Marie Louise Gonzaga

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Marie Louise Gonzaga
Marie Louise Gonzaga by Ferdinand Bol.PNG
Portrait by Ferdinand Bol
Queen of Poland
Tenure 5 November 1645 – 20 May 1648
30 May 1649 – 10 May 1667
Coronation 15 July 1646
Spouse Władysław IV Vasa
John II Casimir Vasa
Issue John Sigismund Vasa
Maria Anna Vasa
House House of Gonzaga
Father Charles I, Duke of Mantua
Mother Catherine of Guise
Born 18 August 1611
Nevers, France
Died 10 May 1667(1667-05-10) (aged 55)
Warsaw, Poland
Burial Wawel Cathedral, Kraków, Poland

Marie Louise Gonzaga (Polish: Ludwika Maria; 18 August 1611 – 10 May 1667) was wife of two Polish kings, Władysław IV Vasa and John II Casimir Vasa, and as such queen of Poland. She was born in Paris (or Nevers) to Charles I, Duke of Mantua, and Catherine of Guise.


After having spent her childhood with her mother, she was supposed to marry Gaston, Duke of Orléans in 1627, but King Louis XIII of France opposed the marriage and subsequently imprisoned her in the Vincennes fortress and later in a convent.

The first proposal that she marry the King of Poland, Władysław IV Vasa, was made in 1634, but Władysław eventually married Cecilia Renata of Austria.

Marie Louise Gonzaga as Queen of Poland

In 1640, Marie Louise met Władysław's brother, John Casimir, and started her literary salon in Paris.

Cecilia Renata died in 1644 and Marie Louise married Władysław by proxy on 5 November 1645. The proper wedding of Marie Louise and Władysław IV took place in Warsaw on 10 March 1646. She had to change her name from Marie Louise to Ludwika Maria in order for the marriage to take place, as in Poland the name Maria was at that time considered reserved only for Mary, mother of Jesus.

Two years later, on 20 May 1648, Marie Louise was widowed by the death of Władysław IV. John Casimir was eventually elected the next King of Poland, and married her on 30 May 1649.

Marie Louise was an active and energetic woman, with ambitious economic and political plans. The Polish nobility were scandalized at the Queen's meddling into politics, nevertheless she played an instrumental role leading the Polish troops in repulsing the Swedish forces during the Deluge. She wished to change the voting system of the Polish senate and grant the monarch more power.

She also founded the first Polish newspaper, Merkuriusz Polski (The Polish Mercury, 1652), and the first Polish convent of the Order of the Visitation of Holy Mary (1654). She supported Tito Livio Burattini, an Italian polymath (one of the first Egyptologists), who also designed "flying machines". He lived in Poland since the early 1650s.[1] As a former salonist in France, she opened a literary salon in Poland, the first in the country. Rumours pointed her out as the mother of her successor as queen, Marysienka, through adultery, but there are no confirmation to these rumours.

She died in Warsaw on 10 May 1667 and was buried in Kraków at Wawel Cathedral. John II Casimir, shocked by the sudden death of his wife and in deep grief, abdicated the Polish throne a year later.


See also[edit]


This article incorporates information from the revision as of 23 August 2006 of the equivalent article on the Polish Wikipedia.

Further reading[edit]

Marie Louise Gonzaga
Born: 18 August 1611 Died: 10 May 1667
Royal titles
Title last held by
Cecilia Renata of Austria
Queen consort of Poland
Grand Duchess consort of Lithuania

Title next held by
Eleonora Maria of Austria