Christina of Lorraine

Christina of Lorraine
Grand Duchess consort of Tuscany
Reign 3 May 1589 17 February 1609
Born (1565-08-16)16 August 1565
Ducal Palace of Nancy, Lorraine
Died 19 December 1637(1637-12-19) (aged 72)
Palazzo Pitti, Florence, Tuscany
Burial Basilica of San Lorenzo, Florence
Spouse Ferdinando I, Grand Duke of Tuscany
Issue Cosimo II, Grand Duke of Tuscany
Maria Maddalena de' Medici
Catherine, Governor of Siena
Carlo de' Medici
Claudia, Archduchess of Austria
House House of Lorraine (by birth)
House of Medici (by marriage)
Father Charles III, Duke of Lorraine
Mother Claude of Valois

Christina of Lorraine or Christine de Lorraine (16 August 1565 – 19 December 1637) was a member of the House of Lorraine and was the Grand Duchess of Tuscany by marriage. She served as Regent of Tuscany jointly with her daughter-in-law during the minority of her grandson from 1621.

Princess of Lorraine

Born Christine de Lorraine in Nancy, she was the daughter of Charles III of Lorraine and his wife Claude of Valois, and granddaughter of Catherine de' Medici. She was named after her paternal grandmother, Christina of Denmark.


In 1587 Francesco I de' Medici, Grand Duke of Tuscany died without a legitimate male heir; his brother Ferdinando immediately declared himself the third Grand Duke of Tuscany. Seeking a marriage that would preserve his political independence, Ferdinando chose his distant cousin, Christine of Lorraine, the favorite granddaughter of Catherine de' Medici, Queen of France. Catherine had influenced her towards this marriage, to re-align the Medici with France, not Spain.

The sumptuous and well-documented wedding festivities, celebrated in Florence in 1589, were designed to impress the royal houses of Europe. The wedding ceremony in Florence Cathedral was followed by outdoor events for the public, as well as banquets and balls, comedies and musical interludes, and a mock sea battle in the flooded courtyard of Palazzo Pitti for the aristocratic guests. Altogether the wedding spectacles cost approximately fourteen million pounds in today’s currency. These lavish and innovative forms of entertainment proved to be more than showmanship. They greatly influenced theatrical practices in European courts throughout the 17th century.

Galileo wrote his Letter to Grand Duchess Christina, expounding on the relationship between science and revelation, in 1615.

Regent of Tuscany

Her son Cosimo II died in 1621, leaving his ten-year-old son Ferdinando as grand duke. Christina and her daughter-in-law, Maria Maddalena of Austria, acted as regents until the boy came of age. Their collective regency is known as the Tutrici. Christina's temperament was analogous to Maria Maddalena's. Together, they aligned Tuscany with the Papacy and re-doubled the Tuscan clergy.[1] Upon the death of the last Duke of Urbino, instead of claiming the duchy for Ferdinando, who was married his granddaughter, and heiress, Vittoria della Rovere, they permitted it to be annexed by Pope Urban VIII.

In 1626, they banned any Tuscan subject from being educated outside the Grand Duchy, a law later resurrected by Christina's great grandson, Cosimo III.[2] Harold Acton ascribes the decline of Tuscany to their regency.[2] The Dowager Grand Duchesses sent Ferdinando on a tour of Europe in 1627.[3] Maria Maddalena died in 1631, one year before her son took over the reins of government. Christina of Lorraine died in Florence at the age of 72.



Titles, styles, honours and arms

Titles and Styles


  1. Acton, p 111
  2. 1 2 Acton, p 192
  3. Strathern, p 375

Media related to Christina of Lorraine at Wikimedia Commons

See also

Christina of Lorraine
Born: 16 August 1565 Died: 19 December 1637
Italian royalty
Title last held by
Bianca Cappello
Grand Duchess consort of Tuscany
Succeeded by
Maria Maddalena of Austria
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