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Unusual: Catherine de’ Medici’s astrologists

Catherine de’ Medici earned her nickname of “the Black Queen” because of her fascination with mysticism and astrology. The Château of Chaumont was witness to a legendary event in which the fall of the Valois dynasty was predicted.
 
Superstitious from childhood, Queen Catherine de’ Medici loved to surround herself with magicians and astrologists, the most famous of whom were Cosimo Ruggieri and Nostradamus. A permanent feature of the Royal Court, these seers were prominent at the heart of State affairs and followed the queen on her travels.
 
A legendary event took place in the Château of Chaumont, when Catherine invited Ruggieri to visit from Florence. It was at this moment that he predicted the end of the Valois dynasty, in favour of the Bourbons. The magic he used to discover this turned out to be somewhat surprising; the faces of the queen’s three sons who were in line for the throne appeared to him in a mirror. Each of the faces turned a number of times, indicating the number of years that they would reign. The oldest son, Francis II, only turned once and then disappeared, and indeed, he died a year later. Her second son, the future Charles IX, turned thirteen times, which corresponded to the thirteen years that he had left to live. Finally, the face of Henry III completed fifteen rotations, signifying the fifteen years of his reign before Henry of Bourbon took up the throne.
 
Myth or reality, we will never be sure, but the astrologist definitely stayed at Chaumont since one of the bedrooms is named after him and displays his presumed portrait dated from the 17th century.
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