Marie of Cleves, Duchess of Orléans

Marie of Cleves (19 September 1426 23 August 1487) was the third wife of Charles, Duke of Orléans, and the mother of his only son, King Louis XII of France. She was born a German princess, the last child of Adolph I, Duke of Cleves and his second wife, Marie of Burgundy.

Marie of Cleves
Duchess of Orléans
Marie of Cleves (or Anne of Cyprus)
Born19 September 1426
Died23 August 1487(1487-08-23) (aged 60)
SpouseCharles, Duke of Orléans
IssueMarie, Countess of Étampes
Louis XII of France
Anne of Orléans, Abbess of Fontevraud
HouseLa Marck
FatherAdolph I, Duke of Cleves
MotherMarie of Burgundy

Marie was a patron of letters and commissioned many works; she was also an active poet herself, producing ballads and other verses.[1] After the Duke's death she was secretly remarried in 1480 to one of her gentlemen of the chamber, the Artesian "Sieur de Rabodanges", who was some years her junior.[1][2] She died in Chaunay.

Marriage and issue

At age fourteen, Marie married Charles of Valois, Duke of Orléans, a man 32 years her senior,[1] on 27 November 1440 in Saint-Omer.[3] They had three children:

In literature

Marie is a character in Hella Haasse's historical novel about Charles, Duke of Orléans In a Dark Wood Wandering (original Dutch title Het Woud der Verwachting).


  1. Wilson p. 258
  2. Holt, p. 231
  3. Arn p. 41


  • Arn, Mary-Jo. Charles d'Orléans in England, 1415-1440. Cambridge; Rochester, NY, USA : D.S. Brewer, 2000. googlebooks Retrieved August 17, 2009
  • Wilson, Katharina M. An Encyclopedia of Continental Women Writers. Vol. 2 New York: Garland Pub, 1991. googlebooks
  • Holt, Emily Sarah. Memoirs of Royal Ladies. London : Hurst and Blackett, 1861. googlebooks
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