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The death of Elisabeth de Valois, eldest daughter of Henri II of France and Catherine de Medici and third wife of Philip II of Spain, represented a grievous turn of events for the fragile Franco-Spanish alliance. Within a month of Elisabeth's death, Fourquevaux had already begun to discuss with Catherine possible new matches for Philip II and their potential implications for France. Catherine expressed fears about the impact of a new queen for France and for herself, as well as for the Infantas. Among the most difficult news that Fourquevaux had to deliver was the announcement of the young queen's pregnancy, widely known by May 1571. In January 1574, Catherine wrote to Anna, ostensibly conveying her condolences on the death of Philip's sister Juana, but expressing her desire to see Elisabeth, Queen of France, as happy as her sister 'with a handsome son in nine months time.


Institute for Humanities and Social Sciences

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