered out of control.

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Fri Dec 30, 2011 7:59 am
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Post Re: Lets Pretend We have a Time Machine for 24 hours
Lilly wrote:
I am going to start a new topic - Diane de Poitiers certainly deserves her own thread!

Brilliant. She was still beautiful by all accounts even into her sixties. No wonder the De Medici was jealous of her.


Fri Dec 30, 2011 11:58 pm
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Post Diane de Poitiers.......Mistress of King Henry II
Born in 1499, Diane de Poitiers was part of the Renaissance court of Francis I. She was the same age as Queen Claude, mother to Henry II. She and Henry would later become lovers and remain close his whole life. In all probability, Henry fell in love with Diane when he was a child. The Royal children had known Diane since their births and it was Diane who comforted the little boy Henry when he was sent as a hostage to a Spanish captivity in his father's place. Diane noticed the child was upset upon leaving and she rushed through a crowd of women to hold and comfort Henry with kind words and she kissed him. This must have meant the world to this child who had lost his Mother a couple years previous to this event.


Enter Catherine de Medici.........
Poor Catherine, she loved her husband, but didn't stand a chance in being loved back because he already loved Diane. What a jealous hatred this must have generated toward Diane. Catherine was not good looking and diane was beautiful.
As Ludy said in another post - and I have no doubt - Catherine may have conspired to disfigure Diane. I remember that Catherine had a motto "Hate and Wait"......that is chilling......but, hate and wait was exactly what Catherine did.


Sat Dec 31, 2011 12:39 am
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Post Re: Diane de Poitiers.......Mistress of King Henry II
Excellent idea, Lilly !


Hate and wait is indeed chilling.


However, I think Henri II went too far in publicizing his affair with Diane de Poitiers. I am sure you remember how in Chenonceau for instance, the engraved C (for Catherine) and H (for Henri) were entwined in such a way that a D (for Diane) could be made out. What could have been more mortifying for Catherine ?


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Sat Dec 31, 2011 7:55 am
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Post Re: Lets Pretend We have a Time Machine for 24 hours
Maggie wrote:
Lilly wrote:
I am going to start a new topic - Diane de Poitiers certainly deserves her own thread!

Brilliant. She was still beautiful by all accounts even into her sixties. No wonder the De Medici was jealous of her.


Yes, indeed. She strove to keep fit, and according to Brantôme, she remained beautiful up until her death. According to Bertière however, her portraits were much flattered, the real Diane being much stouter, and was not in any was akin to the slender Goddess she was so often compared to. You can find here attached two portraits by François Clouet, which seem to be quite close to her actual looks. A beautiful woman indeed, but with that stern, almost severe expression plastered on her face.

There is no doubt that she cast a spell on Henri, that was not only due to her beauty but also to her maturity. As Lilly wrote, the boy had lost his mother quite early on.


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Last edited by Ludy on Sat Dec 31, 2011 8:05 am, edited 1 time in total.

Sat Dec 31, 2011 8:03 am
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Post Re: Diane de Poitiers.......Mistress of King Henry II
Ludy wrote:
However, I think Henri II went too far in publicizing his affair with Diane de Poitiers. I am sure you remember how in Chenonceau for instance, the engraved C (for Catherine) and H (for Henri) were entwined in such a way that a D (for Diane) could be made out. What could have been more mortifying for Catherine ?


Yes - those intertwined initials must have drove Catherine crazy!! They say hell hath no fury like a woman scorned. Catherine was in a most difficult position and I can only imagine how much she hated Diane - whose beauty and maturity she could not compete with. I imagine that Diane was so secure with herself and the fact that Henry loved her, that she might have pitied Catherine more than hate her. Diane did on occasion nurse Catherine when she was sick, and she did encourage Henry to sleep with Catherine, making sure heirs were born. I even read that on their wedding night, Henry did his duty and consumated the marriage, but left to be with Diane afterwards!


