Navigate the court of Renaissance France with the Duchess of Nevers, Queen Margot’s BFF.
Renaissance France is about to explode with civil war, placing Henriette and her family in danger. As one of the richest women in France, she should have it all. Yet her inability to conceive an heir and the unstable Valois monarchy, is putting the entire nation at risk.
Read an excerpt from Henriette’s story, Lady of the Court:
First thing the next morning, I marched into Margot’s audience chamber, a small space given to her as a ceremonial favor as Queen of Navarre. I had hoped to find her alone, but as I entered, I heard a deep male voice speaking. The man was insistent, his voice high and strained. I could not make out the words, so feigning ignorance, I continued to walk into the chamber.
Margot was deep in conversation with her husband’s own chancellor, Monsieur de Miossans.
The rest of her retinue were nowhere in sight and a lesser woman would have turned her heel and left her presence to give them privacy. I knew that no matter what the two were conversing about, Margot would prefer that I remain. Miossans and Margot shared a history as he was one of the Protestant men who staggered into Margot’s bedchamber and begged her for sanctuary during the bloodbath that occurred on St. Bartholomew’s Day. He knew Margot was made of steel and that he could trust her with his own life. We were likely the only two people in France who were assured of such special access to the Queen of Navarre.
“The forces are determined to regroup at Champagne.” I could only see the back of his head, but Margot’s face was grave. She gave him her full attention and simply nodded. He continued to give her the full story of the conspiracy, all of it the same as what Coconnas had told me the afternoon before.
“You’re sure that my brother is determined to go through with this?” Margot was no fool; she knew who to trust and who to dismiss with a wave of her white hands.
“I’ve heard the same thing, Margot. I came here to tell you the same thing, but I see that I’ve been superseded.” At the sound of my voice, Miossans turned and looked at me, his mouth agape.
“They’re been exceedingly careless in the plot and far too many people know about it already. It’s best that we do something to save them from themselves.”
Margot knew full well how I had heard of the plot, but she kept that detail to herself. Tapping her fingers on the arm of her chair, she began to weigh her options. “Even if they succeed, and it’s doubtful that they will, my brother and Navarre will be in open rebellion against the King and Anjou. I’ve sacrificed too much to allow them to do something so stupid. Keep your ears open and if you hear anything else, let me know. I’ll figure out what needs to be done.”
He bowed to her, grateful that once again she did not violate his trust in her. Like me, he knew that Margot was a valuable ally. Once he was gone, she turned to me.
“I’ll have to prostrate myself in order to get them both out of trouble. I suppose now my husband will expect me to save him from the hangman’s noose every time he makes a stupid decision.” She rolled her eyes in disgust and rising, began to pace the room. I knew from her actions that she was formulating a plan.
“I have little to bargain with, but can offer the King this promise: if he will promise to spare Navarre and our brother, I will tell him of the plot. It may be the only way that I can save both of them from death.”
“What do you need me to do?”
“I need you to go with me to my mother’s audience chamber.” She signaled for a page, “Send word to the Queen Mother that I must speak to her immediately. It is a matter of life and death.”
I stood outside Catherine de Medici’s presence chamber as Margot detailed the plot to her brother and her mother. In the end, her plan worked, Navarre and Alceon escaped death by Margot’s persuasion. Get it here.