Counsel as Performative Practice of Power in Catherine de’ Medici’s Early Regencies

  • Susan BroomhallEmail author
Part of the Queenship and Power book series (QAP)


This chapter explores how Catherine de' Medici, wife of Henri II of France, first began to negotiate authority as a regent through her correspondence. Traditionally, historians have suggested Catherine wielded no power during her husband’s reign and that her first regencies were no more than nominal positions. However, a closer examination of her role suggests that Catherine obtained increasing control over the regency council and ability to make decisions in her own right. In her extensive communications, Catherine articulated how she planned to govern and encouraged Henri’s councillors to follow her counsel. Moreover, her assertion of authority created the possibility of offering ongoing advice to her husband after the conclusion of her discrete periods of regency. Susan Broomhall argues that we can discern epistolary strategies and rhetorical formulations that would operate throughout her political life.


Montmorency Queen Consort Submissive Tone Bourbon Vous Prie 
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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.The University of Western AustraliaCrawleyAustralia

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