Today in the Middle Ages: April 26, 1573

Marie de'Medici, Queen of France, was born on April 26, 1573.

The wife of Henri IV and mother of Louis XIII, Marie became Regent of France after the King was assassinated. She was a weak, partial and unpopular ruler. After her son reached adulthood, she was exiled for a time, but Cardinal Richelieu recommended she be allowed to return to Paris, possibly to make it harder for her to plot in secret.

She was widely suspected of being complicit in her husband's assassination. Balzac wrote of her that she "has escaped the shame which ought to cover her name."