Christina of Denmark, Duchess of Milan and Lorraine, 1522-1590

Julia Cartwright Christina of Denmark, Duchess of Milan and Lorraine, 1522-1590
Project Gutenberg
Julia Cartwright
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Опис: Christina of Denmark is known to the world by Holbein's famous portrait in the National Gallery. The great Court painter, who was sent to Brussels by Henry VIII. to take the likeness of the Emperor's niece, did his work well. With unerring skill he has rendered the \"singular good countenance,\" the clear brown eyes with their frank, honest gaze, the smile hovering about \"the faire red lips,\" the slender fingers of the nervously clasped hands, which Brantôme and his royal mistress, Catherine de' Medici, thought \"the most beautiful hands in the world.\" And in a wonderful way he has caught the subtle charm of the young Duchess's personality, and made it live on his canvas. What wonder that Henry fell in love with the picture, and vowed that he would have the Duchess, if she came to him without a farthing! But for all these brave words the masterful King's wooing failed. The ghost of his wronged wife, Katherine of Aragon, the smoke of plundered abbeys, and the blood of martyred friars, came between him and his destined bride, and Christina was never numbered in the roll of Henry VIII.'s wives. This splendid, if perilous, adventure was denied her. But many strange experiences marked the course of her chequered life, and neither beauty nor virtue could save her from the shafts of envious Fortune. Her troubles began from the cradle. When she was little more than a year old, her father, King Christian II., was deposed by his subjects, and her mother, the gentle Isabella of Austria, died in exile of a broken heart. She lost her first husband, Francesco Sforza, at the end of eighteen months. Her second husband, Francis Duke of Lorraine, died in 1545, leaving her once more a widow at the age of twenty-three. Her only son was torn from her arms while still a boy by a foreign invader, Henry II., and she herself was driven into exile. Seven years later she was deprived of the regency of the Netherlands, just when the coveted prize seemed within her grasp, and the last days of her existence were embittered by the greed and injustice of her cousin, Philip II.

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