Sat Dec 31, 2011 1:53 pm
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Post Re: Diane de Poitiers.......Mistress of King Henry II
Yes I also think that Diane may have felt sorry for Catherine. Besides, not only was the queen not a beauty, but she also did not stem from a purely aristocratic family, albeit a very wealthy one, and this contrary to Diane. Catherine was thus looked down upon, as Marie de Medicis will later be after marrying Henri IV.


I have come accross a nice blog about Diane de Poitiers : http://diane-de-poitiers.blogspot.com/

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Sat Dec 31, 2011 2:13 pm
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Post Re: Diane de Poitiers.......Mistress of King Henry II
Ludy wrote:
Yes I also think that Diane may have felt sorry for Catherine. Besides, not only was the queen not a beauty, but she also did not stem from a purely aristocratic family, albeit a very wealthy one, and this contrary to Diane. Catherine was thus looked down upon, as Marie de Medicis will later be after marrying Henri IV.


I have come accross a nice blog about Diane de Poitiers : http://diane-de-poitiers.blogspot.com/

That was an interesting blog. Whats this about eating gold and costing Diane her life.


Sun Jan 01, 2012 5:56 am
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Post Re: Diane de Poitiers.......Mistress of King Henry II
Yes, that's what Lilly explained. Apparently she thought gold was anti-ageing.

I thought she died in a horse accident though.


Happy New Year !!!

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Sun Jan 01, 2012 8:59 am
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Post Re: Diane de Poitiers.......Mistress of King Henry II
Good Morning Ladies & welcome to the New Year!

Maggie wrote:
Catherine was thus looked down upon

Didn't someone call her "the grocrer's daughter? She was nonetheless looked down upon as you said - which could have only pissed her off all the more. Along with the way Henry flaunted his love for Diane. Catherine must have been one angry woman.


The article I read about Diane's possible consumption of gold (traces were found in her hair) - safely said that it "may" have contributed to her death. As far as I know, Diane de Poitiers had a fall from a horse in her early 60's and suffered a really bad broken leg. She died 2 years after the fall (in 1566).....but I am not positive exactly what happened - possible complications from the accident is a reasonable assumption as broken bones can be hard to recover from in your 60's and could lead to other health problems. (Time for me to pull out a book!)


Sun Jan 01, 2012 4:02 pm
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Post Re: Diane de Poitiers.......Mistress of King Henry II
Nice blog Ludy, interesting the author says she is a descendant of Diane de Poitiers.


Another example of Henry II's devotion to Diane is this monogram I found in a book.


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Sun Jan 01, 2012 8:01 pm
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Post Re: Diane de Poitiers.......Mistress of King Henry II
Has anyone here read CW Gortner's novel The Confessions of Catherine de Medici? I read it this past year and enjoyed it.
I got to 'know' Catherine better reading this novel.


Mon Jan 02, 2012 1:20 am
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Post Re: Diane de Poitiers.......Mistress of King Henry II
Grocer's daughter ... :lol: and still it is better than "the fat banker" nickname Marie de Médicis later had to cope with.

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Mon Jan 02, 2012 3:08 pm
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Post Re: Diane de Poitiers.......Mistress of King Henry II
Yes the Medici were a family of merchants....clever and ambitious. But already venal considerations were entering Royal alliances it seems! Catherine had that inbred good common sense that probably stemed from that background. She insisted on travelling the length and breadth of the country to visit her people and taking her son the future King with her! MA and Louis XVI would have been well inspired to do the same thing instead of staying holed up at Versailles!

I had heard that Diane had traces of mercury poisoning but I hadn't heard of gold but I may be mistaken. Maybe she drank gold but the mercury came from skin products she used to keep her looks?

I had heard also that after Henri's death, Catherine took her revenge and had the end of those D's prolonged into C's on his tomb in Saint Denis.

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Mon Jan 02, 2012 3:23 pm
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