Royal Mistress. Duchess of Valentinois. Born the daughter of Jean de Poitiers and Jeanne de Batarnay in Saint-Vallier, Drôme, France. In 1515 she married Louis de Brézé, comte de Maulevrier, grand seneschal of Normandy. She then became lady-in-waiting to Claude de France, wife of Francis I. She was widowed in 1533 and within a few years became the mistress of Henri, the dauphin, who was almost twenty years her junior. Although Henri married Catherine de Medici, Diane eclipsed the queen with her presence and influence over the king. Henri gave her the Duchy of Valentinois, entrusted Diane with the Crown Jewels of France, had the Château d'Anet built for her, and gave her the Château de Chenonceau. She was placed in charge of the education of the royal children and her daughter, Françoise, managed the queen's household. She apparently did not participate in politics to a great degree, usually siding against the party with the most power. She was reputed to be quite intelligent and she was a patron of the arts, including the poet, Pierre de Ronsard. In 1559, Henri was mortally wounded in a joust and Queen Catherine took complete control of the king's person, denying Diane access to him. With the king's death, Catherine banished Diane to Château de Chaumont. She eventually retired to her Château d'Anet, living in obscurity until her death at age 67. The sculptor, Jean Goujon, executed his masterpiece, the statue of Diana, now in the Louvre, in her honor. The ‘Lettres inédites de Diane de Poitiers' were published by Georges Guiffrey in 1866.
Bio by: Iola