chapter  9
10 Pages

The Dazzle of Chivalric Devices: Carrousel on the Place Royale

ByPaulette Choné

Historians have always been rather harsh on the Spanish marriages. Marie de Medicis is presented as a Catholic fanatic, obsessed by the alliance with Spain the former enemy, and she is accused of wanting to hand over France to Spanish domination. She is called stupid, obstinate, and unintelligent a personality that rendered her incapable of understanding politics or the art of government. So the Spanish marriages, the object of so much of her attention, underscore the queen's incompetence. Jealous, imperious, haughty, lacking the most elementary subtlety, Marie de Medicis possessed a quite German stiffness hidden behind her Italian duplicity. The artistic taste of the Medici's would nevertheless bring out some elements that were more favourable to the Regent. In contrast to the historiographical claims, the Spanish marriages were a French political success, even if they did coincide with a French retreat on the international scene, due to the climate of regency, and not to the Spanish marriages in themselves.