Margaret Paleologa

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Margaret Palaeologa (Italian: Margherita Paleologa; 11 August 1510 in Casale Monferrato – 28 December 1566 in Mantua), was an Italian ruler; ruling Marchioness of Montferrat in 1533 - 1536. She was also Duchess of Mantua by marriage to Federico II, Duke of Mantua. Margaret was the regent of Mantua as the guardian of her two sons from 1540 until 1556 in companionship with her brother-in-law.

Margaret Paleologa
Portrait believed to depict Margherita Paleologo by Giulio Romano.jpg
Portrait by Giulio Romano believed to depict Margaret Paleologa, c.1531. The Royal Collection.
Marquise of Montferrat
PredecessorJohn Georg Palaiologos
SuccessorFederico II Gonzaga
Born(1510-08-11)11 August 1510
Casale Monferrato
Died28 December 1566(1566-12-28) (aged 56)
Noble familyPalaeologus-Montferrat
Spouse(s)Federico II Gonzaga, Duke of Mantua
FatherWilliam IX of Montferrat
MotherAnne of Alençon


Margaret was born in Casale to William IX of Montferrat[1] and his wife Anne of Alençon.[2] Her mother was the third child of René, Duke of Alençon and his second wife Margaret of Lorraine, daughter of Frederick, Count of Vaudémont and Yolande of Valois-Anjou. Margaret's maternal grandfather died two days after the birth of Anne.

Margaret's paternal grandparents were Bonifacio III of Montferrat and Maria of Serbia.

Margaret was the second of three children. Her elder sister was Maria Paleologa, who died when she was 21 years of age and her younger brother was Boniface IV of Montferrat, who died when he was only 18 years of age.


In 1517, Margaret's elder sister, Maria, was betrothed to Federico II Gonzaga, son of Francesco II Gonzaga and Isabella d'Este, who later became Marquis and Duke of Mantua. The marriage contract was annulled. Federico's attentions turned to Margaret. Having weighed up the various proposals for Margaret's hand, her mother Anne d'Alençon opted for the link with the House of Gonzaga and the marriage was concluded in October 1531.[3] The marriage lasted for nine years until Federico's death, at the age of 40. The couple's last child was born the year of his death.

Margaret and Federico had:


On Federico's death, their eldest son, Francesco became Duke of Mantua. As Francesco was still only a minor aged eight, Margaret acted as his regent. Margaret had her son married to Catherine, daughter of Ferdinand I, Holy Roman Emperor and Anna of Bohemia and Hungary. Margaret had her second son, Guglielmo married to Catherine's younger sister, Eleanor.

Francesco died one year after his marriage to Catherine in 1550, no children were born to their union.

Guglielmo then became Duke of Mantua. Margaret acted as his regent, with the help of her brother-in-law Ercole Gonzaga.

Margaret lived to see three grandchildren, those of Guglielmo and Eleanor. After Margaret's death, five more grandchildren were born including Charles I, Duke of Mantua.

Margaret died in Mantua on 28 December 1566.

In 1574, Margaret's homeland of Montferrat became part of the Duchy of Mantua, after the death of Margaret's son. In Montferrat, Guglielmo was known as Guglielmo X.



  1. ^ Bertelli 2001, p. 146.
  2. ^ Hickson 2016, p. ix.
  3. ^ Hickson 2016, p. 101.
  4. ^ a b c Antenhofer 2011, p. 67.
  5. ^ Commire & Klezmer 1999, p. 365.


  • Antenhofer, Christina (2011). "From Local "Signori" to European High Nobility: The Gonzaga Family Networks in the Fifteenth Century". In Johnson, Christopher H.; Teuscher, Simon; Sabean, David Warren; Trivellato, Francesca (eds.). Transregional and Transnational Families in Europe and Beyond: Experiences. Berghahn Books.
  • Bertelli, Sergio (2001). The King's Body: Sacred Rituals of Power in Medieval and Early Modern Europe. Translated by Litchfield, R. Burr. Pennsylvania State University Press.
  • Commire, Anne; Klezmer, Deborah, eds. (1999). Women in World History. Gab–Harp. Yorkin Publications.
  • Hickson, Sally Anne (2016). Women, Art and Architectural Patronage in Renaissance Mantua: Matrons, Mystics, and Monasteries. Routledge.
Margaret Paleologa
Born: 11 August 1510 Died: 28 December 1566
Regnal titles
Preceded by
Spanish rule
Marchioness of Montferrat
Succeeded by
Francesco III Gonzaga