Margherita de' Medici

Margherita de' Medici
Duchess of Parma and Piacenza
Reign 11 October 1628 –
11 September 1646
Regent of Parma and Piacenza
Reign 1646–1648
Co-Regent Francesco Farnese
Born (1612-05-31)31 May 1612
Palazzo Pitti, Florence
Died 6 February 1679(1679-02-06) (aged 66)
Spouse Odoardo Farnese, Duke of Parma
Issue Ranuccio II, Duke of Parma
Prince Alessandro
Full name
Margherita de' Medici
House House of Farnese
House of Medici
Father Cosimo II de' Medici
Mother Maria Magdalena of Austria
Religion Roman Catholicism

Margherita de' Medici (31 May 1612 6 February 1679) was Duchess of Parma and Piacenza by her marriage to Odoardo Farnese, Duke of Parma. Margherita was regent of Piacenza in 1635 and regent of the entire duchy in 1646 after the death of her husband.


She was the fourth of eight children and the second daughter born to Cosimo II de' Medici, Grand Duke of Tuscany and his wife Maria Magdalena of Austria.

Margherita's siblings included: Ferdinando II de' Medici, Grand Duke of Tuscany, Cardinal Gian Carlo de' Medici, Cardinal Leopoldo de' Medici and Anna, wife of Ferdinand Charles, Archduke of Further Austria. Margherita's other siblings died in childhood or early adulthood.

Her paternal grandparents were Ferdinando I de' Medici, Grand Duke of Tuscany and his wife Christina of Lorraine. Ferdinando was a son of Cosimo I de' Medici, Grand Duke of Tuscany and his first wife Eleanor of Toledo. Margherita's maternal grandparents were Charles II, Archduke of Austria and his wife Maria Anna of Bavaria. Maria Anna was the eldest daughter of Albert V, Duke of Bavaria and his wife Archduchess Anna of Austria. Anna was a daughter of Ferdinand I, Holy Roman Emperor and his wife Anna of Bohemia and Hungary. Hence Margherita is a descendent of the Holy Roman Emperors.[1]


Margherita became engaged to Odoardo Farnese, Duke of Parma in 1620. They married in 1628 when he came of age. The marriage had been strongly desired by Odoardo's father, Ranuccio, who saw it as a means of strengthening the alliance between the Duchy of Parma and the Grand Duchy of Tuscany, then ruled by the Medici family.

The marriage took place in Florence on October 11, 1628 in Florence. The wedding celebrations were accompanied by much spectacle and pagentry, including the performance of Marco da Gagliano's opera La Flora, composed especially for the occasion. To welcome the couple back to Parma, Mercury and Mars, with music by Claudio Monteverdi and text by Claudio Achillini was performed in the Teatro Farnese.

The years in which the couple ruled over Parma were marked by the plague of 1630 and the contrast between the splendor of the court and the tax burden to which they had subjected their subjects. The tax money was used to improve Odoardo's armies. The Duke also had a pro-French policy.

According to portraiture and the sources of the time, Margherita was a beautiful woman, as well as amiable and well-educated. Unlike his predecessors, the duke was very devoted and loyal to her and there were never any sources that claimed Odoardo had illegitimate children.

On September 11, 1646, Odoardo died. Their eldest son, Ranuccio was not yet old enough to rule the Duchy alone so his mother, Margherita acted as regent until her son was old enough to govern alone.

Margherita outlived at least two of her children. She died in Parma on February 6, 1679.


  1. Caterina Farnese (2 October 1629) died at birth.
  2. Ranuccio II Farnese (17 September 1630 – 11 December 1694) married (1) Margaret Yolande of Savoy, (2) Isabella d'Este, (3) Maria d'Este.
  3. Alessandro Farnese (10 January 1635 – 18 February 1689), Governor of the Habsburg Netherlands died unmarried.
  4. Onorato Farnese (24 January 1636 – 2 November 1656) died unmarried.
  5. Caterina Farnese (3 September 1637 – 24 April 1684) a nun[2]
  6. Maria Maddalena Farnese (15 July 1638 – 11 March 1693) died unmarried.
  7. Pietro Farnese (4 April 1639 – 4 March 1677) died unmarried.
  8. Ottavio Farnese (5 January 1641 – 4 August 1641) died in infancy.


Titles, styles, honours and arms

Titles and Styles


See also

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