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Renata of Lorraine

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Title: Renata of Lorraine  
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Subject: Maria Anna of Bavaria (1574–1616), Christina of Denmark, Albert VI, Duke of Bavaria, Maximilian I, Elector of Bavaria, Archduchess Maria Magdalena of Austria (1689–1743)
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Renata of Lorraine

Renata of Lorraine
Duchess of Bavaria
Portrait by Johann Sadeler, ca. 1588-1595.
Born (1544-04-20)20 April 1544
Died 22 May 1602(1602-05-22) (aged 58)
Spouse William V, Duke of Bavaria
Father Francis I, Duke of Lorraine
Mother Christina of Denmark

Renata of Lorraine (20 April 1544 – 22 May 1602), was by birth a member of the House of Lorraine and by marriage Duchess of Bavaria.

Born in Nancy, France, she was the second child and eldest daughter of Francis I, Duke of Lorraine and Christina of Denmark. Her paternal grandparents were Antoine, Duke of Lorraine and Renée of Bourbon-Montpensier and her maternal grandparents were Christian II of Denmark and Isabella of Austria.


  • Life 1
  • Issue 2
  • References 3
  • Ancestry 4


Renata was described as a beauty and a desirable match. In 1558, Prince William of Orange expressed a desire to marry Renata. Her mother Christina liked the idea, and it was further cemented after the Treaty of Cateau-Cambresis. This match was however prevented by king Philip of Spain.[1] Christina herself declined the plan of Cardinal of Lorraine to arrange a marriage between Renata and the prince of Joinville, and she declined a proposed match from the Spanish king to marry Renata to Juan d'Austria.[2] In 1561, Christina planned to marry Renata to king Frederick III of Denmark.[3] However, on the outbreak of the Nordic Seven Years' War between Denmark and Sweden in 1563, she interrupted these plans. From 1565 to 1567, Christina negotiated with king Eric XIV of Sweden to create an alliance between Sweden and Denmark through a marriage between Renata and Eric XIV.[4] The plan was for Christina to conquer Denmark with the support of Sweden, a plan Eric supported.[5] However, Emperor Ferdinand was against the plan because the destructive effect it would have of the power balance in Germany, were Saxony, being strongly allied with Denmark, opposed Christina's claims, and neither did she manage to acquire the support of Philip of Spain.[6] The planned marriage alliance between Lorraine and Sweden was finally terminated when Eric XIV married his non-noble lover Karin Månsdotter in 1567.[7]

On 22 February 1568, Renata married with William, Hereditary Prince of Bavaria in a large ceremony in Munich, which was described in detail by Massimo Troiano in his Dialoghi (1569). The festival lasted 18 days, it took about 5,000 riders part in it, and the festival music was the occasion by Orlande de Lassus to compose.

Despite her status, Renata, along with her husband, had a life of charity and humility. They left the Munich Residenz and lived in the Jesuit Kollegienbau at the west of Munich. Renata took care of sick, poor and pilgrims. In this task, she was completely supported by her husband. After her William became reigning Duke in 1579, Renata spent much of her time in the Herzogspitalkirche, founded in 1555 by her father-in-law.

Renata died in Munich, aged 58. Her grave is located in the St. Michael's Church, whose consecration was the last high point in both her and her husband's lives. She was revered as a saint by the people, but never canonized. Her husband (who abdicated in 1597) survived her twenty-four years, dying in 1626.

Among her direct descendants was Josephine of Leuchtenberg, who married one of Eric XIV's successors, the future king Oscar I of Sweden and Norway in 1823. Renata's descendant ascended the Swedish and Norwegian thrones in 1859 in person of Charles XV of Sweden and Norway and the Danish throne in person of Christian X of Denmark in 1912. All current monarchs of the three Scandinavian countries are Renata's direct blood descendants. Among her other numerous notable descendants are Franz Josef of Austria and Maximilian I of Mexico.



  1. ^ Julia Cartwright: Christina of Denmark. Duchess of Milan and Lorraine. 1522-1590, New York, 1913
  2. ^ Julia Cartwright: Christina of Denmark. Duchess of Milan and Lorraine. 1522-1590, New York, 1913
  3. ^ Julia Cartwright: Christina of Denmark. Duchess of Milan and Lorraine. 1522-1590, New York, 1913
  4. ^ Julia Cartwright: Christina of Denmark. Duchess of Milan and Lorraine. 1522-1590, New York, 1913
  5. ^ Julia Cartwright: Christina of Denmark. Duchess of Milan and Lorraine. 1522-1590, New York, 1913
  6. ^ Julia Cartwright: Christina of Denmark. Duchess of Milan and Lorraine. 1522-1590, New York, 1913
  7. ^ Julia Cartwright: Christina of Denmark. Duchess of Milan and Lorraine. 1522-1590, New York, 1913
  • Anna de Crignis-Mentelberg: Herzogin Renata. Die Mutter Maximilians des Großen von Bayern. Freiburg im Breisgau 1912.
  • Helmut Dotterweich: Der junge Maximilian. Jugend und Erziehung des bayerischen Herzogs und späteren Kurfürsten Maximilian I. von 1573 bis 1593. München 1962.
  • Andrea Rueth: Renata von Lothringen, Herzogin von Bayern. In: Wurst, Jürgen und Langheiter, Alexander (Hrsg.): Monachia. München: Städtische Galerie im Lenbachhaus, 2005. p. 142.


Renata of Lorraine
Born: 20 April 1544 Died: 22 May 1602
Preceded by
Anna of Austria
Duchess of Bavaria
Succeeded by
Elisabeth of Lorraine
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