Ferrara (Renata), Duchesse De

Ferrara (Renata), Duchesse De celebrated for her virtues and for her attachment to the Reformation, the daughter of Louis XII and Anne of Bretagne, was born at Blois Oct. 25, 1510. In 1527 she was married to Hercule d'Este, duke of Ferrara and Modena. She is said to have been very learned, excelling in mathematics, especially in astronomy. Her husband died in 1559, and the next year she left Italy on account of her religion, and returned to France, where she was permitted to profess the Protestant faith. She resided at Montargis, and there gave protection to as many as were persecuted till she was forced to desist. During the civil war in France she fed and maintained in her castle a great number of Protestants who had fled to her for refuge. She interceded strongly for the prince of Conde when he was imprisoned at Orleans in the time of the young king Francis, but was afterwards displeased with him, because neither she nor her ministers approved of the Protestants taking up arms. She died at Montargis- June 12, 1575, in full profession of the Reformed faith, though the Jesuit Le Laboureux seeks to show that she abjured her religion.--Bayle, Dictionary, ed. Des Maizeaux (Lond. 1736), iii, 30.

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