Henry VIII,the Reign
Renée of France
25 October 1510 - 12 June 1574
Duchess of Ferrara
Profile Renée of France Duchess of Ferrara
Renée of France, Duchess of Ferrara ,from 1534, an important figure in the history of the Protestant Reformation both in Italy and in France.
The second daughter of Louis XII of France and Anne of Brittany, Renée was married in 1528 to Ercole d’Este, who became duke of Ferrara in 1534. In return for renouncing her claims on Brittany, she was granted the duchy of Chartres by Francis I of France.
Renée’s court at Ferrara became a meeting place for liberal thinkers and a refuge for French Protestants. The humanist Olympia Morata was brought up there; the French poet Clément Marot found shelter there in 1535; and John Calvin himself visited Renée in 1536.
Under his influence she ceased practicing Roman Catholicism in 1540. Although she received certain exemptions from Pope Paul III in 1543, her husband took her children away from her and allowed her to be sentenced to imprisonment for heresy in 1554 Within a few days, however, she was released after signing a pledge of recantation.