Margaret of Valois

One likely prototype for the 16th Century French queen mentioned in Chapter 22 is Margaret of Valois.

Margaret of Valois, b. May 14, 1553, d. Mar. 27, 1615, was the youngest daughter of Henry II of France and Catherine de Medicis. In 1572 she was forced to marry the Protestant Henry of Navarre (later Henry IV) to seal a Catholic-Protestant reconciliation. Margaret was involved in a number of extramarital love affairs at the courts of both her brother Henry III at Paris and her husband at Nerac. Expelled from the royal court for her political intrigues, she returned to the unwilling Navarre in 1584. After taking up arms against her husband, Margaret was banished (1586) to the castle of Usson in Auvergne, where she soon took control. In 1599, ten years after Henry of Navarre's accession to the throne, she consented to the annulment of her marriage. Margaret's charm and literary talent were admired by the leading writers of the age. Her memoirs were translated in 1892. She was the subject of Patrice Chereau's 1994 film biography Queen Margot.

J. H. M. Salmon, from the Grolier Multimedia Encyclopedia, 1997

Bibliography: Haldane, Charlotte, Queen of Hearts (1968); Sealy, Robert, The Myth of Reine Margot (1994).

More on Queen Margot at the Academy of Bordeaux Page (in French)

There's another portrait of her at their "Henry and his Wives"