1566. 4 pages, folio, address panel on last page, docketing and seal remnants on the verso, countersigned by Catherine’s secretary of state, [Jacques] Bourdin, Saint-Maur-des-Fossés, 24 November 1566. Folded, small holes and light discoloration at the main folding. In fine condition.
Singed letter by Catherine de’ Medici, expressing her annoyance at Montluc’s invasion of Madeira to Seigneur de Fourquevaux, the French Ambassador to Spain. Catherine de’ Medici’s signed letter, as Queen Mother to Raimond de Beccarie de Pavie, baron (Seigneur) de Fourquevaux, her son's ambassador to Spain, referring to the raid of Pierre-Bertrand de Montluc on the Island of Madeira, its effect on the relations between the Kings of France and Spain, and other matters related her daughter Elisabeth of Valois, the Queen of Spain as the third spouse of Philip II of Spain, dated on 24 November 1566, at Saint-Maur-des-Fossés (in the current department of Val-de-Marne). Pierre-Bertrand de Montluc (“Capitaine Peyrot”; 1539–1566), as his father the later Marshal of France Blaise de Monluc, was a French military officer, notorious as the cruel commander of an early chapter of the French Wars of Religion, the massacre of the Huguenots in Terraube (September 1562). In September 1566, Montuc as a privateer with three galleons and a force of 1200 men arrived in Funchal the capital of Madeira, and plundered the city, holding it hostage for fifteen days, causing about 200 deaths and massive damage to the city, but during the siege of the castle, he was shot and died. Montuc’s motivation to attack Funchal remained unclear, it might have been an act of revenge on the Portuguese for their attempts to destruct the French colonies in South America, the France Antarctique in Rio de Janeiro, or another explanation, derives directly from Fourquevaux’s response letter to Catherine on November 29, it was an attempt to avenge the massacre of the French that took place in Florida at Fort Caroline and carried out by the Spaniard Pedro Menendez in October 1565. In any case, the Portuguese court would seek reparations from France without ever having been compensated, and Sebastian, King of Portugal unwilling to marry Catherine’s daughter Margaret of Valois would use the affair and the lack of reparations as an excuse to decline the matrimony. (Brehm-Trindade, 2020) Catherine de' Medici (1519–1589), was the most powerful woman in 16th-century Europe, born into the Florentine Medici family, by marriage to King Henry II she was Queen of France from 1547 to 1559, and mother of three French Kings Francis II, Charles IX, and Henry III. Catherine’s correspondent, the soldier and diplomat Raimond de Beccarie de Pavie, baron (Seigneur) de Fourquevaux (1508–1574) had been appointed as Spanish ambassador in 1563 and proved himself to be extraordinarily competent. Literature: Brehm, A; Trindade, C. “O Saque ao Funchal em 1566 e as suas Repercussões no Reinado de D. Sebastião.” Arquivo Histórico da Madeira, Nova Série, no. 2, 2020, pp. 15–79.