Catherine de Medici Debate

Catherine's motives

Many historians like N.Sutherland and L.Freida believe that all Catherine’s actions were performed in order to try and preserve the Valois monarchy and to insure her sons stayed in power and did not loose their claim and right to the throne. This why she followed a line of toleration until the surprise de Meux when her son Charles was threatened personally by the Huguenots and only then did she step up against them. She was most against the Huguenots before and during the massacre because she worried about the influence Coligny was having over her son King Charles encouraging him to go to war with Spain in joining the Netherlands rebels. Coligny could not help the rebels without the monarch’s support and he seemed to be succeeding in this influence. Catherine knew war with Spain would be disastrous for the Kingdom; this is why she organised the assassination of Coligny. Her main concern was her son as well as the well being of the country as a whole. But later on she returned to trying to negotiate with the Huguenots, as that would be best for her sons – peace and no threat to the throne.


N. Sutherland is a feminist writer who wants to ignore solid evidence against Catherine, and pretend her whole reputation came from sexist men. At one point she claims hard line policy against the Huguenots was all down to The Cardinal Lorraine even though he was not even at court at the time having been dismissed - STUPID!

Ben - Wales

Yes some of her work is probably not accurate but the point here is that Catherine’s motives were most likely for the good of her sons – one she was a mother and cared and two she would have no power without them. Plus it seems very logical that she wanted to avoid war with Spain when France was already riddled with civil war and bankrupt.

Mary - Kent

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