[MR] Wikipedia: Birth of Mary "The Rich"

Garth Groff and Sally Sanford mallardlodge1000 at gmail.com
Wed Feb 13 02:44:16 PST 2019

Noble Friends,

I can never resist commenting on the Duchy of Burgundy and its various
larger-than-life characters. During the 14th and 15th centuries they were
among the most influential families in Europe, and certainly had style that
left everybody else gawking. Today I am going to gush about Mary of
Burgundy, also called Mary The Rich.

On 13 February in 1457, Mary of Burgundy, House Valois-Burgundy, was born
to the future Duke of Burgundy Charles the Bold, and his consort Isabella
of Bourbon. Mary was the only legitimate child of Charles to survive, and
so became his heir.

Mary's grandfather was the then-ruling Duke of Burgundy, Philip the Good,
one of the richest men in Europe. His empire naturally included the Duchy
of Burgundy within France (as well as many other smaller French
territories), the adjacent County of Burgundy in the Holy Roman Empire, the
Duchy of Luxembourg (purchased for cash!), the County of Flanders, and most
of the other territories which today make up Belgium and the Netherlands.
Quite a portfolio. The peripatetic Burgundian court set the bar high on
taste and style, and was the place to see and be seen by all upper nobles
of Europe.

Mary's father, Charles the Bold, continued Burgundian expansion though with
a heavy hand. In his bid to conquer the Duchy of Lorraine and form a
contiguous Burgundian state, Charles stuck his neck out too far (a habit of
his; he was known as Charles The Rash by his detractors). Charles and his
army were massacred by Swiss mercenaries hired by Lorraine on 5 January
1477 at the Battle of Nancy. Charles' death cost Mary the Duchy of Burgundy
and all of her other French lands, which were quickly sucked up by the
French king Louis XI. Mary was left ruling the Low Countries and
Luxembourg, which still made her the most eligible woman in Europe, thus
earning her the epithet "the Rich".

Mary was highly sought after as a marriage partner for numerous princes
well before her father's death. As ruler, she had the freedom to choose her
own husband. Later in 1477 she wed Archduke Maximilian of Austria, House of
Habsburg, soon to be Holy Roman Emperor as Maximilian I. Thus all the Low
Countries passed into the Holy Roman Empire. This caused Louis XI great
irritation, as he had his own designs on the Low Countries.

Mary and Maximilian apparently had a very loving and happy marriage,
producing two children. She tragically died in a riding accident while
hunting in 1482.

More details about Mary The Rich are at
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mary_of_Burgundy . Don't miss Mary's haunting
post-mortem portrait by Michael Pacher. Even allowing for the tarting up of
rich clients by artists, Mary was a truly beautiful lady.

Yours Aye,

Mungo Napier, Laird of Mallard Lodge  🦆

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