Marguerite de Valois (1553–1615), known as Margot, was the daughter of Catherine de’ Medici and sister to three kings of France; she was herself Queen Consort of Navarre and, at least legally, of France during the late sixteenth century.
She lived a tumultuous life during the French Wars of Religion, becoming infamous for her scandalous behaviour and numerous lovers. She was forced into an arranged marriage to the Huguenot Henri of Navarre (who could not enter the church for his own wedding) as part of Peace of Saint-Germain-en-Laye. But the wedding celebrations ended with the the Saint Bartholomew’s Day Massacre. In 1586 she was imprisoned by her brother but bribed and/or seduced her way to freedom in 1587 and then lived in internal exile in the Auvergne for fouteen years until she reached a divorce settlement with Henri, who was by then King of France.
The agreement with Henri aallowed her to maintain the title of Queen and she returned to Paris where, reconciled to her former husband and his second wife Marie de’ Medici, she established herself as a mentor of the arts and benefactress of the poor.
Her memoirs were published posthumously in 1628 ensuring – along with Alexandre Dumas, père’s later novel La Reine Margot – her enduring notoriety with a succession of stories relating to the affairs of her brothers Charles IX and Henri III, and her former husband Henri IV, as well as her own.