The author of the bestselling Catherine de Medici turns to King Francis of France, Catherine's father-in-law, who turned France into a great nation. King Francis I was the perfect Renaissance knight, the movement's exemplar and its Gallic interpreter. An aesthete, diplomat par excellence and contemporary of Machiavelli, he was the founder of modern France, whose sheer force of will and personality moulded his kingdom into the first European superpower, and arguably the man who introduced the Renaissance to France. Francis was also the prototype Frenchman - a national identity was moulded on his character. So great was his stamp, that few countries even now are quite so robustly patriotic as is France. Yet he did not always live up to his ideal, and it is also the imperfect husband, father, lover and king who fascinate. With access to private archives that have never been used in a study of Francis I, Leonie Frieda explores the life of the man who was the most human of the monarchs of the period - and yet, remains the most elusive.
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Swedish by birth, but educated in Britain, Leonie Frieda speaks five languages and is a member of the Institute of Linguists. Her long interest in Catherine de Medici resulted in a biography that was a bestseller on both sides of the Atlantic and was translated into six languages. She lives in London with her daughter Elisabeth and son Jake. www.leoniefrieda.com
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