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Autograph letter signed - MARY QUEEN OF SCOTS DE MEDICI Catherine - 1561. 
1561 - (QUEEN ISABELLA) LOUISE DE BRETAGNE. Autograph letter signed. (Toledo, Spain), February 20, 1561. Two original ivory leaves (8-1/2 by 11 inches) in manuscript on recto and verso. Housed in a custom watered-silk chemise and full morocco portfolio. $9500.Rare February 20, 1561 three-page autograph letter signed by the lady-in-waiting to 15-year-old Queen Isabella of Spain (Elisabeth de Valois), writing Catherine de Medici, mother of the young queen, with news of her daughter's illness, rumors of an invasion of Tunis by the Turks, the recent funeral of King Francis II, and the possible journey to Scotland of Francis' widow, Mary Queen of Scots""who did depart for Scotland that August. Long seen as a threat to the reign of Queen Elizabeth, Mary was executed at Fotheringay Castle in 1587. Letter in French with English translation provided.The death of King Henry II of France in 1559 thrust Catherine de Medici into the political arena as mother of the frail 15-year-old King Francis II. When he died in 1560, she became Regent on behalf of her ten-year-old son King Charles IX and was granted sweeping powers. After Charles died in 1574, Catherine played a key role in the reign of her third son, Henry III. This letter was written to Catherine de Medici two months after the succession of Charles IX to the throne. The letter is from Louise de Bretagne, Baroness of Castelbau and of Clermont Lodeve, the first lady-in-waiting to Elisabeth de Valois, eldest daughter of Henry II and Catherine de Medici. Elisabeth de Valois was 14 when she married King Phillip of Spain in 1559, and 15 when this letter was written to her mother.Written in French, the text in English reads in part: "The health of the Queen your daughter grows better and better since I wrote to you ". The King has not come to sleep with her yet, for which I am very glad for she is not quite well enough. The journey to Monzon is becoming less practicable and they say it will not be made this summer, which we will again spend here; therefore I assure you that the Queen is much grieving because of the hope she had of seeing you there. The Prince has his fever again rather badly, the cause being I think the great army which they say the Turks are preparing to bring this summer to Goletta [port of Tunis] and to the forts which they lost there this year, in order to take something else. From the last couriers who came from Don Juan Manrique there is much comment here about the story that the funeral of the late King [her son, 16-year-old Francis II, died December 5, 1560] was conducted with one little candle, which is thought very strange. It is also said for about a fortnight, that Monsieur the Cardinal of Lorraine is going to Metz after Easter, and Queen Mary [Mary Queen of Scots] either to Joinville or to Scotland." Mary Queen of Scots was then the 18-year-old widow of King Francis. That August she did, in fact, journey to Scotland. Long seen as a threat to Queen Elizabeth I, Mary was executed at Fotheringay Castle in 1587. Text in its entirely in French reads: "Madame, la sante de la raine v're fille est toujours allee de mieus au mieus depuis ne vois avoir escrit pource que deus jours apres que vous eutes la derniere despaich, l'on lui fit prandre unge petit medesine pour l'achever de purger, qui lui a fait si grant bien que depuis elle n'a eu mal du monde, et toujours au paravant elle se plainoit ou de mal de ceur ou de teste. Il y a desja sait jours qu'ell saist plainte de rien, et d'avantier, ['elle fust' crossed over] que estoit le jour de quaresme-prenant elle alla an ung jardin diner, par l'ordonnance des maidesins, ou fust la princesse sans manger authre chose que se quelle avoit pris l'her, [l'air?] il lui vint anvie d'aller a ses affaires, mes, pource qu'il lui avoit deus jours qu'elle n'y estoit allee, il estoit deur, et est pour saite heure plus malesee d'y aller, a l'occasion des clisetaires, qu'elle n'a acoutumee; qui lui fit fort grant mal au fondemant et lui fit for. [Attributes: Signed Copy]
[Bookseller: Bauman Rare Books]
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